“Victorian Accidents,” NVSA 2015

Deadline: October 15, 2014

Dates: April 10-12, 2015

Location: University of Rhode Island, Providence

CFP Link

The Northeast Victorian Studies Association calls for papers for its annual conference; the topic this year is Victorian Accidents. The committee encourages papers on any aspect of chance, disaster, contingency, and the unexpected, as well as reflections on how Victorians imagined the category of the accidental.

How did an era consumed with the creation of totalizing systems account for chance? How could accidents seem at once spectacular and routine, tragic and entirely expected? How did accidents register on the sensorium? How did the fear and titillation they aroused shape Victorian sensibilities? What does it mean to see the random as an agent of historical (or evolutionary) change? What efforts arose to fit accidents into patterns, to transcend the merely contingent?  What is the relationship between accident and crisis, between deviation from a normal course of events and predicted change over time?  How are accidents productive in literary terms, whether as plot twists, ironies or creative misreadings? How did Victorians try to mitigate the problem of accidents—through such varied means as social reform, insurance plans, and the elaboration of religious or philosophical systems that could make the accidental appear irrelevant? How did the Victorians confront the unintended consequences of technological change and geopolitical development?

Papers may focus on historical, literary, philosophical, financial or scientific accidents, and their impact on the construction of meaning throughout the Victorian era.

Proposals (no more than 500 words) by Oct. 15, 2014 (email submissions only, in Word format), should be sent to: Greg Vargo, Chair, NVSA Program Committee: greg.vargo@nyu.edu

Please note: all submissions to NVSA are evaluated anonymously. Successful proposals will stay within the 500-word limit and make a compelling case for the talk and its relation to the conference topic.

Please do not send complete papers, and do not include your name on the proposal.

Please include your name, institutional and email addresses, and proposal title in a cover letter.

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