Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: McGill Graduate Conference – Luxuries of the Literary Mind: Readings of Commodity & Privilege (1/14/11; 3/4-6/2011)

17th Annual McGill International Graduate Conference on Language and Literature

McGill University, Montreal
March 4 to 6, 2011

Focus: luxury, privilege, commodity, and consumption in literature, and other texts and cultural artifacts

We invite presentations from all periods and fields of literary study, as well as theatre, film, and cultural studies. Interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., with reference to history, philosophy, science, medicine, economics, art history, religious studies, and other fields) are welcome and encouraged. Potential topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Class and social standing.
  • Wealth and poverty, images of excess and need.
  • Human rights (sexual freedoms, disability rights, etc.) versus social privilege
  • The racialization of wealth and status.
  • The politics of pleasure.
  • Iconography, brands and branding, labels, commodity fetishism.
  • Consumer behavior and identity.
  • Binaries of public/private, high/low, male/female, and consumer/producer central to markets and marketing.
  • Literary depictions of shopping, markets, fairs.
  • Imperialism, colonialism, trade, and their effects (e.g., environmental degradation, exploitative labor).
  • Gift-giving, treasure, hoarding.
  • Gender, the body, cosmetic technologies and practices.
  • Camp, ostentation, glamor, performance and performativity.
  • Fashion and sartorial luxuries.
  • Spectacle in film and theater.
  • Cultural and aesthetic decadence.
  • Literature as a luxury (e.g., book-making expenses & practices, middle- & upper-class education as privilege).
  • How has literature shaped or complicated our sense of luxury and commodity?
  • How has literature responded to economic or financial fluctuations?
  • Gastronomy, epicureanism, connoisseurship, and urbanity.
  • Luxury goods and taxes.
  • Lifestyle porn (e.g., luxury travel, culture, or celebrity narratives).

We would be delighted to see Victorianists amply represented in our programme. To facilitate the blind-vetting process, please submit the following to mcgillconference2011@gmail.com in .doc, .docx, or .pdf form by Friday, January 14, 2011:

  • an anonymous 250-word abstract detailing your proposed paper.
  • a separate cover letter including a brief biographical paragraph.

Keynote Speaker Dr. George Toles has published extensively on art and ethics in 19th to 20th-century fiction, drama, and film. His book of film essays is titled A House Made of Light (Wayne State UP, 2001), and his screenwriting collaborations with Guy Maddin include My Winnipeg (2007), Brand Upon the Brain (2006), The Saddest Music in the World (2003), and the upcoming Keyhole, currently in production with Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier. Dr. Toles' presentation will complement what we hope will be a series of engaging and provocative conference panels.

Conference Organizer: Marc Ducusin

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