Proposals due: October 15, 2013
Dates: April 11-13, 2014
Location: Stony Brook University (New York)
The Northeast Victorian Studies Association calls for papers that treat the Victorians and the senses—sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
The committee invites papers from all disciplines on topics ranging from the representation of individual sense experience to the scientific, psychological, and philosophical study of the senses; from the sensory impact of mechanization, industry, and the urban city to the extrasensory world of the Victorian séance and spirit rapping. How were the senses categorized and conceptualized in the period? How did Victorian writers and artists understand and represent the sensations of living in their world? What role did capitalism or politics play in the transformation of the Victorian world of the senses—the rise of consumer culture or the publication of Chadwick’s 1842 Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population, for instance, or Victorian censorship? How did the ascendancy of empiricism shape the ways in which Victorian scientists and writers experienced and described the world? In what ways were the senses regarded as unreliable or inadequate for a full understanding of reality? How did the Aesthetic and Decadent movements define or exploit sensory experience? In what ways were sensory interactions with the world enhanced, complicated, or compromised by new communication and sensory technologies? How were sensory deficits—blindness, deafness—understood? What explains the cultural popularity of sensation fiction and public spectacle in Victorian culture?
Proposals (no more than 500 words) by Oct. 15, 2013 (email submissions only, in Word format): Erika Behrisch Elce, Chair, NVSA Program Committee: Erika.Behrisch.Elce@rmc.ca