Calls for Papers from prospective BAVS participants seeking other speakers for a panel or roundtable are listed below.
If you’d like to post your own panel or rountable CFP here, please use this form to submit your idea. Posting a CFP doesn’t guarantee acceptance to the conference; complete proposals should be submitted for vetting by the BAVS2020 committee by 17 March 2020 (please note that we have extended the original deadline so as not to conflict with the UCU’s Industrial Action). And if you’re looking for the main CFP, it can be found here.
1. Victorian Studies in the Twenty-First Century
Organiser: Dr Zoe Hope Bulaitis
In the preface to Our Victorian Education, Dinah Birch suggests “entering the twenty-first century has made the Victorians seem further back in history. But we still live in their light, and in their shadow”.
20 years into the twenty-first century, this panel will take stock of how nineteenth-century literature, cultural values, governance structures, and ways of thinking are connected to, reflected by, or forgotten in the twenty-first century. Papers may respond to the ‘light’ that the nineteenth-century thinking offers in guiding the way through troubled times, or indeed the ‘shadows’ that loom large over our political and social landscapes.
The precise ‘subject’ scope for this panel is intentionally omitted, to attract researchers (current PhDs and Professors alike!) who are working through methodological topics and exploring historical intersections. Papers addressing historical legacies and influences of Victorian debates (educational, social, medical, geographical, political or otherwise), theorisations of the past in relation to the present (historicism, neo-Victorian, re-imaginings), and challenges to periodicity (multi-period, time travellers, thematic or alternative approaches) are encouraged. Other ways of thinking through ‘Victorian Studies in the Twenty-First Century’ are equally welcomed.
If you are interested in taking part in this panel, please email a brief abstract (around 200 words) and a biography (50ish words) to Dr Zoe Hope Bulaitis (University of Manchester) at email@example.com before the 1st February 2020. Please also indicate three keywords for your talk.
All submitted abstracts will be notified of selection by the 14th February 2020 to allow for individual paper resubmission opportunities.
2. Victorian Childhood and Bodies/Disease/Death/Afterlife
Organisers: Dr Jen Baker and Amira Krista
Amira will be looking at childhood health and congenital disease on the body, and I will be looking at the child body from dying, to death, to afterlife in a few non-fiction and fiction sources. Anything along those lines will be welcome – in any discipline (art history, archaeology, literary studies etc). Please get in touch by January 20, 2020 with a brief bio and ideas for a topic!
3. Love, Intimacy & Victorian Poetry
Organiser: Pearl Chaozon Bauer
By thinking about love and intimacy through poetic form, this roundtable draws attention to how Victorian poetry recuperates the plurality of intimacy and embraces the experience of intimate relationships: not just sexual or erotic love, but friendship, divine love, marriage, and family love, among others. Some questions that our position papers might address: How is intimacy represented, or created, by the forms, rhythms, and genres of Victorian poetry? How do forms of poetry enable poets to offer alternative forms of intimacy, eroticism, or marital union? What resources does poetry offer for expressing forms of love that fall outside the traditional marriage plot of the Victorian novel? How did Victorian poetry conceptualize intimacy in ways distinct from other genres, departing from models of conformity, normativity and/or compromise? How did love poetry circulate in the Victorian era? How does it relate to other forms of Victorian art and culture?
Please submit abstracts of 250-words for a 5-7 minute position paper, and a brief 1-2 page cv to Pearl Chaozon Bauer: firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than February 1st.
4. The Victorian Nonhuman: Animal Studies, Ecocriticism and Beyond
Organiser: Dr. Pandora Syperek
In Victorian studies over the past couple of decades, a division has formed between animal studies and ecocriticism, which loosely follows a contemporary political divide between animal rights activism and environmentalism. Although these two camps often draw on the same body of scholarship and theory, they largely remain two separate, if overlapping, fields.
This panel is dedicated to this overlap, inviting proposals which both go beyond the biocentrism of animal studies and circumnavigate the metanarratives which have often informed ecocriticism. As such, it aims to offer new perspectives on the Victorian Anthropocene. While the focus on the nonhuman in both animal studies and ecocriticism has too often been interpreted as foreclosing questions of human subjectivity, this panel seeks to overturn this myth, by featuring papers which foreground the urgent social and political questions surrounding relationships between human and nonhuman agencies, for example engaging in feminist, queer, trans, postcolonial and crip theory.
Contributions which explore the Victorian nonhuman outside of literature – which has tended to dominate investigations into animals and ecology in the nineteenth century – such as in visual and material culture, are especially welcome. Please send abstracts of 200 words to email@example.com by the 1 February.
5. Pre-Raphaelite Futures
Organiser: Melissa Gustin
The past twenty years in Britain, America, and Europe have seen exhibitions, books, and symposia on various members and subsections of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, spreading from the original Brotherhood to wider spheres of influence through artists, makers, musicians, writers, models, critics, and audiences. These have spanned the scholarly and critical to the pop cultural, from the single-artist monograph to the show we hate to love, Desperate Romantics. In honour of BAVS’ 20th anniversary, and keen to demonstrate the dynamism of nineteenth-century art history, we invite papers that look forward to the next twenty years of Victorian art and Pre-Raphaelite studies–terms that are often read interchangeably outside specialist circles. This is a wide-ranging call for papers that explore, expand, and critique the field through new theoretical, interdisciplinary approaches, reinsertions of artists into the networks, and bold, even playful re-readings of canonical works. Depending on interest, several panels may be proposed.
We therefore invite abstracts which address any of the conference’s proposed themes through the lens of Pre-Raphaelitism and Victorian art, related historical figures, or works of art and literature, by 9 March. We are especially interested in (but not limited to):
Queer-Raphaelites: queer historicity, historicism, futurity
Pre-Raphaelite Women: Between Women, beyond gender, the female gaze
Things/Stuff: thing theory, material culture, craft, decorative arts
Cool Pre-Raphaelites: rock stars, supermodels, and pop culture
Medieval/Modern: medievalisms, magic, music, menace
Firing the Canon: close readings, remixes/remediations, and the Big Pictures
Twitter queries to @Hosmeriana, @MarteStinis, and @HelenVMurray, or email to Melissa Gustin.
6. The Power of Print
Organiser: Mila Daskalova
The focus of this panel will be the relationship between print and power. One of the main characteristics of the Victorian period was the unprecedented proliferation of printed matter. As a result of technological and socioeconomic changes, more people could and were reading than ever before in British history. The increased access to print nurtured an association of the press with freedom – freedom of information, as well as freedom of expression. These freedoms were far from perfect, however. Publication remained subject to negotiation. It was a result of struggles between unequal agents, as much as a product of collaborations and co-operations. This panel will explore how power manifested itself through print, as well as how it was construed by it.
Below is a list of suggested topics (which is far from exhaustive):
• The influence of print, be it political, social, cultural, etc.
• Censorship and freedom of the press
• Literary and cultural representations of the power of the press
• Empowerment and/or repression of marginalised voices through the press
• The power dynamics in the printing office
Please submit your abstracts (250 words) and a brief biography (up to 50 words) to Mila Daskalova (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 14 February.
7. Literature of the Socialist Revival (1880-1905): A Reconsideration
Organiser: Wanne Mendonck
We have room for one more person on this proposed panel – if interested in joining please send a short abstract (250 words max) for a 15-min paper and a few lines of bio to Wanne Mendonck at email@example.com, preferably asap, but by February 18 at the latest. I’ll get back to you soon after, so that if there would be any papers left out these can still be resubmitted for individual entry by March 1.
For late-Victorian radicals, any strict division between life, reading, writing, and politics was out of the question. This panel will investigate the effect this conjunction had on the texture of literary language in a milieu which included William Morris, Margaret Harkness, Clementina Black, Edward Carpenter, Olive Schreiner, Walter Crane, Robert Blatchford and many more. While there have been major studies on the socialist revival, it has remained a marginal field within Victorian studies despite periodical peaks of interest, a situation which sparks interesting methodological questions: is there a specific difficulty for literary criticism in texts which are transparently and pragmatically political? The 20th anniversary of BAVS seems a good occasion to address such questions, reflect on the state of the field of socialist revival literature and its significance for Victorian Studies, and endeavour to open it up, both in terms of the names associated with it, and in terms of widening our knowledge of the literary dynamics involved.
Topics/questions could include (all within the historical context specified):
– Of special interest: creative reception of earlier literary/ cultural or historical heritages in socialist revival literature
Other possible topics:
– Forgotten late-Victorian activist writers
– The relation between text and image in activism
– The socialist novel
–Writing gender in late-Victorian radical literature
– Spirituality and the ‘Religion of Socialism’
– Literature and praxis: living the ‘New Life’
– Performance and community building
– Literature as propaganda (and its difficulties for criticism)
– The collective vs. the individual in text
– Late-Victorian radical periodicals (‘Justice’, ‘To-Day’, ‘Clarion’, etc.), both from textual critical and literary analytic perspectives
– Socialist poetry, its form and tone
– The art of the political essay
– The colonial situation in radical writing, or postcolonial takes on late nineteenth-century radical writing
– Literature and economics in fin-de-siècle radical writing
– Anarchist literature and its contextual specificity
– Nature, the natural, the organic and socialist revival literature
– Theory: is (has) Marxist criticism (been) satisfactorily equipped to deal with Socialist Revival Literature? Is any other kind of criticism?
– Influence and Reception: on modernism, on political history.
8. Victorian Mobilities
Organiser: Trish Bredar
During the nineteenth century, widespread shifts in transportation technologies changed how people accessed, experienced, and represented physical movement. This panel seeks to draw attention to mobility as a key facet of Victorian culture. Mobility is a capacious concept that incorporates phenomena such as “travel” and “migration,” but which also considers the pace, routes, and rhythms of more localized and everyday movements. Approaching Victorian culture from the perspective of mobility invites us to consider the intersections between the body, the social production of space, and the politics of physical movement. Potential topics might include, but are by no means limited to, the effects of new transportation technologies (the railway, the tube, the bicycle); contrasts and continuities between urban and rural mobilities; street harassment and other mobility-related violence; mobility and disability; and, more broadly, the ways in which particular identity markers such as age, race, and gender shape practices of movement. This panel also welcomes proposals which consider how digital tools, interdisciplinary methods, or other innovative approaches might help us understand Victorian mobilities.
Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief bio (approx. 50 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, February 17.
9. Early Visions of the Anthropocene
Organiser: Prof. Alan Rauch
The roles played by W. H. Hudson and Richard Jefferies (and others) in articulating the need for “green” awareness in the anthropocene deserved greater notice in literary, social, & political discourse. This roundtable seeks to unite scholars interested in the rethinking of Victorian awareness of environmental decline and revival. Send abstracts and suggestions for participation by February 25th to email@example.com.
10. Walter Pater and Nature
Organiser: Thomas Hughes
This panel will proceed from the proposition that concepts of ‘nature’ subtend, shape, animate, and even subvert Walter Pater’s conceptualisation of human nature. The panel seeks to explore the different ways Pater introduces ideas of nature into his descriptions of art, literature, religion, history, and modernity, to begin to arrive at a clearer picture of this widely acknowledged yet understudied aspect of Pater’s writings. The action of the forces which drive our physical and mental processes ‘extends beyond us’, says Pater, ‘it rusts iron and ripens corn’ (‘Conclusion’). If individuality is an abstraction from these forces, what does it mean that sensation and consciousness are but designs in a web, emerging from, and destined to unravel into threads which continue far beyond human perception?
In many ways Pater foregrounds the human being as the ultimate, nearly transcendental artefact of nature, but he also suggests that under modernity the human is revealed to be subject to the physical forces of the world. How does culture for Pater aestheticise these perspectives on human beings as apart from—and a part of—nature? If culture is conventionally the masculine figure, is nature the feminine ground in Pater’s view? How is nature woven into Pater’s evocations of the ebb and flow, the change and continuity, of culture? Nature is called upon by Pater to figure vitality and renewal, the burgeoning of grapes on the vine and the springing of violets from the grave. But nature in Pater also moulds, degenerates, burns, freezes, crystallises, buries, disinters. What are the temporalities of nature for Pater, and how do they relate to temporalities of human history, of modernity, or even of the human lifespan, ‘this short day of frost and sun’? How are pleasure and pain dispersed among the Paterian encounters with nature? How are cruelty and community imagined in terms of the natural? How do mythologies and technologies mediate nature and the human for Pater? How do artistic forms, such as landscape or lyric, perform this task? What does Pater’s nature look like, what are its shapes and colours?
Pater has been understood as beginning to sever art from nature and therefore as describing processes culminating in modernism (Wolfgang Iser, Anthony Ward, Kenneth Clark). There is a lot of truth in this, but is it the whole story? However ironically, Pater consistently roots art and imagination in nature, in the Veneto, on the French riverside, in the fields of Surrey and Kent. In what ways does nature remain a crucial part of the content of art, for Pater? How does naturalistic art contain and convey human meaning, for Pater, and not just human meaning, but modern meaning? What ideas of nature, nineteenth-century or otherwise, inform Pater’s conceptualisation of classicism? For Pater, is the beautiful body, with its blossom and bloom, a work of nature or a work of art? Which writers and artists does Pater call upon, explicitly or otherwise, to think through the relations between nature and human beings? How did artists visualise Pater’s human-nature network?
The panel will be framed in such a way as to speak to contemporary ecological theory but papers need not address this theory explicitly or at all. Proposals for 20-minute papers on these and related questions are warmly invited from any disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective. Proposals from both ECRs and established scholars are most welcome. Please send a title, an abstract of 250 or so words and a short CV by March 13th to Thomas Hughes (Thomas.Hughes@courtauld.ac.uk).