Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Approaching War: Childhood, Culture and the First World War, 1880-1919
An International Leverhulme Trust Project: Third International Conference

Approaching War: Europe, Newcastle University, 15-17 March, 2013

This is the third of three conferences aimed at producing a website and edited collections to provide teachers, academics, and the interested public with a rich and diverse resource of materials on childhood, children’s culture and children’s literature in the period 1890-1919.  The searchable website will consist of video recordings of the conference papers, backed up by summaries, images, links and bibliographies; the published volumes will contain expanded versions of the conference papers. More information on the larger project can be found here.

We are inviting proposals for papers on any aspect of childhood, children’s culture and children’s literature in this period, relating to the approach of war. Potential topics might include

•       Toys, Games and Ephemera
•       Children’s Literature before 1914 (especially poetry)
•       Children’s Poetry of the War
•       The Approach to War in Continental Europe
•       Materials Written by Children
•       The Treatment of Children and War in 20th and 21st Century Children’s Books

Proposals should be in the form of a detailed summary (no more than 500 words), including an indication of the (non-copyright) visual materials that you could provide for the website. In order to obtain maximum benefit from the conference, participants would be asked to produce, by 1 February 2013, an advanced draft paper, which would then be put on the website with access limited to other conference delegates. At the conference, speakers will be asked to give a 20-30 minute presentation, which will be digitally recorded for the website. After the conference, we will ask for completed papers to be sent to us by 30 April, 2013. The papers will then be peer-reviewed for inclusion in the published volumes or on the website.

The deadline for proposals is 1 September, 2012, and we will inform you of the outcome by 15 October 2012. Some bursaries for travel and accommodation will be available. Please send proposals to approachingwar@ncl.ac.uk

"Victorian Belief/Victorian Doubt": Midwest Victorian Studies Association (MVSA) 2013 Conference, 12-14 April 2013, Cleveland, Ohio

For our 2013 conference we invite presentations, panels, and entertainments from scholars of art, music, history, history of science, and literature on topics related to Victorian belief and doubt. These could include religions, superstitions, and convictions of all sorts, and their obverse: skepticisms, denials, and uncertainties. With its single, shared session format, MVSA offers a unique opportunity to present work to an undivided audience. Participants are also invited to submit essays for an edited volume of articles based on conference proceedings.

Sample topics might include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Religious controversies; conversion and de-conversion
  • Musical or artistic expressions of faith, belief and doubt
  • “The invisible hand,” political economy, and “faith in the market”
  • Ethics and morality
  • Death and the afterlife
  • Missions and missionaries
  • Secular faiths: agnosticism, Positivism, the “religion of Socialism”
  • Science as a system of belief; skepticism; the “unknowable”
  • Folk beliefs: medicine, superstitions, witchcraft, magic
  • Eclectic faiths: Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.
  • Social class and religion

We encourage submissions for sessions of varied formats; panels devoted to teaching the Victorians; and proposals relating to digital Victoriana. Proposals for 20-minute papers or longer panels should submit 500-word abstracts and vitae by 31 October 2012, to conferencesubmissions@midwestvictorian.org. More information about the conference can be found here.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Final 2011/2012 meeting of the Eighteenth Century and Romantic Studies forum

This is a reminder for all NENC members that the last regular meeting this academic session of the North East Forum in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies takes place this Friday June 29th, 3-5 pm in Space 4 of Newcastle University’s Culture Lab.  The session is co-hosted by the Forum and the Literature Speaker series at Newcastle.

In the first hour, Andrew Lacey (Newcastle) will give a paper entitled 'Percy Bysshe Shelley's Philosophy of Death, 1813-1821'

After the break, Jim Watt (York) will be talking about 'Cockney cosmopolitanism'

The Culture Lab appears as no. 7 on the campus map here. We hope to see many of you this Friday.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

"Take a couple of tranquilisers and have a look at what the kids have been reading": May reading report

In this session (held at Northumbria University) we addressed provocative questions about authorship, readership, audience, production and consumption, encouraged by Rebecca and Jon to think in new ways about the distortions and transformations of texts over time. Confronted with a graphically illustrated version of 'Goblin Market' in the glossy pages of a 1973 edition of Playboy, we discussed the surprising (or not so surprising?) meeting of Christina Rossetti and pornography. 

The discussion further turned on experiences of teaching poetry in schools, the relationship between sexual and religious imagery, and the original marketing of Goblin Market – especially the reasons for its initial adults-only and subsequent child-friendly status (something which allowed the Playboy editor to present the poem as ‘the all-time hard-core pornographic classic for tiny tots’! The provision of a sumptuous banquet of bananas, grapes and satsumas (which we somewhat guiltily feasted on) ensured that this was, of course, a fruitful meeting. 

Next we watched a clip from Jane Campion’s 2009 film Bright Star, in which Keats and Fanny recite Keats’s poem 'La Belle Dame sans Merci'. This provoked further debate about the inherent sexual meanings in poetry, and the limitations of an interpretive approach which seeks to root out innuendo or to read biographically. Further, we considered more widely the nature of representation, the cultural dissemination of literature, the popularisation of nineteenth-century culture in modern movies, and issues of historical accuracy in films. 

Further, both excerpts prompted an animated debate about the importance of context and paratext, whether we can speak about an original or authoritative text, and whether meaning inheres solely in the text. This was a particularly engaging session in that it brought together members from Durham, Northumbria and Newcastle, and poems from the Romantic and Victorian eras. The fabulous visual media presented made for an entertaining discussion, which was continued afterwards at the pub. 

-Harriet Briggs (Newcastle University)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Forms of Innovation: a One-Day Symposium on Literature and Technology
University of Durham, 14 September 2012

For this one-day symposium, we invite speakers to consider how varying forms of creative literary production and reception have responded to innovative technological processes across the centuries.
The symposium will provide a forum for postgraduate and early-career researchers to discuss correspondences and interrelations between literary forms and technologies, particularly those which have been treated as new, revolutionary, unconventional or challenging. Topics for debate might include, but are not limited to:
  • Thematic and metaphorical representations of new or anticipated kinds of technology in literature
  • Literary perspectives on methods of textual production, especially at significant points of technological transition, such as the invention of the mechanical printing press or the popularisation of the typewriter and rise of desktop word processing
  • The effect of changing methods of production and transmission on the way different sectors of society and areas of the world read, write and encounter literary texts, including problematics of accessibility, usability and preservation
  • Interactions between notions of ‘digital culture’ and ‘traditional’ forms of literature, such as electronic versions of classic works or the use of computing technology to facilitate experimental narrative devices
  • The growth of digital humanities and the impact of digital technology on current academic practices and changing approaches to the study of literature.
We hope to encourage consideration of a history of cause-and-response in the relationship between technological processes and literary forms, themes and formats. In particular, we aim to address the notion that contemporary ‘hot topics’ such as the growing popularity of ebooks and electronic reading devices, proliferation of online journals and databases for academic study and the near-ubiquity of the word processor as a means of preparing texts for publication, are simply the latest manifestations in a long history of co-dependence between literature and technology. We hope that the symposium will provide a historical perspective on contemporary issues by addressing the relationship between literature and technology from the medieval period onwards.
The format of the symposium will be a one-day event, with plenary lectures and sessions made up of three twenty-minute papers, with time factored in for questions and discussion.
If you are interested in presenting a paper at this event, please email a 250 word abstract, along with your name and affiliation, to the conference organisers at formsofinnovation@gmail.com by 20th July 2012.
More information can be found on the symposium website here
Loco/Motion: 34th Annual conference of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association

California State University, Fresno, California, 7-9 March, 2013

The long nineteenth century set the world on the move. Travel became increasingly important for business and pleasure, for war and peace. At the same time, new forms of moving people arose: the balloon, ships, undergrounds, funiculars, the railroads. Each carried riders to great distances, different locales, and novel pursuits. But motion wasn’t purely spatial; new movements arose as well, sweeping the inhabitants of the period into fresh vistas of thought and endeavor. We seek papers and panels that capture the sense of movement at work and at play during the long nineteenth century (1789-1914). Papers may address the intersections of movement/s, focus on technologies of motion in isolation, or reveal the desires—for gain, glory, greed—that set the world on its feet.
Some suggested topics:
  • Gold Rushes (Mineral Manias and Speculative Destinations)
  • Literature of the Sea
  • Maps and Cartography
  • The Science of Exploration (Darwin’s Voyages)
  • Narratives of Time Travel, Travel into Space (Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle)
  • The West as Destination and Concept
  • Celebrity Performance Tours
  • Movement of Goods and Ideas
  • Migration and Relocation
  • Expeditions
  • Concepts of Motion and Stasis
  • New Forms of Creative Motion and Locomotion (Moving Pictures, Photography, Dance, Music)
We also welcome other interpretations of the conference theme.
Please e-mail abstracts (250 words) for 20-minute papers that provide the author’s name and paper title in the heading, as well as a one-page cv, to Prof. Toni Wein by September 30, 2012. Presenters will be notified in November 2012. Graduate students whose proposals are accepted may, at that point, submit complete papers in competition for a travel grant to help cover transportation and lodging expenses.
More information can be found on the NCSA website here.

Romantic Conversations: The Human, Non-Human and Inhuman
Romantic Studies Association of Australia postgraduate symposium
University of Melbourne, 16-17 November 2012
 One of the characteristic features of British Romanticism is a pervasive belief in the transformative power of Nature. For the Wordsworth of The Prelude, this entailed a tempering of his youthful energies and animalistic passions so as to become a wiser, more mature man and poet. But many of Wordsworth’s precursors and contemporaries were concerned with more literal transformations. In the second half of the eighteenth century, Lord Monboddo pointed to uncanny similarities between humans and great apes and wondered about one transforming into the other. Ethicists began to question whether animals might possess rights to match those conferred on men and women by Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft. Social philosophers began to unpick the Enlightenment conception of the ‘state of nature’, while new ideas advanced by their counterparts in political economy (Malthus and Ricardo most prominently) were denounced as inhuman responses to social problems. Meanwhile, a number of dramatic scientific advances raised disturbing questions about humanity’s future; for Mary Shelley, amongst others, it became possible to imagine manufacturing humans (but would they be human?).
In this postgraduate symposium, we aim to explore the – at times – uncertain borders between humans and non-humans in Romantic literature and culture and, in particular, the occasions for conversations between the two. Key questions include: what does it mean to be human? What are our rights and responsibilities towards non-human animals? Is it possible to lose our humanity and transform into animals, or even monsters? And what roles, more broadly, did nature, reason, the imagination, and science play in this period’s conceptualisation of humanity?
We welcome papers on this theme (broadly defined). Possible topics include:
  • Animal rights/human rights
  • Contemporary philosophical, political and social debates
  • Humans and monsters
  • Metamorphosis and hybridity
  • Human/animal hierarchies (eg the Great Chain of Being)
  • Romantic science and animals (evolutionary theory, comparative anatomy, taxonomy, collecting etc)
  • New technologies and economies
  • The State of Nature, savagery and Romantic colonialism
  • War and barbarity
  • Civilisation/non-civilisation
  • Romantic ecology and eco-criticism
Please direct inquiries and send paper proposals to Elias Greig by 19 October 2012.
Conference Fee: $85
Three travel scholarships, provided by the RSAA, are available to defray expenses. These include:
Two scholarships, worth $500, to be awarded to students from interstate.
One scholarship, worth $750, to be awarded to a student from outside Australia.
Interest in any of these scholarships may be included in the abstract, or emailed separately to the same address.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Conference report BARS 2012: Romantic Connections

The 1st of June saw Newcastle University host the Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference for BARS, entitled ‘Romantic Connections: Networks of Influence, c.1760-1835’, organised by Helen Stark (Newcastle University), Matthew Sangster (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Matthew Ward (University of Edinburgh). This day conference was well attended, and consisted of many interesting panels and sessions. Professor John Mee gave the keynote paper, entitled ‘“If any thing can be called a man’s property it is the produce of his mind”: The Literary Fund and Claims of Literature (1802)’, in which Professor Mee discussed The Literary Fund alongside contemporary popular writers and groups such as the Della Cruscans.
Another notable moment in the day was the fascinating roundtable discussion. This comprised of a talk from Professor Gary Kelly on funding projects, a lively and engaging report from Professor Matthew Grenby on his current editing and research project on the letters of William Godwin, an exciting introduction to the research resources at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, and a valuable insight into academic collaboration and new media from Dr Kerri Andrews of Strathclyde University.
Alongside these stand-out sessions, the conference brought together many unique and fascinating papers in a series of well-designed and lively panels. Of particular interest was the morning panel, ‘The Coleridge Connection’, chaired by Jennifer Orr. Philip Ahearne gave his debut conference paper on Coleridge as instructor in his paper, ‘Coleridge: The Teacher and the Talker’, which was followed by Newcastle University’s Beatrice Turner and Joanna Taylor, giving their papers, ‘A Bare and Solitary Branch: Hartley Coleridge Re-writes his Family Tree’, and ‘The Transition of Debt between Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’, respectively. In this Coleridge panel, all three papers complemented each other beautifully; Philip Ahearne’s paper succinctly arguing for Coleridge as instructor, before Beatrice Turner gave an intriguing and satisfying examination of the problematic relationship between Coleridge and his son Hartley, followed finally by Joanna Taylor, who analysed another of Byron’s relationships, that between himself and his protégé, Shelley. One would expect a lively and engaging discussion to follow, and in this regard the panel did not disappoint, offering a fascinating question and answer session following the papers.
In the afternoon, Matthew Grenby chaired the four-paper panel, ‘Politics and the Personal’. Cato Marks presented his excellent paper ‘My Life has for Several Years Been a Theatre of Calamity: Caleb Williams and the Theatrum Mundi Trope’. Dr Marks’ paper was the beginning of a very engaging panel, followed by ‘Alison Morgan’s ‘Starving Mothers and Murdered Children in Cultural Representations of Peterloo’, Sophie Coloumbeau’s ‘Ne suis-je pas son mari? Frances Burney, Charlotte Smith and Cross-Channel Conjugality’, and finally Jessica Evans’ ‘The Monstrous Body Politic: Medical Language and Political Reform in the Romantic Press’. As with the morning sessions, all four papers complemented each other extremely well. As a consequence, the speakers, the attentive audience, and conference organisers for putting together such well-constructed panels must all be congratulated.
Indeed, as a whole, ‘Romantic Connections’ was a remarkably well-organised and welcoming conference. On minor notes, there were ample networking opportunities for delegates between panels and throughout lunch. For a conference on ‘connections’, the overall mood of the day was of warm congeniality and collaboration. The end of the conference was followed by a meal at local restaurant Marco Polo’s and drinks afterwards, continuing the theme of collaboration and discussion in an atmosphere of sociability and stimulation.

- Dr. Christopher Machell (independent researcher)

Friday, 15 June 2012

NENC 2012 symposium: 'Moving Towards Science in the Long Nineteenth Century'

We are delighted to announce that NENC will host a one-day postgraduate symposium on Wednesday 12 September 2012, entitled 'Moving Towards Science in the Long Nineteenth Century'.

The theme of the symposium reflects two parallel ‘moves’ towards science. First, it references the rise of the ‘natural sciences’, the scientific method, and the professional scientist across the long nineteenth century. Second, it recognises moves in contemporary arts and humanities scholarship towards a more nuanced disciplinary relationship with the sciences and the possibility of ‘one culture’. Adopting an exploratory methodology, the day will allow postgraduate delegates to think widely about how literary culture of the period approached, adapted, and rejected emergent scientific, technological, and medical discourses and methods. More broadly, we will consider how and why literature and science might move together in the contemporary academy.

Our guest speakers for this event are Professor Jennifer Richards and Dr Anne Whitehead (Newcastle University), Professor David Knight (Durham University), and Dr Peter Garratt (Northumbria University). Ranging across the early modern period to the end of the long nineteenth century in their areas of specialisation, our guest speakers will consider in particular how they have approached or made use of scientific discourses in their own research. This will make, we believe, for a fruitful and unique discussion about the challenges and opportunities of a turn towards scientific discourses.

The symposium is made possible by a grant from the British Society for Literature and Science, as well as the generous support of the three host universities, for which we are extremely grateful. In particular, we're pleased to be able to offer an number of travel bursaries to presenters. This will allow postgraduates from beyond the North East region to attend and to foster relationships with institutions further afield.

The full call for papers is out now, and can found under the 'NENC 2012 Symposium' page on this website, where all updates will be posted; the deadline for abstracts is 30 July 2012. This promises to be a fantastic event and we hope to see many of you there.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Reminder: 'Reading between the Lines' workshop

A reminder that 'Reading between the Lines: Eighteenth-Century Journals and Romantic Letters, 1740-1830', a day workshop hosted by the North East Forum in 18th century and Romantic Studies, will take place on 23 June 2012, at St Chad's College, Durham.

Journals and letters are the most intimate of all forms of literature. They tell us that history was once real life. This one-day workshop explores the journals and letters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These documents were sometimes hidden from contemporaries and speak directly to us today. We shall consider the rich variety of journals and letters in the period, and how they may be used in modern academic research.

Our keynote speaker is the historian of feminism Jane Rendall. She will discuss the correspondence of three Edinburgh authors, Elizabeth Hamilton, Eliza Fletcher, and Anne Grant. Panellists include Pamela Clemit (on Godwin), Amy Culley (on Helen Maria Williams), Leigh Wetherall Dickson (on men's diaries), Gillian Skinner (on Fanny Burney), Richard Terry (on Sterne), and Penelope Wilson (on Elizabeth Bond).

The full programme and registration details can be found here. For queries, please contact the organisers: Pamela Clemit and Gillian Skinner. This promises to be a wonderful event and especially useful to anyone working with letters and journals from across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as part of their research. We hope to see some of you there.

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Victorian Review Hamilton Prize

Victorian Review invites applications for the Hamilton Prize for the best graduate student paper submitted to the journal in a given year. The annual award honours the effort and achievements of Susan Hamilton, editor of Victorian Review from 2000 to 2006.

Papers should be 20-25 pages in length and should not have been previously published. The winner must have been registered as a graduate student in the six months preceding the competition deadline. Winners will receive an award of $250 CAN and publication of the winning essay in Victorian Review. The deadline for submissions for the competition will be 30 June 2012.

The winning essay will be selected according to three criteria: contribution to Victorian studies; quality and originality; and style and clarity. The award will be judged by the editorial team of the journal in consultation with Advisory Board members.

Please send entries to:

ATTN: Mary Elizabeth Leighton
Submissions Editor

Nineteenth-Century Philanthropy: Poverty, Giving, and the Culture of Altruism

Given the pervasive nature of private philanthropy during the long nineteenth century, its influence on the basic institutions of society was inescapable. In the uneven march toward the modern welfare state, fluctuating government policy dictated the scope of the public sector and the space for private volunteerism, and philanthropists became increasingly effective at shaping policy debates. With the growth of charitable organizations came the development of presumably scientific and disinterested methods of coordinating and systematizing relief, often in order to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor. Examining the discourse involved in these methods illuminates the complex motives behind charity work and the ways in which nineteenth-century philanthropy worked hand-in-hand with the other institutions of its day.

Literature of the period both reflected these issues and sought to influence debates over the nature and function of philanthropy. While some social reform writers adopted philanthropy as the figure for their own artistic endeavors, others militated against its rising influence—Carlyle characterized the new phenomenon of “philanthropology” as a “sugary, disastrous jargon.” Many writers, understanding its polarizing energy, made it a central theme of their works.
We propose a collection of essays addressing the function of philanthropy in British and American writing of the long nineteenth century. Essays should explore the multi-faceted nature of philanthropic discourse and try to account for its prominent and dynamic role in the literature of the period. Possible topics include:

  • Philanthropy as social classification: modes of discrimination, the “deserving poor,” detecting pauperism
  • the science of charity: ethics, altruism, philanthropy in evolutionary thought, moral and social psychology - Darwin, Spencer, Bain etc
  • The economics of philanthropy: business models, paving the way for the welfare state, criminal philanthropists
  • Lady Bountiful: women’s contributions to charity work and philanthropic constructions of gender
  • Imperial philanthropy: transnational exchange, colonial subjects as philanthropists, negotiating competing ideologies of race and nation, abolitionist discourses
  • The “Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists”: self-help societies, the poor as philanthropists, reverse philanthropy
  • Educational philanthropy: ragged schools, Sunday schools, working men’s institutions
  • Competing ideologies of philanthropy: political economy, religion, socialism, utopianism
  • Philanthropic fiction: authorship as philanthropy, depictions of charity in mass media, philanthropic print culture, satirical portraits

Please send a 500-word proposal and 1-page vita by 10 August 2012 to:
Associate Professor of English
Brigham Young University

Leslee Thorne-Murphy
Associate Professor of English
Brigham Young University
Essay drafts (7-10,000 words) will be due by 1 August 2013.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Summer Speaker Series

A reminder to all NENC members that this Friday 8 June the first of the Summer Speaker Series will take place at 4.00pm at Newcastle University, in Seminar Room 1 on the first floor of the Percy Building.

In the first half of the session, Harriet Briggs (Newcastle) will give a paper entitled 'Playthings and Puritans: Pleasure and Coercion in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Walter Scott's Kenilworth'. In the second half Nicole Bush (Northumbria) will give a paper entitled ''Given up to Kalleidoscopism': Shifting the Vision of the Kaleidoscope in the Nineteenth Century'. There will be time for questions and discussion afterwards.

Opportunities to present work to peers in a supportive environment are valuable for postgraduates and we hope many of you are able to attend.

Details of the July and August sessions will be circulated closer to the time; the full schedule of sessions can be found on the Speaker Series page
. We look forward to seeing you on the 8th of June.