When do things change in history and why? What distinguishes one era, century or
decade from another and how do we identify the moment of transformation? Periodization is a natural reflex for most historians, but does the use of 'ancient', 'medieval', 'modern' and 'contemporary' limit our ability to draw broader connections or trace continuities over time? How do 'turning points' structure our understanding of the lives of prominent individuals, the fortunes of states, economies and empires, and the outcomes of wars, elections, and revolutions? How have 'turning points' been utilised by individuals in the past to make sense of their own lives or the world around them? The History Lab invites proposals for individual twenty-minute papers or three-paper panels covering all periods and all parts of the world. Themes to be addressed could include: * Reflections on historical interpretations of major 'events', such as wars, revolutions, election victories, natural disasters etc. * The impact of scientific discoveries or intellectual/creative breakthroughs * Demographic, economic and environmental change * The use of dramatic events or experiences as a framing device in (auto)biography * Historical controversies regarding periodization The conference will take place at the Institute of Historical Research, London, and we hope to offer some financial support for those travelling from other parts of the UK. Please email proposals (300 words maximum per paper) and brief CV (one page maximum) to email@example.com by 5pm on Monday, 14 January 2008.