Calls for papers for conferences taking place in February 2025

Historical Fictions Research Conference.
Location and dates: Manchester. 13-14 February 2025.
Deadline for submissions: 28 June 2024.

The Historical Fictions Research Network (see aims to create a place for the discussion of all aspects of the construction of the historical narrative. The focus of the conference is the way we construct history, the narratives and fictions people assemble and how. We welcome both academic and practitioner presentations. The Network addresses a wide variety of disciplines, including Archaeology, Architecture, Art History, Cartography, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Gaming, Gender, Geography, History, Larping, Linguistics, Literature, Media Studies, Memory Studies, Museum Studies, Musicology, Politics, Queer Studies, Race, Reception Studies, Re-enactment, Transformative Works.

For the 2025 conference, the HFRN seeks to engage in scholarly discussions on the topic of place in historical fictions.

As the geographer David Harvey points out, the construction of identities together with notions of belonging, power and freedom rest upon understandings of place. Perceived differences and affinities across and between populations, as well as over time, are often spatially determined, and because dreams of the future and imaginaries of the past are inevitably linked to space and territory, the historical imagination cannot be separated from the geographical. A sense of place underpins cultural memory and the imagined community of the nation through time. Conversely, as Paul Gilroy has shown, place is also crucial to the diasporic imagination, and it is moreover through re-visiting the relationship between place and time that alternative pasts can be imagined. Place is central to discourses around nostalgia, notions of golden ages, and the politics of home and belonging. 

Place is integral to historical fictions as they attempt to reconstruct and re-present the ways and worlds of the past, helping to locate stories and characters in time and often conferring a sense of authenticity. Narratives of both progress and decline are usually anchored by location, and processes of change are often codified through the relationship between people and space. Place can be a device for exploring the otherness, the ‘horrors’ of the past. Alternatively, it can instil a sense of continuity and commonality between ages.  Landscapes, including urban spaces are ‘storied’ and are, in the words of Paul Readman “‘sites of memory’ – focal points for mobilising a collective consciousness of the past”. As Readman goes on to point out, the association between place and human pasts transforms the former into heritage which in turn is bound up with constructions of collective identities. As Raymond Williams notes, different rural and urban environments, including that of the house, express social and moral values. 

Places are thus political. They are often associated with conservative histories: with instincts of preservation, of stasis, and with property rights, inheritance, and the upholding of unequal social orders – ideas which, for instance, often under-pin the country-house narrative. At the same time, place can be used to posit new ways of looking at the past, to assert alternative geographical identities to that of the national and to awaken suppressed histories. As is shown by right-wing reactions to the British National Trust’s policy of revealing its properties’ economic roots, such perspectives offer radical possibilities, helping to re-centre the stories of marginalised communities and destabilise accepted norms and beliefs.

Papers are invited on topics related but not limited to:

  • The meaning of landscapes and/or urban settings in historical fictions
  • The use of mise-en-scène in historical film, TV or games
  • Country-house historical fictions
  • Nostalgia in historical fictions
  • Diasporic historical fictions
  • The use of settings in historical fictions
  • The portrayal of travel in historical fictions
  • The construction (or deconstruction) of place-based identities in historical fictions
  • The reparative potential of place in historical fictions
  • Post-national or transnational historical fictions
  • Maps or other spatial paratexts in historical fictions

Keynote Speakers:

Further Details

HFRC 2025 will be an in-person event taking place at Manchester Central Library, The Friends’ Meeting House, Manchester and The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester. All these venues are situated in the city centre. Piccadilly and Victoria Railway Stations are in the vicinity, and Manchester Airport is approximately 20 minutes away by train.

The organisers are Professor Jerome de Groot, University of Manchester, Dr Dorothea Flothow, University of Salzburg (Conference Manager), Dr Christine Lehnen, University of Exeter, Dr Siobhan O’Connor and Dr Paul Wake, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Proposals for 20-minute papers are due 28th June 2024. They should consist of a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words. Panel proposals are also welcome. If you are proposing a panel, please provide a 700-word (maximum) description of the topic of the panel and the titles of individual papers; and for each participant the name, email address and brief statement (no more than 100 words) about the person’s work including relevant publications, presentations, or projects-in-progress. Panel proposals should be submitted by the organizer. Papers must be presented in English. Decisions on acceptance will be communicated by 31st July 2024. Please use the form on our website to register your proposal: 

Please note that a membership levy will be introduced alongside the conference fee this year. Further details about HFRN membership and its benefits will be shared at the conference.


  • Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London: Verso, 1993)
  • Harvey, David, Cosmopolitanism and The Geographies of Freedom (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009)
  • Readman, Paul, Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • Williams, Raymond, The Country and The City (London: The Hogarth Press, 1993)


Visit our website ( for more details and regular updates. You can also write to HFRN conference manager, Dorothea Flothow at

(Posted 10 May 2024)

Women Travel Writers in Northern Europe during the Long‍ Nineteenth Century.
Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse, France. 27-28 February 2025.
Deadline for proposal submissions: 10 September 2024.


  • Maxime Leroy, Université de Haute-Alsace; 
  • Corinne François-Denève, Université de Haute-Alsace; 
  • Véronique Léonard-Roques, Université de Bretagne Occidentale; 
  • Kerstin Wiedemann, Université de Lorraine; 
  • Nicolas Bourguinat, Université de Strasbourg


By “Northern Europe” we mean all the regions bordering the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, from the United Kingdom to northwest Russia, plus Iceland. The aim of the conference will be to study texts by women writers (in the broad sense of people who have produced written works) travelling in this part of the world during the “long nineteenth century”, to use Eric Hobsbawm’s expression. We have defined this period as beginning with Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796) and ending with Mme Deblangy’s Croisière au cap Nord, voyage en Suède, Norvège, Danemark, à travers le centre de l’Europe (1911).

We are aiming for a cross-disciplinary conference. Specialists in comparative literature, European national literatures, economic and cultural history, travel literature, gender studies, art history, the relationship between text and image, and sociology are all invited to submit papers.

Possible avenues to explore include:

Travel realities. We will consider the practical and logistical aspects of mobility. Who are these women travellers, why and how did they travel, and by what means of locomotion? Are they alone or accompanied? Are they on a “grand tour” for women? Is their mobility voluntary or forced? We’ll be asking what impact these practical aspects might have had on their travel experience.

We may also look at the relationship between women travellers and climatic conditions and landscapes as objects of real or imagined experience. An ecological perspective, in the broadest sense, will show the relationship between natural spaces and social experience.

Papers can focus on the political context, in an area that saw major events over the course of the century (multiple reconfigurations of Scandinavia, Russian domination of the Baltic provinces, division of Poland between imperial powers, Prussian-Danish wars, etc.).

The importance of the religious context is also a topic for investigation, in regions that are predominantly Protestant (Iceland, the UK, northern Germany, Scandinavia, Finland, Latvia, Estonia), but also Catholic (Lithuania, Poland, Belgium and northern France), or even Orthodox (St. Petersburg and the part of Russia bordering the Gulf of Finland), with areas of friction such as the Netherlands.

Cultural approaches. Papers might explore the specificities of these journeys compared to those of travellers in other parts of the world. What vision of the North is conveyed by women travellers? Does it vary according to whether they themselves come from Northern Europe, or from other parts of Europe and the world?

Can we identify clichés or stereotypes of boreal exoticism? The texts may reveal patterns of influence between the different countries or regions being considered, such as the particular interest of the British in Scandinavia throughout the century, or the relations established between Denmark and Russia on the marriage of Princess Dagmar and the future Alexander III in 1866.

Poetics of travel. We will be analysing the interests of women travellers (geography, politics, society, arts and literature, etc.), as well as their ideological or aesthetic points of view, taking into account the form of their writings: narratives, travel diaries, accounts, diaries, fiction inspired by real journeys, articles or press reports. Particular attention will be paid to the novel, through examples like Fernande de Lysle. We will also consider imaginary travel, as in Renée Vivien’s poems translated from Norwegian.

Papers might also look at whether these journeys, and the accounts of them, are any different from those of men.

Finally, the study of the pictures that sometimes accompany these accounts will be welcome.

Proposals that, at least tangentially, address the following questions will be particularly welcome: does the idea of a common world identified as “Northern Europe” emerge, either from a sense of belonging or from a sense of exteriority? If so, what are its foundations (geographical, cultural, religious, etc.)? Is the natural environment linked to society, morality or culture? Do these ideas take on particular forms because they are written by women?

Papers (in French or English) may focus on writings produced in any language during the long nineteenth century, from a perspective that may be comparative. All critical approaches are welcome.

Submission process

Paper proposals (in English or French, 300 words maximum + brief bio-bibliography) should be sent by September 10, 2024 to

Website address:

Contact details:

For further details, see the original CFP below.

(Posted 18 May 2024)