“Form and Reform”

Abstract Deadline: December 15, 2016

Dates: July 27-29, 2017

Location: UC Santa Cruz, CA

CFP Link

A conference on nineteenth-century literature, art, and history to be held at UC Santa Cruz, preceding the Dickens Universe week on Middlemarch. Keynote speakers will be Caroline Arscott (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Ian Duncan (University of California, Berkeley).

Applicants to this conference are warmly invited – but are not required – to stay for the week on Middlemarch (see below).

All genres of Victorian literature addressed the major questions of social and political reform that characterized the period, as did many art and craft practices, genres of history writing or scholarship, and forms of popular culture. This conference will give participants an opportunity to think about the “form” of reform. Current debates about form and formalism in Victorian Studies open the door to this dimension of the word “reform,” and they urge us to re-consider their relation. The conference also invites historical papers on nineteenth-century reform movements. Ideally, such a broad topic should also suggest meta-critical questions about the period – and periodization: questions addressing the formal dimensions of conceiving our objects of study. If we can make the distinction between historicist criticism and formalist criticism, how can these engage and challenge each other afresh?

Submit a 500-word proposal and a 1-page CV to Carolyn Williams at carolyn.williams@rutgers.edu by December 15, 2016. The conference program will be announced in January, 2017. Please address inquiries to Carolyn Williams or to Rae Greiner (drgreine@indiana.edu), Tricia Lootens (tlootens@uga.edu), or Elsie Michie (enmich@lsu.edu).



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