Thursday, February 21, 2013

NAVSA 2013 Panel Proposal: "'With fog all around them': Obscurity of Form and Suffering in Victorian London" (2/26/2013; 10/23-27/2013)

Panel Proposal:
“With fog all around them”: 
Obscurity of Form and Suffering in Victorian London
NAVSA 2013, Pasadena, CA, October 23-27, 2013

Engaging the NAVSA 2013 conference theme of “Evidence,” this panel looks for proof of what remained invisible within the urban sphere. London, it is often noted, amplified the Victorian awareness of visuality – with its ocular inundation of advertisements, public spectacles, even glass windows and gas-lighting. But as Kate Flint and Lynda Nead have professed in their works on the visual imagination and the image-rich city, respectively, the fascination with visibility prompted a concomitant interest in (and anxiety over) that which remained shadowed and unseen.

This panel intends to accomplish two things. First, it will map the invisible territories of London still underexplored in Victorian criticism, searching out forms of urban suffering that were, for various reasons, out of reach of the gas-lamps' rays and beyond the grasp of sight. Second, it will bring to light how the obscurity of form prompted authors, artists, and commentators to play with formal elements and blur generic borders in their portrayals of urban strife. While keeping this dual intention in mind, papers might consider a wide range of topics linked with invisibility, such as the unconscious, physiology, spectrality, hidden women, mad men, the lower classes, prostitution, criminality, etc.

If your work falls along similar lines, please submit a 500 word abstract along with a one-page c.v. to Adam Watkins at and Laura Eidam at by February 26, 2013.