Masterclass with 2013 Allan Martin Lecturer, Prof Carolyn Steedman

Carolyn Steedman, Professor of History at the University of Warwick and 2013 Allan Martin Lecturer will hold a masterclass for School of History HDR students on Thursday 9 May at 2pm.

Are you after the everyday in your research? Searching for the routines and habits of the past that lie beneath the written word? Are you searching for the experience of living a life in the past? Why is it important – to you– to do that? What are the theoretical and methodological implications of our search for past `experience’?

And is `experience’ to be found, in any kind of archive? To answer that question we can extend our definition of `archive’. We’ve got used to the idea of maps, and novels, and tea-cups and clothes as archives of everyday life, and sometimes feel confident in `reading’ them. Perhaps `reading’ in traditional archives (record offices and the like) is more of a problem. Everything we find in a national or state or regional archive is mediated by the written word.

Someone, somewhere, once upon a time, extracted that list, this inventory, some note of a name in the margin of an account book, out of the great grey stream of the quotidian. Perhaps we need to make the theoretical move of thinking about writing (and print) as a thing in itself, and learn how to read it in the way we read material artefacts.

This Masterclass will challenge all of us to interrogate our search for everyday experience in the archives of the past.

Participants will read a sample of Professor Carolyn Steedman’s work to familiarize themselves with the conceptual and theoretical issues involved in `the everyday’, `searching for experience’ and writing about both, and to speculate about how a range of methodological approaches might be applied in their own research.

Masterclass participants will read the Prologue and Introduction to Carolyn’s new book An Everyday Life of the English Working Class. Please note: the book is in press and may not be quoted without her permission.

Participants must also submit a 200-word abstract (to in order to participate. The abstract should explain how you employ the ideas of the everyday and experience in your thesis. ABSTRACT DEADLINE: 1 May 2013.



Date & time

Thu 09 May 2013, 2–5pm


Seminar Room C, Coombs Building


School of History


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