Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Columbia Graduate Conference – The Politics of Form (2/6/2011; 4/22/2011)

The Politics of Form: 2011 Graduate Student Conference
Columbia University Nineteenth-Century Colloquium
Friday, April 22th, 2011

Keynote Speaker: Caroline Levine

In recent years, Victorian studies have seen a resurgence of interest in literary form and formalist criticism. However, these renewed formal interests do not represent a simple swing of the critical pendulum. Rather than retreating from historicism, current critical models seek to amend and complicate New Historicist practices by combining them with examinations of genre, aesthetics, and other formal concerns. Recent work along these lines has been characterized by an attentiveness to form in the service of historically specific claims and an interest in the historical specificity of nineteenth-century literary forms and their cultural meaning. Correspondingly, the conscious significance of literary form and genre to the Victorians themselves is a topic ripe for further examination.
This conference seeks to explore what is particularly at stake for Victorian literary studies in this turn towards form. In particular, we encourage papers on the integration of formalist and historicist praxis, but we also welcome papers exploring the future of either field. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Nineteenth-century literary criticism
  • Aesthetics and aestheticism
  • Social custom, conventions, and etiquette
  • Form and the marriage plot
  • Reading practices
  • Economic and political systems as “forms”
  • Ekphrasis
  • Fetishism
  • Genre theory, theory of the novel
  • Historical fiction
  • Formalism and feminism
  • Queer studies after Foucault
  • Historicism today, formalism today, New Formalism
  • Symptomatic and surface reading; close vs. distant reading
  • Book theory
  • Digitization and Victorian archives
  • Quantitative literary criticism (statistics, graphs, diagrams, charts, etc.)
  • E-texts and reading practices

Abstracts of 300 words should be sent to Anna Clark via email at aec2137@columbia.edu by February 6th. Please bear in mind that final papers should take between 15 and 20 minutes (maximum) to deliver. Proposals for panels (comprising three speakers) are welcome please submit the title and a brief description of the panel as well as abstracts for the individual papers.

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