Between Science and Sensation:
Psychic Networks in the Mid-Victorian Period
NAVSA 2012 panel
We invite paper proposals on a variety of topics related to the theme of psychic connections between 1835-1875 for a special topic panel at NAVSA 2012 (at the University of Wisconsin). For this panel we are interpreting the term "psychic" broadly to include all forms of spiritual communications and connections—including mesmerism/hypnotism, prognostication, telepathy, etc. In particular, we welcome perspectives that examine the intersections between psychic networks and science. For example, potential papers could explore how scientific theories attempted to explain and contain psychic phenomena, or how the tension between science and the supernatural becomes sensationalized in popular narratives. The other proposed papers for the panel include a reading which examines Darwinian science and psychic inheritance in Wilkie Collins's Armadale and an examination of hypnotic poisoning in Charles Warren Adams's The Notting Hill Mystery.
Paper topics for this panel could address but are not limited to:
- Scientific attempts to "prove" the existence of the supernatural (such as ghosts, fairies, etc.)
- Spirit photography
- Natural Theology or other attempts to unite evolutionary theory with a spiritual belief system
- Deja vu
- British interest in non-Western religions
- Intersections between Christianity and science
- Literary affect
- Literature as science writing
- Modes of belief
- Studies of fear
Please send 500 word abstracts and a one-page CV in pdf format to firstname.lastname@example.org by 27 February. Final acceptance contingent upon NAVSA approval.