This panel will consider the ways energy, broadly conceived, was theorized, understood, and represented in Victorian literature, science, and material culture.
Throughout the Victorian era some very different conceptions of energy came to increasingly overlap, while others remained differentiated by the material objects with which they were associated or by their gendered, classed, and raced bodily sources. The Gospel of Work, for example, moralized labor as ennobling and masculinizing, while medical discourses constructed female lassitude as a pathology of gender. In other venues, the steam-power of factories and railways was theoretically correlated with the laboring body, and as a result mechanical engines became linked in the popular imagination to new conceptions of the body as a machine, expending labor and consuming nutrition like a “human motor.” The new science of thermodynamics, which produced the era’s most powerful images of energy decay, predicted the “heat death” of the solar system in 30 million years, the calendar H. G. Wells follows when depicting a depleted sun in The Time Machine.
This panel hopes to explore connections between the different knowledges which emerged in the Victorian era to theorize and understand energy, as well as the various cultural forms through which Victorians represented energy at work. Possibilities include the body; affect; machine cultures, engineering, and the physical sciences; ecology and natural resources; medicine, nutrition, and physiology.
Please send 300-400 word proposals by September 30, 2011 to Jessica Kuskey, Syracuse Universityjekuskey@syr.edu
Please include with your abstract: Name and Affiliation Email address A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable. http://www.nemla.org/convention/2012/cfp.html
The 43rd annual convention will be held March 15-18th in Rochester, New York at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, located minutes away from convenient air, bus, and train transportation options for attendees. St. John Fisher College will serve as the host college, and the diverse array of area institutions are coordinating with conference organizers to sponsor various activities, such as celebrated keynote speakers, local events, and fiction readings.