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The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) was set up in 1989 by academics to promote the study of the cultural history of the Romantic period. Since then, BARS has organised eight International conferences at various locations in the UK, has published the BARS Bulletin and Review twice-yearly, and currently has more than 350 members.

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Call for Papers: Landscape, enclosure and rural society in post-medieval Britain and Europe.

De Havilland campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
25th-26th June 2009

Sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council
and the Historical Geography Research Group.

The enclosure landscapes of Britain have been key sites of academic and popular historical interest over the past 50 years. Enclosure – in both its parliamentary and earlier forms – is widely recognised to have transformed the agricultural landscape and reorganised rural society. Its impact on agricultural productivity, land-holding structures and the economic well-being of the poor have each attracted a large literature. Yet relatively little consideration has been given to the enduring histories that surround enclosure episodes – and still less to the question of how individuals and communities understood and experienced the (changing) landscape around them.

This two-day interdisciplinary conference draws attention to this under-researched aspect of enclosure studies, asking a series of questions about the relationship between landscape and enclosure in Britain and Europe over the longue durée. For example, how did the fact that open fields, commons and wastes were being transferred into private hands impact upon ordinary people’s perceptions of the world around them and their place within it? What do cartographic, artistic and literary representations of the enclosed fields reveal about (new) ways of seeing and experiencing the landscape? How was the newly enclosed and rationalised landscape caught up in attempts to define aristocratic and other identities, and when and where did communal attachment to the old landscape articulate itself?

Papers are invited on these and related themes. Proposals (max. 250 words) for 20 minute papers, together with a brief CV, should be sent to Dr. Briony McDonagh (on b.a.k.mcdonagh@herts.ac.uk) by 20th February 2009. For more information about the conference and the related AHRC-sponsored 'Changing Landscapes, Changing Environments' project, please see www.landscapeandenclosure.com.