Monday, 24 June 2019

Towards New Histories of Imprisonment in England, 1500-1850

Two-day conference

A two-day conference on prisons and incarceration in England is taking place at Keble College, Oxford, on 15 and 16 July 2019, funded by the college and the Past and Present Society. 

The conference will bring together senior academics and early career researchers to share their ongoing research into English imprisonment, discuss recent developments in the field, and set out new agendas for the history of prisons and imprisonment. 

Speakers include Richard Bell, Joanna Innes, Helen Johnston, Kiran Mehta, Helen Rogers and Rachel Weil. 

There are no attendance fees but please RSVP via the conference website.

An architectural drawing of the front elevation of a long brick building with scale floor plan beneath, showing thick lines for walls and annotations in cursive script.
Elevation and Plan of Newgate Prison (1800), Public Domain according to Wikimedia Commons. Original in the Crace Collection at the at the British Library. []


Wednesday, 17 April 2019

CFP: Framing the Penal Colony

Event at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham, 22-23 November 2019

An AHRC-funded conference has been announced as part of the ‘Postcards from the bagne’ project which will be held at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham, UK. The project website can be found here.

The CFP says:
‘Whether presented as a tabula rasa onto which all the hopes, desires, pathologies and detritus of Empire might be projected, as a brilliant story of nation-state building via a hearty mix of backbreaking labour and genocide, or as an abandoned scarred landscape of failed utopian dreams, the penal colony is a space as much imagined as real. This conference will explore historical and contemporary representations of the penal colony as philosophical concept, political project and geographical imaginary. While direct challenges to existing historiographies are anticipated, the intention is to consider the role of visual culture, maps, photography, cinema, graphic novels/comics, museums in 'framing' the penal colony alongside literature, philosophy, politics. If the penal colony is generally considered to belong to the past, its legacy remains in the form of the prison islands and convict labour camps still operative across the globe. What can historical and contemporary representations of the penal colony tell us about its continuing legacy and what opportunities do such representations offer for thinking critically and creatively about our own ‘carceral’ present?’

Proposals for panels or papers are welcome. Please send 250-word abstracts and a short bio to by 30 June 2019.

A painting of a dozen men in uniform pulling a plough, supervised by another man with some kind of stick or weapon
Painter's impression of a convict ploughing team breaking up new ground at Port Arthur, 1926. Via WikimediaCommons attributed to State Library of Victoria, image no. a11602.


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

One Day Conference at the Open University

Prisons, Courts and Police Stations: The Architecture of the State in Historical Perspective

On Friday 17 May 2019, the Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice at the Open University will be hosting a one day conference featuring eight papers. A copy of the programme, paper abstracts, travel and registration information can be found on Eventbrite here.

The event will be held in The Library (Seminar Rooms 1 & 2) at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, and the first paper will begin at 11:00.  Tea and coffee will be served on arrival from 10:30 and lunch will be provided. It is expected that the event will finish by 16:30.

There is no charge for the event or for the lunch (which will be provided) but booking is required to facilitate the catering order. To reserve a place, visit the Eventbrite page by 10 May 2019.

Line drawing of a semi-aerial view of a prison with four branches extending from a central section, plus gatehouse and perimeter wall, gardens etc.
Wandsworth Prison image via event website


Thursday, 4 April 2019

New Research Network for ECRs Calls for Abstracts

Perspectives from the Edges of Exclusion and Punishment

Details are circulating of an exciting new research network for ECRs (Early Career Researchers) with an interest in punishment, funded by the SCCJR (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research).

PEEP: Perspectives from the Edges of Exclusion and Punishment, define punishment broadly, and are "interested in creating a forum for inter-disciplinary perspectives on how government policy punishes people, causes social suffering, excludes people from society and entrenches inequality..." including "through the criminal justice system... housing policy, social welfare, immigration detention, benefit sanctions, health inequalities, as well as historical forms of confinement and punishment, such as mother and baby homes, the death penalty and transportation."

Offering a supportive space for the scholarship of ECRs, which they say is urgently required, PEEP seeks to "forge solidarity between ECRs from across disciplines" and "generate the creative energy needed to conduct individual and collaborative academic work."

Workshops: Call for Abstracts

PEEP also announces an open call for abstracts for three half-day workshops where ECRs can refine and advance work-in-progress, such as articles, book chapters, book proposals etc. Participants are expected to attend each workshop and will be asked to present a 20 minute paper on one of the following three days:

  • 23 May at the University of Edinburgh
  • 24 June at the University of Strathclyde
  • 26 July University of Stirling

Some financial support is available for travel, childcare or other expenses. For details on how to join PEEP and submit an abstract, click here. The deadline is Friday 19 April. 

A grey and black on white floor plan of an extensive and complex building including Library, Grave Yard, Court Room, Prison, Court of Session, High Court and Judges' Rooms
Plan of Parliament House, Edinburgh, 1877 via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar #4

Rethinking the Death Penalty: Mitigation, Abolition and After

2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the permanent abolition of the death penalty for murder in Great Britain. To mark the occasion, the fourth event in the Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar Series will provide an opportunity to examine the past, present and future of the death penalty.

The event will bring together academics, activists, students and others to discuss inter-related issues, including the historical realities of the death penalty in mid-twentieth century Britain, the rise of abolition in the USA, as well as the policy of the current UK government towards the use of the death penalty overseas.

It will feature presentations from Dr Lizzie Seal (University of Sussex), Dr Vivien Miller (University of Nottingham) and Frances Crook OBE (Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform).

The event will conclude with a roundtable that enables participants to discuss the past and present of capital punishment worldwide, as well as its future. This is a free event and it is open to the public.

The event takes place at Leeds Beckett University on the 19th June. Please register via Eventbrite here.

An etching or illustration for publication in black and white of a man seated in a chair with his head restrained, wires are coming from the chair and there are three men looking on, one of whom is holding a book and wearing a cross, another is seated and holding a switch.
Scientific American, 1888 via WikimediaCommons


Saturday, 2 March 2019

The ESRC and the Futures of Criminological Research: A BSC/CCJ Symposium

Save the Date - from the BSC Bulletin

The BSC, in conjunction with its journal Criminology & Criminal Justice is holding an afternoon symposium in Edinburgh on the 5th of April about what the future holds for criminological research.

Speakers will include Richard Sparks, who was last year commissioned by the ESRC to write a  think-piece on the future directions and possibilities in research on crime and justice which is due to be published shortly; the President Elect of the BSC Sandra Walklate; BSC Vice President Pam Davies; and the CCJ editors in chief. 

The programme will include plenty of time for discussion and debate.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

A black and white photograph of a procession of people carrying banners saying, for example, Votes for Women, they are marching diagonally from the top right of the frame to the bottom left and the Edinburgh skyline is visible in the background.
"The Great Procession and Women's Demonstration" Princes Street, Edinburgh, 9th October, 1909. Photograph by James Patrick, 1863 - 1933 via WikiCommons. 


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Registration Open for #HCNet Conference

Provisional programme announced

#HCNet are pleased to announce the provisional programme and registration details for the first Historical Criminology Network conference, to be held 9-10 April 2019 at the University of Plymouth.

We originally posted about the conference here.

Click here to register, registration is free. The link also includes information on travel, hotel booking and an optional evening meal. Please ensure that you register for the conference by Friday 22 March.

If you have any queries, or require any further information about the conference, please don’t hesitate to contact organisers David Churchill or Iain Channing. Their info is available on our Members page.

The programme may be subject to minor revisions ahead of the conference. Click below to download the most up-to-date version (21 March 2019) via GoogleDrive (sign-in not required). 


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

SSHA CFP Deadline Update

Social Science History Association Conference, Chicago 2019

Glenn Svedin of the SSHA Crime, Justice and the Law Network informs us that the submission deadline in response to the Call for Papers has been moved from 16 February to 1 March. A new submission system has been introduced. More information can be found here.

We previously posted about this conference here. It will be held in Chicago, Illinois, USA on 21-24 November. The overall conference theme is 'Data and its Discontents,' the full Call for Papers is here (PDF link) - Graduate Travel Grants are available. The Network Call for Papers can be found below as an image, alternatively a copy is available here via Google Drive (no sign-in required).

If you're planning a session and seeking participants, why not use the comments on this page? They are moderated to prevent spam but the mailbox is regularly attended.

Please use the following link for a text-version of this document more accessible to those with visual impairments:

Monday, 28 January 2019

#HCNet Chair wins book prize

Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Theory and History Prize

Updated 17/04/19.
Historical Criminology Network Chair David Churchill has been awarded the 2019 Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Theory and History Prize. The Prize is awarded annually ‘for a book that makes a contribution to socio-legal theory or socio-legal history’. This post previously announced David's nomination. 

David’s book – Crime Control and Everyday Life in the Victorian City: The Police and the Public – was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. It advances a new interpretation of urban policing and crime control in the era of the new police, stressing the role of the civilian public in dealing with crime on their own terms. Further information about the book is available here

The award was announced at the SLSA annual conference, University of Leeds, on 4 April 2019. The list of previous winners of the Prize is available here

A pile of library books in black and white, including Durkheim, Giddens and Bourdieu.
Sociology books by @Cameraman_Phil via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Confronting the ‘violence of the archive’: crime, punishment and the modern state

Workshop and Call for Papers

Historical Criminology Network members Dr Kate West and Dr Thomas Guiney have announced an event they are organising which will be held at Oxford Brookes University on 22 May 2019. They say

"This 1-day workshop will confront the inherent ‘violence of the archive’ as a key site of collective ‘remembering’ and ‘forgetting’. It will consider the various ways in which the modern state has produced, and subsequently projected knowledge with regards to crime and punishment.

Drawing upon insights from the growing field of historical criminology this workshop will explore this dynamic to encourage new perspectives on the relationship between state and (non-)citizen within criminal justice settings; the lived experiences of individuals subject to state authority; the inner workings of closed penal institutions; and aspects of the penal policy-making cycle which remain hidden from public view. 

Participants will consider the inherent challenges of using state-sanctioned primary sources that risk obscuring, silencing and reconfiguring lived experience and counter-memories. Accordingly, the temporal scope of this workshop is book-ended by the ‘birth’ of the modern state and the ambiguities of contemporary statehood."

More information and the full call for papers can be found here. The deadline for submissions is 29 March. Both event and CFP deadline can be found in our new calendar, by clicking on the 'Events' tab above. 

An historical etching of Oxford High Street with a church spire in the distance at the centre and fine classical architecture on both sides of the wide street. The figures of people and a horse-drawn vehicle can be made out.
City of Oxford: panoramic view of the High Street with views of the colleges and churches. Etching by H. Toussaint. Via Wellcome Images CC-BY-4.0


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Social Science History Association Conference 2019

Call for Papers

The Crime, Justice and the Law Network of the Social Science History Association (SSHA) invites proposals for the network's sessions at the 44th annual meeting of the SSHA, November 21-24, 2019, at Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. They say:

"The network includes historians, sociologists, economists, criminologists, geographers, legal scholars, and others who are interested in the history of crime, policing and the law. The network’s purpose is to provide an international forum for the exchange of ideas and research across disciplines and methodologies. The network prides itself in having a global approach to research on criminality and/or judicial and legal systems and encourages comparative perspectives on these subjects. It welcomes critical work on the processes through which the state, through various social control institutions and frontline agencies, evaluates, categorizes and regulates its subjects. Themes involving, for instance, police, violence, asylum, victimization, state power and regulation, crime and societal changes, gender, race, and processes of evaluation and categorization, are welcome."

To submit a proposal, and for more information on the meeting, visit the SSHA website. The deadline for submissions is February 16, 2019.

UPDATE: On 5 February 2019 the CFP Deadline was changed, click here for more information.

Chicago Fog Down by the Water, 1969 by David Sk via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Friday, 11 January 2019

Prison Abolition in the UK

CCJS Conference

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has announced a conference on Prison Abolition in the UK hosted by the Harm & Evidence Research Collaborative at The Open University and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, in partnership with Professor Joe Sim of Liverpool John Moores University.

The major two day conference plans to discuss the past, present and future of prison abolition across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will be held on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th May, at The Open University campus in Milton Keynes. More information can be found on the conference page on their website.

In black and white, a view of a Victorian prison wing from the ground floor looking up through tiers of cells and criss-crossing metal walkways to the glass roof.
'Victorian Wing' Kilmainham Gaol, 2013 by Miguel Mendez via Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Thursday, 10 January 2019

European Social Science History Conference 2020

Call for Papers

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) has opened pre-registration and invites proposals for papers and sessions at the Thirteenth European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) to be held in Leiden, Netherlands on Wednesday 18th to Saturday 21st March 2020.

ESSHC aims to 'bring together scholars who explain historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences.' This lively biennial conference features international speakers arranged by networks. The last two conferences, at Belfast in 2018 and Valencia in 2016, saw many high-quality papers from members of the ESSHC Criminal Justice Network, many of whom are also members of #HCNet, the Historical Criminology Network. 

The ESSHC Criminal Justice Network explores all aspects of crime, policing, justice and punishment in all societies, but with a particular focus on the early-modern and modern periods. 

Please feel free to use the comments below if you would like to find other scholars to put together a session proposal. More information, including the call for papers, can be found here.

A monochrome image ca. 1954 of a train on an overhead rail bridge across the centre of the image, with electric cabling above it and a street below it, on the street are a tram and a car and a man walking away in the foreground.
Leiden, Netherlands ca.1954 by railasia via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Role of the Intelligent Machine in Organized Crime

Interdisciplinary Research Event

The Centre for Applied Legal Research is funding an event at Bristol Law School on Wednesday 30th January 2019 called 'The Role of the Intelligent Machine in Organized Crime' and invites interested scholars from any discipline to attend. 

The event will be held 12:30-17:00 in Room 4X113, Frenchay Campus, Bristol Law School, UWE Bristol. Registration is required but it is free to attend and lunch and refreshments will be provided. For more information click here.

A black and white image of a woman wearing a skirt and blouse holding the controls of a machine that stands as high as her shoulder. It is made of metal and has several shelves and wires. Standing higher and wider than both of them is a an arm-like machine screwed to the ground with large cables running from it. They appear to be in a laboratory.
Electronics Engineer Sharon Hogge with HT3 and ROBART I robots, 1983. US Public Domain.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Research in Progress: ESRC Victims Project

Victims’ Access to Justice through English Criminal Courts, 1675 to the present

#HCNet is eager to share information on current research-in-progress that might interest members, celebrating our colleagues' achievements and keeping up-to-date with current work and future directions of Historical Criminology.

The ESRC Victims Project started in August 2018 and runs for 24 months funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The Research Team includes Historical Criminologists from the Universities of Essex, Leeds Beckett, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, led by Principal Investigator Prof Pamela Cox (Essex). 

Their website explains: 

'This interdisciplinary project explores patterns of victims’ access to justice in England over three centuries using a unique combination of long-run historical and recent data to meet three research objectives:

  • to profile victims who engaged in criminal trials in England, 1675 to the present
  • to track changing combinations of the rights, resources and services available to these victims
  • to use this new data to recommend ways of understanding and reducing ‘justice gaps’ today and in the future.'

Visit for more details including the full project outline, publications and events.  

What are you working on? Please email Alexa Neale via our Members page or Tweet using the hashtag #HCNet.

A fine etching depicting the Old Bailey Courtroom, complete with observers and clerk in the foreground and judge and prisoners in the background. The wood panelling and stepped seating associated with a courtroom are visible, with tall curtained windows on the far wall.
Court sitting trying prisoners in the Old Bailey (etching) via Wellcome V0041657 CC-BY-4.0


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Research in Progress: Criminal Characters

Investigating the lives of historical offenders in Australia

#HCNet is eager to share information on current research-in-progress that might interest members, celebrating our colleagues' achievements and keeping up-to-date with current work and future directions of Historical Criminology. 

The Criminal Characters project started in 2018 and continues through to 2022 supported by a grant from the University of Technology Sydney. #HCNet members may recall Tweets and emails circulating from Principal Investigator and Chancellors Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Alana Piper, when she sent out a call earlier this year for survey participants.

Alana explains:
'Crime has been central in shaping the history and society of Australia, and historical criminal figures are an ongoing source of fascination to the Australian public. The Criminal Characters project is examining who criminals were, and who they have been imagined to be, in order to deconstruct both historical and contemporary understandings of ‘the criminal’ as a form of social identity. 

This is being achieved by creating an online database of biographic and criminal career information for offenders who entered Victoria’s prison system from the 1850s to 1940s, utilising crowdsourcing to transcribe the detailed life histories kept in Victoria’s prison registers. The prison records that public volunteers are transcribing on the Criminal Characters website captures demographic information such as age, occupation, nationality and marital status, the prisoner’s convictions across time, and information about their appearance, family, misbehaviour inside prison and any transfers they had to other types of institutions. 

How do the lives revealed in such records challenge public conceptions of the sorts of characters that end up in the criminal justice system? And how can such crowdsourcing projects contribute to a greater literacy in historical criminology among the general public?'

Visit for more information including how to participate in transcription. The site includes an excellent Resources page for any one curious about the history of crime in Australian society and culture, including a guide to understanding Australian crime records. 

What are you working on? Please email Alexa Neale via our Members page or Tweet using the hashtag #HCNet.

A composite image depicting four different black and white prisoner photographs arranged in a 2 by 2 square, all head and shoulders, likely different periods. The subjects are possibly two men and two women of diverse ethnic backgrounds, the two on the left, a man and a woman, are looking away from the camera, the two on the right are looking directly into it.
Image copyright Alana Piper and


Friday, 14 December 2018

Historical Criminology Conference 2019

Call for papers

UPDATE 19TH FEBRUARY 2019: The Call for Papers is now closed but registration for the event is now open and a provisional programme available here.

#HCNet are pleased to announce the inaugural event of the BSC Historical Criminology Network, in association with the BSC South West Branch. The conference will take place at the University of Plymouth on 9-10 April 2019. It seeks to advance the Network’s aim to promote, develop and embed historical approaches to criminology.

'Linking past and present in criminological research'

Confirmed plenary speakers include Prof Barry Godfrey (University of Liverpool) and Dr Kate Lister (Leeds Trinity University).The Historical Criminology Network invites proposals for papers discussing connections between past and present in crime and/or criminal justice (both broadly conceived). Presenters at all career stages are welcome. Papers which engage with multiple disciplinary perspectives, or which derive from interdisciplinary collaboration, are especially encouraged. Papers may address connections between past and present in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) a focus on:

  • The historical origins of contemporary problems
  • Parallels between past and present
  • The role of history and memory in public understanding of crime and justice  
  • The status of the present as an historical period
  • The uses of history for criminological theory
  • ‘Historic’ crimes/injustices and their contemporary legacies

To submit a paper, please send a 200 word abstract to David Churchill (d.churchill [at] leeds [dot] ac [dot] uk) by Friday 8 February 2019. If you have any questions, please contact David in the first instance. 

Black and white photograph of a monument and skyline from a slightly raised position with tiny people in the foreground on an open space.
Plymouth, 1960 by Brian Clift via CC-BY-SA-2.0


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Job Opportunity: Fellow, Stanford University

Fellowship for recently completed PhDs

The Center for Law and History at Stanford University, California, has announced a job opportunity. They say: 
'This fellowship is intended for people who have recently completed (or will soon complete) their training in law and history and who seek thereafter to pursue their first tenure-track academic position at the intersection of the two fields.'
The application deadline is 15th February 2019. Click here to find out more.

A black and white photograph of a marble floor from the point of view of a second floor interior balcony. The balconies and floor beneath are round, the pattern on the floor an overlapping floral geometric pattern in three shades of marble. The balconies have iron railings and the middle of the floor design is off-centre in the image.
Black & White Justice (Iowa Judicial Building), 2014 by Phil Roeder via Flickr CC-BY-2.0


Monday, 3 December 2018

BSC Conference 2019

Dates and theme announced

Members of the BSC Historical Criminology Network look forward to meeting at the annual conference of the British Society of Criminology, which in 2019 will be held from the 2nd to the 5th of July at the University of Lincoln. This year the theme will be ‘Public Criminologies: Communities, Conflict and Justice’. More information can be found on the BSC website’s conference page here.

The call for abstracts opens on 7th of January 2019 when our blog will publish a reminder. The deadline for abstracts is 17th of May 2019. Feel free to comment below if you are planning a panel and looking for participants.

Black and white photograph of a Victorian prison interior with whitewashed walls and vaulted ceiling and two tiers of metal railings forming balconies. The middle balcony is at the level of the photograph point of view and shows cell door openings on both sides. There are figures in the middle distance of the image on the central balcony, looking into a cell.
'The Victorian Prison - inside Lincoln Castle' (2015) by bvi4092 via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar

‘Funding Justice or Fuelling Crime? The Political Economy of Crime and Justice in Historical Perspective’

The next meeting of the Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar will take place on Friday, the 25th of January 2019, at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds. 

Featuring presentations from Pam Cox (University of Essex), Ruth Lamont (University of Manchester), Stephen Farrall (University of Sheffield) and Zelia Gallo (King’s College London), the event will focus on the interconnections between politics, the economy, crime and criminal justice through time.

Lunch is included and prior registration is essential. Click here for more information. 

Black and white drawing of a man's head in profile, text identifies Robert Peel as the subject. The skull area is divided into ten sections depicting satirized personal qualities. Full text interpreting the image available at

Phrenological head of Robert Peel... by John Doyle via Wellcome Collection. CC-BY-4.0.