CFP: Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production, Consumption

Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production, Consumption
Kingston University
London, United Kingdom
22 June 2012 – 23 June 2012
Abstracts of 250 words should be emailed by 9 March 2012.

In November 2011, Woman’s Weekly celebrated its 100 year birthday by including a reproduction of the first issue inside the centenary edition. A month later, US Vogue launched a digital archive containing every page published since 1892. These events remind us of the rich history which lies behind titles that continue to grace the shelves marked ‘women’s magazines’ on both sides of the Atlantic. Academics, especially feminist scholars, have long explored this history and the relationship between women and the journals that target them, but in recent years this interest appears to have declined. ‘Women in Magazines’ seeks to reassert the importance of magazines, in Britain and America, as a significant source for women’s and gender historians, by showcasing their latest research.

The conference is broad in scope, reflecting the interests of its supporting organisations: the Centre for the Historical Record (Kingston University), the Centre for American, Transatlantic and Caribbean History (Brunel University), the Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW), the Women’s History Network and The Women’s Library. It will offer a platform for examining the role of women as producers, subjects and consumers of magazines; it will also explore magazines as important historical records which are being made more accessible by digital technology. The remit is neither bound by time period nor genre: women’s relationships with specialist journals, trade magazines and non-gender specific lifestyle publications such as Ebony are of equal interest to traditional ‘women’s magazines’. The aim is to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue alongside discussion between scholars and representatives of the contemporary magazine industry. An edited collection based on papers presented is planned.

Key themes for the event are consumption, lifecycles and age, race and ethnicity, social class, geography and location. Suggested topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Advice and education
  • Archives and digitization
  • Beauty and fashion
  • Celebrity culture
  • Editors and journalists
  • Entertainment and gossip
  • Gender ideology
  • Methodology and literature
  • Notions of public and private
  • Politics and citizenship
  • Readers, reading and reception studies
  • Relationships and the family
  • The home
  • The magazine industry
  • Work and careers

Sue Hawkins, Jay Kleinberg, Nicola Phillips, Rachel Ritchie

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