“The Long, Wide Nineteenth Century”

Deadline: December 1, 2014

Dates: July 31-August 2, 2015

Location: UC Santa Cruz

CFP Link

Recent critiques of the idea of the “Victorian” have included attention to both space and time, challenging both the temporal imperatives that follow, perhaps fetishistically, the contours of Victoria’s reign, and the geographical isolation of a culture (or set of cultures) in which people went to war or opted for diplomacy; traded (or refused to trade) objects and ideas; translated and plagiarized the works of other cultures; embarked on journeys to discover rivers, love, self, or God; produced and abandoned formal and informal empires.

Eschewing (at least in its title) the baggage of terms such as “global,”  “transnational,” and “cosmopolitan,”   “The Long, Wide Nineteenth Century” will address some of the temporal and spatial complexities of the period that is typically bounded by the French Revolution and the First World War. Taking England as its point of departure or, perhaps even, its point of eventual arrival, this conference will look at the way that country’s relation with other cultures helped shape and change its identity. We welcome papers on any scale, from those that focus on a single moment across cultures to those that take up the long durée of the period in question. We are also interested in how shifting from long to wide views of the nineteenth century may make visible other smaller models of periodization, such as decades or even years that are often subsumed under the temporality or
ideological sweep of the terms “Victorian,” “Romantic” or “fin-de-siecle.” We are also interested in how time and space interact, and in how particular places “abroad” assume urgency at particular moments in British history. Of course, we are also eager to hear papers on terminology itself, and to think critically through the language that has so far shaped our
efforts to transport the Victorian to other times and places.

We invite proposals for individual papers and panels.  And welcome, in particular,  proposals for presentations that utilize non-conventional and experimental forms, such as roundtables, Pecha Kucha slideshows, workshops, and any other forms that encourage collaboration and interaction.  Proposals and a one-page c.v. should be submitted to Helena Michie (michie@rice.edu) or Ryan Fong (ryan.fong@kzoo.edu) by December 1, 2014. Proposals for individual presentations should be no more than 500 words; panel proposals should include 500-word abstracts for each individual contribution and a
250-word panel description. Please also identify five keywords that your paper or panel will address.

Participants in The Long Wide Nineteenth Century are also cordially invited to spend all or part of the week following the conference in the redwoods of central California at the annual gathering of the Dickens Universe, an international research group devoted to the study of the novels of Charles Dickens and Victorian literature and culture.


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