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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

The Body & the Built Environment in the Long Nineteenth Century

25th June 2019, 12:00 to 17:00, Joachim Room, College of St Hild and St Bede

This one-day interdisciplinary symposium aims to stimulate academic discussion on a range of topics relating to embodiment and architectural space in the period ranging from 1750-1920.

The period between 1750 and 1918 is widely acknowledged to have been one of dramatic societal and cultural change, not least in terms of people’s experience of the spaces in which they lived. The unparalleled urbanisation that took place over the course of the long nineteenth century necessitated new ways of existing in increasingly built up environments. The move to such locations demanded new habits, routines, and modes of movement, all of which had a discernible impact on the body. As Elizabeth Grosz points out, ‘through exercise and habitual patterns of movement, through negotiating its environment whether this be rural or urban […] [that] the body is more or less marked, constituted as appropriate, or, as the case may be, an inappropriate body for its cultural requirements’ (1994). Where, for example, the navigation of uneven rural terrain would have strengthened certain muscles, the negotiation of flat, urban streets produced a markedly different body. Beyond the purely muscular level, the countless cultural elements of the nineteenth century city also impacted in numerous ways upon the embodied subject.

This one-day interdisciplinary symposium will explore how the shifting relationship between the body and the built environment was interrogated in literature and culture of the long nineteenth century. The symposium aims to stimulate academic discussion on a range of topics relating to embodiment and architectural space in the period ranging from 1750-1920.

A full programme and further details can be found on the conference website.

This event is supported by the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, and is presented in association with the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University.

Contact bodybuiltenvironment@gmail.com for more information about this event.

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