Languages of Consumption in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Call for Papers
University of Basel, Switzerland, 3 – 4 February 2022
In recent decades, the consumption history has moved beyond the initial historiography surrounding the ‘birth of a consumer society’. Rather than documenting changing consumer patterns, the focus has increasingly shifted to cultural and symbolic elements, the so-called ‘active consumer’, and the entanglement of production and consumption. The quest for the cultural also sparked new interest in the languages of consumption, not only textual, but also visual and material.
This workshop, co-hosted by the Universities of Basel and Antwerp, aims to foster our knowledge of the languages of consumption in this era of critical transitions. It will do so by bringing together and discussing new perspectives across a broad range of languages and regions, also welcoming contributions beyond the Atlantic World.
The purpose of the workshop is to highlight the importance of looking at a variety of consumption practices, historical actors and their experiences through a myriad of discourses.
We especially welcome papers addressing the following topics:
- How can we understand the history of consumption through language? And how can we (re-)assess the role of advertisements, trade cards, posters, visual representations and other forms of publicity?
- Can we assess the specific importance of (multi)lingual contexts through the development of a comparative research perspective?
- How do cities across the urban hierarchy and the countryside resonate through the languages of consumption?
- What can consumer discourses tell us about the (re-)production of social inequalities including colonialism and slavery?
- How do digital methods enhance our understanding of different languages of consumption?