Scholars are continually finding interest and enjoyment in the study of England’s metropolis. To misquote Samuel Johnson, ‘When an academic is tired of London, they are tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’. Though scholarship has been written on London for generations, the city still draws in the researcher. Each new construction alters our perspective, whether that be using new sources, applying different methodologies, reframing old questions, or asking new ones. This conference provides a chance to re-evaluate past understandings and take stock of the landscape around us as it is now.
In 2004, Vanessa Harding discussed some of the then current key themes to emerge within the scholarship of early modern London. ‘Religion, space, and the moral community of London’ were marked as salient in the recent historiography but also ‘health, demography, poverty and poor relief, sexuality, crime and policing, governance, politics’. According to Harding, ‘the big questions of ten or fifteen years ago have been replaced by a diversity of approaches, and, while one cannot predict the future of London’s historiography, it promises to be interesting’. Slightly more than fifteen years on, this conference seeks to examine how that future has transpired. We feel that current scholarly interest especially lies in race, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, as well as the geographical and digital ‘turns’. This conference is also drawn to new perspectives on older questions of class, community, and identity. Encouraging work from across disciplines including history and literature.