CFP: Transnational Circulations in Global Perspective, 1415-1960

The Carceral Archipelago: Transnational Circulations in Global Perspective, 1415-1960


13-15 September 2015, University of Leicester, UK

A conference hosted by the School of History, University of Leicester, and supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme.

This conference will bring together historians and associated researchers of penal settlements and colonies from all over the world, during the period from Portugal’s first use of convicts in North Africa to the closure of Stalin’s gulags. It seeks to map and to analyse the transnational or global study of penal transportation and its legacies, and its relationship to the history of labour, migration and other modes of carceral confinement. The geographical scope of the conference is wide, spanning all empires and polities that used convict transportation, from and in regions stretching from the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Asia and the Pacific.

We are interested in exploring issues including: the process of conviction, convict voyaging, the nature of convict work, convict relationships with neighbouring communities, and the gendered/ raced dimensions of convict experience. We are also concerned to trace the circulation of ideas and information between penal colonies and other sites of unfree labour management and confinement. Finally, we are interested in the demographic and other impacts of convict transportation, as well as in the representation of its history in museums and heritage sites.

We invite proposals that address the full chronological scope, geographical reach and thematic concerns of the conference. We especially invite submissions that speak to histories of connection and circulation, and to literatures currently under-represented in the historiography, with respect to time and/ or place. We welcome proposals for papers, panels and roundtable discussions (please provide rationales for panels and roundtables). Postgraduates and early career researchers are of course welcome.

Proposals of 300 words and a brief bio should be sent as a Word document (saved as: SurnameTitle), with the subject line “CArchipelago Conference,” to

Travel, accommodation and conference fees may be covered for those participants without access to research funding. Please indicate clearly whether you wish to be considered for this financial assistance in your submission.

The conference will be held at the University’s dedicated residential conference facility College Court.

Closing date for proposals: 1 October 2014.

Draft programme published: 3 November 2014.

This conference is part of a 5-year project funded by the European Research Council, and based in the School of History, University of Leicester. Led by Professor Clare Anderson, the project seeks to produce a global history of penal transportation and its intersections with other forms of forced labour, migration, and confinement. For further information about the project, please consult our website.



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