Monday, January 31, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Much of the Victorian Press was built on an interdependency of work and leisure. Texts designed for consumption in leisure hours were created by armies of workers: authors, illustrators and editors, of course, but also printers' devils, water-colourists, photographers, ad agents, newsvendors, street sellers, and a host of others. Who exactly were these labourers and how were they organised?
Then, what was the "leisure" that they promoted and how different was it from work? Reading the press is obviously an insufficient answer. Reading could be work for teachers, reviewers or those trying to entertain children or colleagues. To what extent, indeed, was leisure a ruse? How far did the Victorian press inscribe women's domestic labour as a form of leisure, or male work as pleasurable? More generally, how did the press fit into the wider context of the entertainment industry: the theatre, travel, music, exhibitions, sport and shopping?
Not all of the press was devoted to leisure and its limits. What of that enormous sector that unashamedly named their focus as work-related: the trade and professional press, newspaper pages devoted to the stock market and commodity prices, articles worrying over women in the workplace, over the masculinity of the civil servant, or over the demands of labourers on strike?
Finally, what of the "cultural work" of the Victorian press? What was the function of the press in and on society? How might that cultural work relate to the pleasures of leisure?
Suggested themes include but are not limited to:
- Technologies and economies of production, distribution and consumption
- The cultural work of the Victorian press
- Trade and professional publications
- The nature and locations of labour and leisure as they pertain to the press
- The culture industries in the press, including travel, theatre, concerts, exhibitions, sport
- Holiday Supplements
As always, the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals invites proposals for papers that address any aspect of nineteenth-century British magazines or newspapers, although those dealing with the conference theme are particularly welcome.
Submissions: Please e-mail two-page (maximum) proposals for individual presentations or panels of three to Dr Clare Horrocks (C.L.Horrocks@ljmu.ac.uk) and Dr Andrew King (email@example.com). Please include a one-page C.V. with relevant publications, teaching, and/or coursework. Final papers should take 15 minutes (20 minutes maximum) to present. The deadline for submissions is February 1st 2011.
RSVP website: http://www.rs4vp.org/index.html
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Unexpected Agents: Considering Agency and Subjectivity Beyond the Boundaries of the Human (1800 — the Present)
One-day postgraduate symposium June 24th at the University of Birmingham
Keynote Speaker: Sarah Kember (Goldsmiths, University of London)
"Anything that does modify a state of affairs by making a difference is an actor - or, if it has no figuration yet, an actant"
(Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social, 2005)
Whilst questions of human subjectivity and/or identity remain a persistent focus in literary and cultural studies, this one-day postgraduate symposium aims to consider how we might explore and account for agency from unexpected sources. Papers, plenaries and discussions at this symposium will place the non-human, the object, the supposedly "lifeless" at the centre, with a view to casting new light on and rethinking definitions of human agency and identity from an unconventional, askance perspective.
Bruno Latour and the Actor Network Theory (ANT) to which his work is seminal have interrogated the ways in which our reified notion of ‘the social’ has obfuscated the role and potential agency of apparently inanimate objects. When we consider "the social," Latour argues, emphasis overwhelmingly falls upon the agency of intentional human actors. That objects too might be considered as actors or agents has not been granted due attention, since from "the very definition of actors and agencies most often chosen, if action is limited a priori to what 'intentional,' 'meaningful' humans do, it is hard to see how a hammer, a basket, a door closer […] could act"(71). In other words, because the ways in which an object might be considered to "act" appears so incommensurate with the apparently purposeful, intentional and highly thought-out actions of human beings, the idea that objects might be considered as agents in their own right has suffered much neglect in sociological discourse. ANT is largely concerned with attacking this imbalance.
This symposium aims to acknowledge and yet exceed Latour’s and others’ focus upon the agency of objects to envision how authors, theorists and cultural producers have imagined and re-imagined the potential agencies of a wide range of entities, to which and to whom access to power is conventionally seen as foreclosed. It will explore how this over-looked but fascinating trope persists across genres and historical boundaries, from Romanticism to Science Fiction, and from 1800 to the present day.
Possible conference paper topics may include (but are not limited to) a focus on the following kinds of "unexpected agent":
- Objects (art objects, artefacts, antiques)
- Spaces/ Landscapes
- Ghosts and the deceased
- Mediums and the hypnotised
- Babies/ Infants
- Technology (radio, machines, scientific apparatus)
- Words themselves
The organisers invite 200 word proposals for 20 minute papers, by Friday 1 April 2011.
Information about our plenary speaker:
Dr Sarah Kember (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Sarah Kember’s research focuses on digital media, questions of mediation and feminist science and technology studies. She is currently investigating the possibilities of life after new media (studies), and has engaged in debates on artificial life and other aspects of the convergence between biology and computer science. She also works on imaging technologies and the relationship between photography and the digital and is developing an innovative approach to the question of remediation and the ‘fusion’ of science and literary fiction.
Conference website: http://www.english.bham.ac.uk/unexpected/
Topics may include, but are not limited to, the work of Shaw, Schnitzler, Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg, von Hofmannsthal, and their contemporaries in Western and Eastern Europe and beyond.
UpStage welcomes a variety of theoretical and critical methodologies.
We are interested in receiving:
- Scholarly articles of approximately 3,000 words
- Book-reviews of approximately 500 words
- Reports on work in progress (book manuscripts, master’s theses, and doctoral dissertations) (approximately 500-1000 words)
- Reviews of contemporary productions of turn-of-the-century plays (or plays about the turn of the nineteenth century) and announcements of future productions (approximately 500 words)
By February 15, 2011, please e-mail your submissions, as MS Word attachments only, to both Dr. Helena Gurfinkel, Department of English Language and Literature, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL, USA at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Michelle C. Paull, Drama Programme, St. Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, TW1, 4SX, England, at email@example.com.
Submissions should conform to the latest version of the MLA style. In order to undergo masked peer-review, scholarly articles must be submitted in the following way: the author’s contact information and brief bio should appear in the body of the e-mail, while the Word attachment should contain no identifying information.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Monster Inside Us, The Monsters Around Us: Monstrosity and Humanity
A three-day conference, 18, 19, 20 November 2011
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
- David Punter, University of Bristol
- Andy Mousley, De Montfort University, Leicester
The Oxford English Dictionary locates the origin of the word "monster" in the 12th-century Old French word mostre, meaning a prodigy or marvel, originally used to denote a mythical being, half-human, half-animal. From the 13th century the term was used derogatorily to indicate something other than "normality": something large, gross, malformed or abnormal. The monstrous now created fear and loathing rather than awe, and was not limited to physicality, but included difference through race, culture, society, ideology, psychology, and many other Others.
The fear raised by Otherness is not produced through the presentation of something entirely alien, but by the recognition of ourselves within the Other. In his Introduction to Cogito and the Unconscious Slavoj Žižek argues that the Cartesian Subject has at its heart the monster which emerges when deprived of the "wealth of self-experience." At the heart of the human is the monster; at the heart of the monster is the human. The instability of the individual subject and the ease by which the ever-changing border between "human" and "monster" is transgressed has long been debated in literature; Frankenstein makes a monster by trying to perfect the human, while both nineteenth-century Flora Bannerman, in Varney the Vampire, and twenty-first-century Sookie Stackhouse recognise the human origins of the vampire.
This conference seeks to understand the relationship between the human and the monstrous across the centuries and across disciplines. In what ways and to what ends have the human and the monster been defined and polarized? How has the monster been subdued, and with what success? How do definitions and separations of the human and the monstrous change and through what pressures and motivations? How does the emerging field of posthumanism enable us to conceptualize the monstrous in relation to the human and humanism?
Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers which may address, but are not limited to:
- Monstrosity in the humanities
- The monster and criminality
- Psychology and the monster
- Monstrosity and the internet
- The human and the monster in the post-national world
- Monstrosity and miscegenation
- Liminality and transgression
- Theories of monstrosity and/or the human
- Historical monsters
- Humanism, the post-human, and monstrosity
Please send abstracts of 300 words to Dr Deborah Mutch, Department of English, Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Leicester, LE1 9BH, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Fee: £30 / £15 post-graduate/unwaged including lunch and refreshments
Deadline for abstracts: 1 June 2011
Click here for the conference website.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Panel Proposal: Performing Philanthropy
When Charles Dickens first satisfied his longing to be on the stage, he made sure to appear in benefit performances. As long as he was raising funds for charity, even the stage was respectable. When the Anti-corn Law League wanted to fill its waning coffers and boost its public image, it opted to stage a fund-raising bazaar. The event filled London's Covent Garden Theater to capacity for over two weeks during the 1845 London season, the fair-goers flocking to see the entire theater transformed to look like a Gothic hall, filled with every variety of manufactured goods and ladies' work for sale. Philanthropic work invited play and performance, a fact about which the Victorians were quite frank. Benefit performances were often listed in the entertainment sections of newspapers. Organizers solicited patrons who would attract a large crowd and lecturers who could elicit tears and coins for the most unfortunate.
We propose a panel on Performing Philanthropy for the 2011 NAVSA conference. We invite paper proposals of 500 words dealing with issues pertaining to the play and performance involved in Victorian philanthropy and charity work. Please submit proposals, along with one-page c.v.'s, by February 15th to Frank Christianson (email@example.com) or Leslee Thorne-Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Performing poverty and/or benevolence
- Philanthropy as social classification: modes of discrimination, the "deserving poor," detecting pauperism.
- Social surveys as ethnographic tourism-slumming, the philanthropic gaze, the aesthetics of street life
- The rhetoric of altruism: public morality vs. private charity
- Performing gender through philanthropy
- Philanthropic imperialism: charity work and colonial allegiance
- Negotiating class identity through philanthropic work
- Philanthropy as social ritual
- Fictional philanthropy as entertainment/Authorship as philanthropy
- Mass mediated philanthropy and popular culture/visual culture/photography
NOVEMBER 18-20, 2011
The NACBS and its Western affiliate, the Western Conference on British Studies, seek participation by scholars in all areas of British Studies for the 2011 meeting. We will convene in
We invite panel proposals addressing selected themes, methodology, and pedagogy, as well as roundtable discussions of topical and thematic interest, including conversations among authors of recent books and reflections on landmark scholarship. North American scholars, international scholars, and Ph.D. students are all encouraged to submit proposals for consideration. Strong preference will be given to complete panel or roundtable proposals that consider a common theme. Panels typically include three papers and a comment; roundtables customarily have four presentations. Individual paper proposals will also be considered in rare cases. We urge those with single paper submissions to search for additional panelists on lists such as H-Albion or at venues such as the NACBS Facebook page. Applicants may also write to the Program Chair for suggestions (email@example.com).
All scholars working in the field of British Studies are encouraged to apply for the 2011 conference, though we particularly welcome submissions from those who did not appear on the 2010 program. Panels that include both emerging and established scholars are especially encouraged, as are submissions with broad chronological focus and interdisciplinary breadth. We welcome the participation of junior scholars and Ph.D. candidates beyond the qualifying stage. To enable intellectual interchange, we ask applicants to compose panels that feature participation from a range of institutions. No participant will be permitted to take part in more than one session and no more than one proposal will be considered from each applicant.
Submissions will be taken at www.nacbs.org/conferences.html through March 15, 2011.
If you have questions about the submission process or suggestions for program development, please contact
NACBS Program Chair
Associate Professor of History and English