CFP: Strata: 1845-1945

The organisers invite proposals for papers and presentations on the theme of ‘strata’ in the period 1845-1945 across the arts, humanities and social sciences, for a one-day interdisciplinary conference specifically aimed at postgraduate students.  In association with the University of Birmingham’s Centre for the Study of Cultural Modernity and hosted by the College of Arts and Law, the conference will showcase current research from a variety of critical perspectives and use this to springboard dialogue across disciplines and institutions.

The period 1845-1945 saw the rise of the skyscraper, the development of underground railways in metropolitan centres, landmarks in archaeological discovery including the ancient city of Troy in 1868, the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 and the Sutton Hoo ship-burial in 1939. In the early twentieth century, the radiometric dating of strata revolutionised geology, while psychology moved into a laboratory setting, and pioneers such as Sigmund Freud developed ground-breaking analytical techniques to penetrate the unconscious. Thus, the era was one in which countless varieties of heights and depths were explored, their treasures exposed and their findings made to impact upon the ways in which both the external world and the internal self were perceived.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Psychic strata, consciousness, identity, dreams, multiple personalities

Geology, archaeological finds, fossils, artefacts, burial and tombs

Social and economic hierarchies, class boundaries

Artistic layering – collage, fashion, prosody, layers of narrative

Temporal strata, antiquity and modernity, time travel

The internal / external – anatomy, the body, skin; physical, mental, emotional

Layers of meaning – approaches to interpretation and criticism

Coatings and veneers – make-up, masks and disguises, truth and reality

Weather – layers of snow, ice and clouds

Architecture – buildings, structures extending up or down, the multi-storey

The symposium will be held at the University of Birmingham on Friday 8 May 2015. Please submit 200 word abstracts for 20 minute presentations, along with a 50 word biography, tostrataconference@gmail.com<mailto:strataconference@gmail.com> by Monday 9 March 2015.