Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Transporting Bodies and Minds: 18th- and 19th-Century Travel (5/1/2012; 9/15/2012)

Throughout  the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, travelers of all kinds  documented their experiences in private letters and diaries, official  correspondence, life writing, spiritual and religious narratives, and  ethnographic accounts. Furthermore, these experiences were often  transformed into works of art, with real and imagined moments of contact  serving as the inspiration for painting, music, poetry, prose fiction,  photography, and other creative ventures. These aesthetic productions transformed the foreign into the national, the known into the unknown,  appearing to expand access to other cultures—a model of cultural  transportation that recent criticism is troubling.

Scholarship  drawing on theories of post-colonialism, gender, material and visual  culture, cognitive studies, posthumanism, and other critical paradigms  has challenged our understanding of the impact—not just aesthetic, but  also commercial, martial, and religious—of travel in the eighteenth and  nineteenth centuries. This work has made strides in elucidating a more  dynamic picture of the way travel and cultural encounter could transform  (or fail to transform) prior understandings of both time and space.  Moreover, it has allowed for a more capacious appreciation of how  influence happens, extending beyond more uni-directional, Eurocentric  approaches.

Continuing  this work, the University of Michigan’s Eighteenth-Century Studies  Group and Nineteenth-Century Forum will co-host an interdisciplinary  graduate student conference on these topics, to take place in Ann Arbor  on September 15, 2012. We are pleased to announce that Kate Flint,  Provost Professor of English and Art History (University of Southern  California), will be our keynote speaker.

Graduate  students are encouraged to submit papers that explore the implications  of travel, tourism, boundary crossing, exploration, and other related  topicsfrom a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. Submissions of  either individual papers or full panels are welcome. Please send  abstracts of no more than 300 words to Karen McConnell  (mcconnka@umich.edu) by May 1, 2012.

Suggested paper topics include (but are not limited to):

  • mass tourism
  • emigration/immigration
  • travel and commercial enterprise
  • travel and photography
  • documenting travel/travel as documentation
  • Roma, Sinti, and other itinerant communities
  • time-travel
  • smuggling
  • travel and war
  • imaginative or mental journeys
  • travel and empire
  • exploration, conquest, contact
  • depictions in the visual arts (e.g., the natural world, native/foreign peoples, aesthetic judgment)
  • travel’s effect on genre
  • contagion/infection
  • consequences for epistemology (e.g., scientific, spiritual, ethnographic) 

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