Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CFP: AAL Conference 2014 “Literature and Affect” (2/28/2014; 7/2-4/2014)

Australasian Association of Literature
The University of Melbourne
July 2-4, 2014
Deadline: February 28, 2014

Confirmed keynote speakers: Heather Love (University of Pennsylvania), Sharon Marcus (Columbia University), & Gillian Russell (Australian National University)

What is “the affective turn” and where did it come from?  The relationship between literature and affect has long been a fraught one. On the one hand, the discipline of literary criticism derives from early eighteenth- century aesthetic philosophy that can be understood as an attempt to theorize pleasure. On the other, after Kant, criticism is predicated upon the separation of feeling from judgment. Enshrining this separation as a principle of critical practice, W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley formulated “The Affective Fallacy” (1949) to name the shame of an emotional entanglement with the literary text. Here, the aesthetic functions as a conceptual mechanism for separating pleasure and value. And if pleasure is such a contested topic, what about pain, what about the ugly feelings? (to use Sianne Ngai’s coinage). And where is the body in all of this?

More recently, the so-called “affective turn” has turned a new attention upon the world of feeling. It returns literary criticism to New Criticism’s scandalous scene of the affective fallacy in order to re-evaluate the languages of feeling. A shaping force in illuminating the value of the affective has been queer theory, in its vital exploration of the transformative potential both of forward-looking utopian desires and backwards feelings such as shame. The affective turn has also been powered by the recognition that emotion and history are not opposed, and that emotion itself has a history. (Indeed, in a dramatic statement of the inseparability of history and affect, the Marxist cultural historian, Fredric Jameson, asserts that “History is what hurts”.) Perhaps paradoxically, new intensities of interest in literary form (e.g. as objectified and “unfelt” emotion) and in the cognitive dimensions of feeling also energize this turn and challenge the distinction between reason and feeling.

The committee invites papers that engage with any aspect of literature and affect; explore the significance for literature of the affective turn that has informed the humanities more broadly; analyze the relationship between affect and the literary aesthetic; engage affect and emotion to explore (or indeed contest) the singularity of literature. The committee also invites papers that consider literature and affect historically, and that consider affect, literature and the problem of evaluation (aka judgment).

Possible topics might include:
  • Literary hedonisms and literary pleasure Practices of reading New formalisms Cultures of taste
  • Memory and affective histories Affect and temporality Literature and public emotions Theories of affect and emotion Fandom, celebrity, scandal, Cognitive literary criticism, psychoanalysis and the neurosciences Pain and trauma
  • Sensation and corporeality Sexuality and eroticism Literary and aesthetic judgment Aesthetic-affective moods, modes and tones (e.g. sentiment, melodrama, camp)
  • Non-human, impersonal and animal affect Actors and performance Emotions and new media (e.g. memes, avatars, social networking)

Please submit a title and 500-word abstract for proposed papers by Friday February 28, 2014 via the submission form on the AAL conference website.

Conference organizers: Clara Tuite, Sarah Balkin, Sarah Comyn, Corey Wakeling (English and Theatre Studies, The University of Melbourne)

CFP: MLA 2015 "Dickens: Surface, Depth, Close, Distant" (2/15/2014; 1/8-11/2015)

MLA 2015
Vancouver, Canada
January 8-11, 2015
Deadline: February 15, 2014

The Dickens Society/Dickens Universe sponsored panel at MLA 2015 welcome proposals for:

"Dickens: Surface, Depth, Close, Distant"
Are Dickens’s novels all "surface” lacking depth? Critics urge "surface" (Best & Marcus) or "distant" (Moretti) readings. Examine Dickens using surface, depth, close, distant readings.

Please send 500 word abstracts by February 15, 2014 to

CFP Edited Collection: Sensationalism and the Genealogy of Modernity (3/1/2014)

CFP Edited Collection
Sensationalism and the Genealogy of Modernity
Deadline: March 1, 2014 

A vast tradition of literary and theoretical reflections has mapped modernity in the fragmented, synaesthetic experience that characterizes urban life. From the paratactic verses of Wordswoth’s Prelude describing the city of London, to the discussion of the ‘shock’ effect and the hyper-stimultion of the urban sensorium in the works of Walter Benjamin, George Simmel, and, most recently, Ben Singer, the bombardment of ever changing stimuli targeting the perception of the urban flâneur has been set against a tradition of aesthetic and epistemological concern valuing the intuited principle of unity that granted access to truth.

The publishing industry has contributed to this new experience of modernity by transforming the production and dissemination of narrative units through periodical forms that mechanically reproduced the same episodic impressions, often by capitalizing on the shock factor in many genres of popular entertainment. The sensational potential of the plots of both popular fiction, drama, and early cinema have challenged and transformed the discourses of class, gender and national identity that structured the dominant culture.
A significant role in the transformation of aesthetic perception, artistic representation and the production of the print industry has been played by the research on vision and the analysis of movement in the course of the ‘long nineteenth century,’ as Max Milner, Jonathan Crary and Marta Braun, among others, have argued.  Nineteenth century research on vision has significantly altered not only theoretical discussions but the very modalities of vision that countless ‘philosophical toys’ and popular forms of entertainment disseminated at the level of the everyday.

This collection of essays seeks to map a genealogy of modernity through the ‘sensational’ by taking a comparatist, transnational, interdisciplinary and inter medial approach to the study of perception and the ways of constructing knowledge in the period going from the emergence of the discourse of aesthetics to the experimentations of the early twentieth century avant-garde.

Among the topics considered (but not limited to these):
  • the emergence of aesthetics in the eighteenth century 
  • the research on optics and motion and its impact on literary and artistic mimesis
  • sensationalism in the eighteenth century
  • the many forms of literary sensationalism in theatrical production and periodical fiction (melodrama, sensation novels, crime fiction, roman judiciaire, etc.)
  • adaptations, translations and fortune of specific genres, works and authors of sensational literature in foreign markets
  • violence, shock, and the project of modernity
  • serialization and the status of the reader
  • the montage effect in print culture
  • political meanings of sensationalism
  • irony and the urban sensorium
  • sensationalism and the city/countryside dichotomy
  • the responses to new media and the reverberations of optical toys in theoretical,  artistic and literary texts
  • points of rupture/continuity in the historical narratives of modernism
  • transmediation of the sensational in advertising, precinema and silent film
  • the periodical press and the emergence of new journalism
  • archeological approaches to the avant-garde
  • urban modernism and subjectivity in the long nineteenth century
  • the challenges to traditional notions of the sister arts
  • comparative models of sensationalism and the genealogies of modernity
  • commodity culture and the hybrid text of modernity

Please send a 1000-1500 word abstract and a short bio by March 1, 2014 to Alberto Gabriele (

CFP: Detecting Objects: The Material Item and Detective Fiction (3/28/2014; 6/12/2014)

Detecting Objects: The Material Item and Detective Fiction
University of Portsmouth UK, 
June 12, 2014
Deadline: March 28, 2014

Keynote speaker: Dr Janice Allan, University of Salford

Pioneering works in the field of ‘thing theory’ such as Bill Brown’s A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature (2003) and Elaine Freedgood’s The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (2006) have sought to re-conceptualize the roles of objects in fiction, moving beyond Marxist conceptions of the commodity and seeing material items not as weak metonymies, but as tellers of obscured histories. Yet the focus of such explorations has tended towards a focus on canonical realism and the ways in which such texts invite us to concentrate on subjects at the expense of objects. This symposium considers the ways in which objects have always been of crucial importance to the popular genre of detective fiction, as either clues, weapons, or as other embodiments of history.  We welcome proposals on any aspect of the reading of objects in detective fiction (and related genres such as the sensation novel and crime fiction) from the nineteenth century onwards.

Potential topics for proposals include (but are not limited to):
  • The material object as clue or detective
  • The material object as weapon or victim
  • Deconstructions of the animate/inanimate in detective fiction
  • Detective fiction as material object: book and publication history
  • Detective fiction and materialism
  • The material manifestations of detective/crime fiction fan cultures
Proposals of no more than 300 words and a brief CV should be sent to Dr Christopher Pittard at, by March 28, 2014. For more information please visit:

Reminder: Tennyson Essay Prize 2013 (7/31/2014)

The Tennyson Society Publications Board announces:

A prize of £500 is offered for the best essay on any aspect of Tennyson’s life and work, received by the Tennyson Publications Board by July 31, 2014.  Essays should be no longer than 5000 words. The competition is open to all, but entries from persons under the age of 35 will be especially welcomed. The winning entry will be published in a future edition of the Tennyson Research Bulletin.

  • 1) The closing date for the submission of entries is 31 July 2014. Entries should be clearly marked ‘Tennyson Essay Competition’. They should be sent to:  Rosalind Boyce, c/o The Tennyson Society, The Central Library, Free School Lane, Lincoln LN2 1EZ, England.
  • 2) Essays should be no longer than 5000 words and should conform to the Harvard (author/date) system.
  • 3) Only one entry per individual is allowed.
  • 4) Each entry should be accompanied by an abstract of approximately 200 words.
  • 5) Three copies of each entry should be submitted.
  • 6) The Publications Board reserves the right to publish in the Tennyson Research Bulletin, within a period of four years from the date of submission, entries other than the winning entry. Entrants will be informed of decisions by 31 December 2014. Typescripts will not be returned to authors. 
  • 7) The decision of the judges, who will be drawn from the Tennyson Society Publications Board, is final and no correspondence will be entered into concerning their decision.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Grant: The Historians of British Art Publication Grant (1/31/2014)

The Historians of British Art Publication Grant
Deadline: January 31, 2014

The Historians of British Art invites applications for its 2014 publication grant. The society will award up to $600 to offset publication costs in the field of British art or visual culture that has been accepted by a publisher. Applicants must be current members of HBA.

To apply, send a 500-word project description, publication information (name of journal or press and projected publication date), budget, and CV to Renate Dohmen, Prize Committee Chair, HBA, The deadline is January 31, 2014.

CFP: Souther Conference on British Studies 2014 (4/15/2014; 11/14-15/2014)

Southern Conference on British Studies
Atlanta, Georgia
November 14-15, 2014
Deadline for submission: March 15, 2014

The Southern Conference on British Studies solicits proposals for its 2014 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 14-15, 2014.  The SCBS will meet in conjunction with the Southern Historical Association. The 2014 SCBS annual meeting will feature a plenary address by Susan R. Grayzel, University of Mississippi and a roundtable discussion featuring Michael P. Winship on his book, Godly Republicanism: Puritans, Pilgrims and a City on a Hill.

The SCBS construes British Studies widely and invites participation by scholars in all areas of British history and culture, including the Empire or Commonwealth and the British Isles.  Interdisciplinary approaches and proposals that focus broadly on teaching British studies are especially welcome.

Proposals may consist of individual papers or of papers grouped for a session.  For session proposals, two or preferably three papers should relate to a common theme, not necessarily bound by the usual chronological framework.

For each paper proposed, please submit an abstract of 200 words, a CV, and contact information for each participant. Proposals should be sent to Dr. Katherine Grenier at: or Department of History, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409.

CFP: MLA 2015 "The Pre-Raphaelites: The Ecological and the Oceanic" (3/15/2014; 1/8-11/2015)

MLA 2015, Vancouver, Canada
January 8-11, 2015
Deadline: March 15, 2014

1. Papers are sought for a session co-sponsored by the William Morris Society and the Old Norse Discussion Group on any aspect of William Morris and his associates in relation to Old Norse topics: literary, linguistic, artistic, biographical or political, ranging from pre-historic origins to the present day. Please send abstracts and C.V. by March 15, 2014 to and

2. "The Pre-Raphaelites: The Ecological and the Oceanic" The William Morris Society will also sponsor a panel on "The Pre-Raphaelites: The Ecological and the Oceanic."  For this we seek papers on the Pre-Raphaelites, Morris and ecological concerns, the environment, ‘green’ politics, and/or oceanic journeys, Morris’s influence in Asia and Oceania, or trans-Pacific approaches to Pre-Raphaelite studies. Please send abstracts for proposals by March 15, 2014 to

Special Event: One-day Workshop "Hopkins' Audiences" (4/4/2014)

One-day Workshop
Hopkins' Audiences
Newcastle University
April 4, 2014

“I cannot think of altering anything”, Hopkins told Robert Bridges of The Wreck of the Deutschland, “Why shd. I? I do not write for the public. You are my public and I hope to convert you.” This one-day workshop, held in celebration of the new Oxford Collected Works edition of Hopkins' correspondence, will debate how Hopkins' notion of his public-both real and imagined-informs the nature of his writing and reception.

Speakers: Noel Barber, S.J., Matthew Campbell, Andrew Hodgson, Michael D. Hurley, Jude V. Nixon, Francis O'Gorman, Michael O'Neill, Catherine Phillips, Aakanksha Virkar-Yates, James Williams, Jane Wright.

Cost of workshop including refreshments and lunch will be £25 waged and £10 student rate. For further information, see contact

Kindly supported by: British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Newcastle University Oxford University Press

CFP: "Popular Culture" Second issue of helden.heroes.heros (1/31/2014)

CFP: "Popular Culture"
Second issue of helden.heroes.heros 
Deadline: January 31, 2014 

The second issue of e-journal helden.heroes.heros published at Freiburg University is going to be concerned with the representation of the heroic in popular culture. Though not exclusively Victorian in interest, contributions from the Victorian community would be much appreciated.

CFP: “Popular Culture” – second issue of e-journal helden. heroes. héros.
Whether heroes of Antiquity such as Ulysses or Achilles, biblical heroes like David or Judith, medieval folk heroes like Robin Hood or Joan of Arc, heroes of national revolution such as Danton or Marat, literary heroes and anti-heroes like Don Quijote or Faust or contemporary superheroes such as Lara Croft or Batman, heroes and heroines were always used as canvas and identificatory figures for individuals, social groups or societies as a whole.

Although a “postheroic age” is often postulated today, one can perceive a new boom of the heroic not only but especially within popular culture nowadays. Thereby, traditions are challenged by new types of heroes and hybrid forms and processes of trivialisation and diffusion stand alongside scepticism and taboos. helden.heroes.héros. e-journal on cultures of the heroic, an open-access journal published by the collaborative research center “Heroes – Heroization – Heroisms” at Freiburg University is exploring this tension between exceptionality of heroic figures and the social groups which they both stabilize and question.

Since the heroic can only ever be visible through representation and groups of followers can only be constituted through the medial dissemination of hero narratives, the second issue of the journal (summer 2014) will be concerned with the issue of “Popular Culture”. The issue will focus on figures, modes of presentation, media-specific phenomena and functions of popular representations of the heroic. What are characteristics of popular heroes? In which media are heroes and their heroic acts presented and who is selecting them? Are there connections between today’s heroes and the folk heroes of earlier times? These and similar questions should be discussed in the submitted contributions.
The Call for Papers is directed at researchers from all humanities and social sciences who are dealing with the representation of the heroic in popular media – not only of the 20thand 21st century, but of all ages. Contributions will be selected based on peer review and abstracts of 2000 characters (including spacing) as well as a short CV should be submitted until January 31, 2014 to:
helden. heroes. héros. e-journal on cultures of the heroic.

Extended Deadline: “The Afterlives of Pastoral” (3/12/2014; 7/4-5/2014)

“The Afterlives of Pastoral”
University of Queensland
July 4-5, 2014
New Deadline: March 21, 2014

Since William Empson published his landmark Some Versions of Pastoral in 1935, the ancient mode that is pastoral has been re-visioned and re-analysed, and a range of scholarly readings has confirmed there is no easy or comfortable way of pinning down just how pastoral operates either in Virgil’s Eclogues or in the literature the poem has inspired since the Renaissance. Annabel Patterson in her Pastoral and Ideology: Virgil to Valéry (1987) focused on why Virgilian pastoral has echoed and continues to echo through western literary history, arguing “it is not what pastoral is that should matter to us”; what is far more useful is to consider “how writers, artists, and intellectuals of all persuasions have used pastoral for a range of functions and intentions that the Eclogues first articulated” (7; emphasis in original). In 1996, pastoral scholar Paul Alpers referred to “a happy confusion of definitions,” and with a linguistic nod to Empson, confirmed “there are as many versions of pastoral as there are critics and scholars who write about it” and that “‘pastoral’ can still be a word to conjure with” (What Is Pastoral? 8).

Over the last twenty-five years, there has been a resurgence of interest not only in the theory and criticism of pastoral but in literature that in various ways is in dialogue with the mode. For instance, Seamus Heaney self-consciously writes back to Virgil, and Stanley Fish has noted telling elements of pastoral in Suzanne Collins’s blockbuster trilogy The Hunger Games (2008–2010). Environmental criticism, too, has found a dialogue with this tradition to be a productive way of thinking about the human/nature relationships in which so many current environmental issues are embedded.

This symposium invites a dialogue on the afterlives of pastoral. It is inspired by the recent pastoral turn, by the questioning title of Alpers’s book, and by Patterson’s focus on the pastoral as literature in action. As Alpers reminds us, the pleasures of nymphs and shepherds and their herds are only ever the vehicle for a quite different, darker discourse: “the very notion of pastoral . . . represents a fantasy that is dissipated by the recognition of political and social realities” (24).

In this spirit, the organizers seek participants from a wide range of fields, including literature, the performing arts, music and other forms of cultural discourse that engage with the core of this ancient tradition.

CFP: Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire (2/21/2014; 6/5/2014)

Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire
University of Warwick
June 5, 2014
Deadline: February 21, 2014

Keynote speakers: Tanya Agathocleous (Hunter College, USA) & Priti Joshi(University of Puget Sound, USA)

The nineteenth century saw a proliferation of print culture not just in Britain but also across the Empire and beyond. This conference recognizes a significant shift in nineteenth-century studies towards print culture as an important form of Anglophone responses to various aspects of imperialism and globalization, including the renegotiation of gender relations in imperial and extra-imperial locations. While it has been argued that the colonies and the wider Anglophone world formed a large market (with India being the largest single market) for British publishers, the relationship between imported British periodicals and emerging global print media is still underexamined. The reprinting of materials from metropolitan British newspapers and periodicals offers key insights into how ‘news’ travelled and re-circulated at local and regional levels.   Moreover, the British press during this period obsessively returned to colonial subjects, often featuring scenes of colonial life and sketches of particular ‘types’ of imperial subjects.

In this conference, the committee is keen to open up a space for counter-narratives to such representations, by showing Britain and evolving gender conceptions, such as separate spheres for men and women, through a different perspective. Imperial periodicals emerged as a new medium for expressing the social and political role of colonial peoples and their investment in bourgeois subjectivities in a widening public sphere. They also provided a platform where new Anglophone elites and expatriate Britons could write about their lives and experiences in a multiplicity of ways – in articles, fiction, poetry, and letters. The committee is especially interested in the role of periodicals in shaping and disseminating literature (fiction, poetry, drama, and travel narratives) so as to broaden our field’s understanding of the global in the long nineteenth century and of the place of women and sexuality within a “Greater Britain” structure.

The committee invites papers on:
Gender and the colonial press
The woman’s magazine in the non-metropolitan environment
Colonial and extra-colonial responses to the British press
The British and American press in the wider world
Feminist and nationalist movements
Colonial politics and law
English literacy and sub-literacy in the Anglophone press
The circulation and dissemination of the British and English-language press inside/outside of Britain and the ‘settler’ colonies
Print technology and graphic design
The depiction of same-sex and ‘non-normative’ sexualities in the colonial and extra-colonial press

Please send an abstract of up to 500 words and a brief biographical note (100-150 words) to: Dr Tara Puri ( or Dr Ross G. Forman (

Deadline for Abstracts:  February 21, 2014.  Decisions will be announced in early March 2014.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CFP: FATHOM “Thomas Hardy, A Thinker of Humanity” (3/1/2014; 6/5-6/2014)

French Association for Thomas Hardy Studies (FATHOM)
Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France
June 5-6, 2014
Deadline: March 1, 2014

“Humanity Appears upon the Scene, Hand in Hand with Trouble”
(The Return of the Native, I-ii)

“Thomas Hardy, A Thinker of Humanity”
Thomas Hardy’s life and career occurred in an era of major disruptions and advances in the knowledge of man and in the understanding of his place in the universe. Hardy contributed effectively to the debates of the Victorian period, and responded both as novelist and as poet to the great unsettling questions of his contemporaries in the wake of the appearance of evolutionism but also of the advent of life sciences and of the birth of social sciences. His knowledge of mankind stands at the confluence of old traditions and radically new paradigms. His long life and career allowed him to witness a great array of epistemological changes, yet this only partly explains the depth and complexity of the reflections on man offered by his writings.

Hardy was an attentive reader of Mill, Arnold, Huxley, Spencer, but also of Taine, Renan, or naturally Comte. His works thus bears the obvious trace of his erudition on the theoretical constructs of his time, while informing a very distinctive, idiosyncratic knowledge of a literary non-didactic nature. One is accordingly led to consider this knowledge, following Pierre Macherey’s perspective, as “thought without concepts, thought which does not communicate through the construction of speculative systems whereby the search for truth is assimilated to a line of argumentative demonstration” (A quoi pense la littérature?).

Indeed, from the writings of his time Hardy seems to have extracted tools for the examination of human life – always refusing, though, to adhere to any determined school of thought.

From evolutionism, astronomy, or geology, Hardy seems to have learnt the necessary humility of the human condition. Exploring all forms of beings, living or inanimate, he lingers on the in-between position of the human scale to study its rules and customs with the eye of a social scientist. Despite its pessimistic reputation, Hardy’s work investigates the whole of that “strained, hard-run Humanity” with acute perceptiveness and extended compassion (“In Death Divided”). Forcing man to accept the ordinariness of his place in the universe does not bound his condition so much as it hands over to him the entire responsibility of historical destiny and of the advent of another humanity.

This conference seeks to explore the epistemological import of Hardy’s work. A particular interest will be given to approaches looking into the humanities (philosophy, religion, history, sociology, anthropology…) as well as into life sciences. The conference also welcomes comparative perspectives examining Hardy and other writers or thinkers whose exploration of mankind bears similar traits.                

Suggested topics might include, but are not limited to:
  • humanity and humanism
  • Man and God
  • Hardy as an anthropologist
  • the history of humanity
  • classical legacies and mythical visions of humanity
  • humanity and animality

This two-day conference, organized by Laurence Estanove (Université Paris-Descartes / Université de Toulouse – CAS) and Marie Panter (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon) is a collaboration between the CERCC (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Comparées sur la Création, ENS Lyon) and FATHOM (French Association for Thomas Hardy Studies).
It will be held at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France on June 5-6, 2014.

The conference welcomes papers in either English or French. Proceedings will be submitted for publication in the online journal FATHOM (

Please send proposals of no more than one page, along with a short bibliography and biographical statement, to Laurence Estanove and Marie Panter by March 1, 2014.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Seminar: Birkbeck's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies Spring Programme (1/17/2014 & 2/7/2014)

London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar
Spring Term Programme of Events
Birkbeck University

Inaugurated by Birkbeck's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies in 1987, the Seminar is chaired by Dr Ana Vadillo (Birkbeck) and organised by a committee made up of nineteenth-century specialists from the English Departments of the colleges of the University of London. Responsibility for each season of seminars is passed around the group.

Friday January 17, 2014
Steward House, Room 349
17:30 - 19:30
Archaeology of Emotions 1
Stefano Evangelista (Oxford): 'Encounters with Sculpture in Sigmund Freud and Vernon Lee: Science, Aesthetics, Pathology'
Carolyn Burdett (Birkbeck): 'From shareability to Unanimism: or, how psychology tried to keep the Good in the Beautiful'

Friday February 7, 2014
Stewart House, Room 349
17:30 - 19:30
Archaeology of Emotions 2: Panel on An Archaeology of Sympathy
James Chandler (Chicago); Respondent: Luisa Calé (Birkbeck)

For more information please contact Ana Parejo Vadillo ( or visit the website at:

Reminder: NAVSA 2014 “Victorian Classes and Classifications” (3/1/2014; 11/13-15/2014)

North American Victorian Studies Association Conference 2014
London, Ontario, Canada
November 13-15, 2014
Deadline: March 1, 2014

“Victorian Classes and Classifications”
Victorian Britain belonged to the classifying age. Imperial expansion and new techniques of observation and production confronted Britons with an expanding universe of natural and man-made phenomena.  In response, scientists, writers, artists, and educators sought to articulate some underlying sense of order through ever more complex systems of organization, arrangement, and tabulation. Natural philosophers vastly extended and revised the taxonomies of Linnaeus. Medical professionals developed new diagnostic tools and coined a broad range of new pathologies and diseases. Criminologists gathered biometric data that allowed them to constitute and apprehend criminal types. Literary critics debated the rise of new classes of literature, from the penny dreadful and sensation fiction to the naturalist novel. Librarians set out the protocols for indexing the classes and sub-classes of literature that resulted from the vast outpouring of printed matter. Teachers began to organize their classrooms into distinct groupings of students by age and ability. But with these efforts came, too, a new concern and fascination for that which exceeded classification, the anomalous, the mutation, the hybrid, the monstrous, and class struggle emerged as a theory of history and as a basis for political organization. 

The organizers of the North American Victorian Studies Association’s 2014 conference welcome papers studying any aspect of the Victorians’ self-organization, organization of culture, and organization of the natural world.

Conference threads might include: 
  • Varieties, species, genera, and types of living organism and inanimate object
  • Literary genres, parts, classifications, and forms of publication
  • Social class and its material embodiment in modes of travel, commodity culture, fashion, and the built environment
  • Pedagogy and the classroom
  • The sciences and pseudo-sciences of human classification: racial science, criminology, and sexology.
  • Character types and body types
  • Breeding, rank, and class
  • Museums, exhibitions, shops, libraries, schools, and other sorting institutions
  • Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and the organization of knowledge
  • Varieties of religious experience and affiliation
  • Cultural forms that exceed classification: the gothic, the grotesque, the monstrous, the absurd, the nonsensical.

Proposals for individual papers or panels should be submitted electronically by March 1, 2014. Proposals for individual papers should be no more than 500 words; panel proposals should include 500-word abstracts for each paper and a 250-word panel description. Applicants should submit a one-page cv.

For further information on the conference or to submit a proposal for a paper or a panel, please visit

Reminder: NAVSA 2014 Best Book of the Year Prize (1/31/2014)

NAVSA 2014 Best Book of the Year Prize
Deadline: January 31, 2014

The North American Victorian Studies Association is currently accepting submissions for our new annual prize for the best book of the year in Victorian studies. In addition to receiving complementary conference registration and up to $1000 for travel, the winner of the NAVSA Best Book of the Year will be honored with a special round table devoted to the book at the annual NAVSA conference. Note that the prize is contingent on the author’s attendance at the next NAVSA conference for the entire range of conference dates. Authors must appear in person at the book-prize roundtable or they are not eligible for the award. Next year’s conference will occur in London, Ontario on November 13 -16.  Books may be on any topic related to the study of Victorian Britain and/or its empire and must carry a 2013 copyright date.

The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2014. (That’s a receipt deadline, not a postmark deadline.) Please see the NAVSA website for more details: 

Feel free to contact Melissa Gregory if you have questions:

CFP: VSAO 2014 “Too Little, Too Late: Decadence and Incompleteness in the Victorian Era” (2/7/2014; 4/26/2014)

Victorian Studies Association of Ontario
Glendon College, York University, Toronto
April 26, 2014
Deadline: February 7, 2014

Plenary Speakers: Professors Stephen Arata (University of Virginia) and Barbara Leckie (Carleton University)

“Too Little, Too Late: Decadence and Incompleteness in the Victorian Era”
The VSAO executive invites proposals for three 20-minute papers to be presented at the Association's 47th annual conference at Glendon College, York University, Toronto, on April 26, 2014.  

We invite proposals to interpret the conference theme in broad and imaginative ways.  Papers might address:
  • belatedness 
  • inattention or indifference
  • embellishment, ornament, frills
  • unfinished, underdeveloped, or unfulfilled work
  • superfluity and superficiality
  • the un/de/dis-composed
  • decay, degeneration, and extinction
  • sketches, drafts, notes

Please send electronic copies of proposals (300-500 words) and a brief biographical statement to Alison Syme by February 7, 2014. 

For more information visit the website:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Registration Open: Devouring: Food, Drink and the Written Word, 1800-1945 (3/8/2014)

Registration Open
Devouring: Food, Drink and the Written Word, 1800-1945,
University of Warwick
March 8,  2014

This one day interdisciplinary conference brings together researchers with an interest in the culinary cultures of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to share perspectives on food, drink, consumption and literature. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries see Britain develop a fraught relationship with food: as a commodity, a luxury item, a source of poison or nutrition; in abundance or in scarcity. Many of our most familiar texts from the period are riddled with allusions to their own relationship with food and consumption: from the ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’ labels of Alice in Wonderland, to the seductive but toxic fruit of Rossetti’s Goblin Market.

“Devouring” provides a space to open up dialogue about narratives which explore eating, drinking, reading and their worth. With keynote addresses from Margaret Beetham (Salford) and Nicola Humble (Roehampton).

For more information on how to register, and the full programme, visit or 

Essay Prize: RSVP "The 2014 Rosemary VanArsdel Prize" (5/1/2014)

The 2014 Rosemary VanArsdel Prize
Research Society for Victorian Periodicals
Deadline: May 1, 2014

The VanArsdel Prize is awarded annually to the best graduate student essay investigating Victorian periodicals and newspapers. The prize was established in 1990 to honor Rosemary VanArsdel, a founding member of RSVP whose groundbreaking research continues to shape the field of nineteenth-century periodical studies.

Graduate students are invited to submit essays for the 2014 VanArsdel Prize for the best graduate student essay on, about, or extensively using Victorian periodicals. The winner will receive $300 and publication in Victorian Periodicals Review. Submissions should be 15-25 pages, excluding notes and bibliography. Manuscripts should not have appeared in print. Send e-mail submissions to VPR Editor Alexis Easley (maeasley @ by May 1, 2014. Submissions should be formatted as Word files in Chicago style with identifying information removed. In an accompanying e-mail, applicants should include a description of their current status in graduate school.

For more information please visit:

Reminder: Victorian Periodicals Review Special Issue "Digital Pedagogies" (7/1/2014)

Call for submissions for a special number of Victorian Periodicals Review: "Digital Pedagogies: Building Learning Communities for Studying Victorian Periodicals"
Deadline: July 1, 2014

Essays of 6,000-7,000 words are sought for a special number of Victorian Periodicals Review inspired by the range of research and good practice that has been developed in recent years by scholars of the nineteenth century periodical press.

Since Patrick Leary's seminal essay "Googling the Victorians", first published in 2005, significant advancements have been made in the field of periodical research, largely as a result of the rise in digital projects.  In almost ten years of scholarship, researchers have been examining and developing new digital methods for analysing and extrapolating data. Scholars have been considering not only the construction of digital resources but how they can be used in many different ways; to enhance research, to identify neglected texts, to inspire and engage students.  This special number of VPR gives us the opportunity to bring together these ideas and debates, to reflect on how the field of periodicals research has changed as a result of the digital revolution and to consider where it may be in the next ten years.

Possible topics might include:
  • The role of the digital archive in uniting disparate periodicals and newspapers
  • Building, constructing, maintaining digital projects on periodicals
  • Rise of the collaborative digital project
  • New methods for research and data analysis of circulation figures, distribution and 'popularity' of publications
  • Advances in the visualisation of data for identifying patterns of consumption
  • Contribution of genealogy studies  to identifying periodical authors
  • New software packages for the presentation of periodical research and analysis
  • Models of good practice in teaching and learning with periodicals and newspapers
  • Student publishing - selection, editing and curation of periodicals projects
  • Building learning communities for staff and students to enhance knowledge of the nineteenth century press
  • Debates about the emergence of an alternative 'digital' canon of periodicals and newspapers
  • Digital literacy/digital competency in accessing periodicals online 

Please submit completed manuscripts by July, 1 2014 (for publication in 2015) in Word (no PDFs please) to

In the meantime, informal queries or expressions of interest are welcome.