Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: VLU "The Victorian Household" (5/16/2014; 11/26-29/2014)

Victorians Like Us (VLU)

University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES)
November 26-29, 2014
Deadline: May 16, 2014

“The Victorian Household: Power, Policies, and Practices”
The Victorian household has been celebrated as a unique platform for the assertion of the British middle class and its values, as well as of both private and public politics. Within its sphere, gender, class, economic and political issues intersected as the household provided the background for social practices ranging from the kitchen to the parlor, from the street to the Houses of Parliament. Furthermore, those practices encouraged reading, intersected in various ways with the British Empire and all in all formed the backbone of Victorian culture.

The most recent approaches to the various themes encompassed by the Victorian Era – which may even include the challenge to the concept itself and its traditional time frame – have underlined a trend that points towards a current rereading and a contemporary appropriation of the very dynamic output of that period. Often controversial, but always productive, these approaches stress the interdisciplinary potential for interpretation of the characteristics of the age and often underline the strands of radical thought which encouraged aspirations for upward social mobility. Thoughts on “betterment” or “self-help” were expressed not only in politics, religion, literature and philosophy, but also in innovative esthetics and were accompanied by the action of new unheard voices, in this period of deep cultural change. These approaches also stress the belief that 21st century attitudes are more indebted to Victorian efforts and achievements, not least its concern about human nature and Humanity, than may be commonly perceived. Furthermore, the echo of the period’s fashions, its modes of exhibition, the emergence of museums and libraries, and the practices of collecting constitute further fields of knowledge and interpretation worth looking at with 21st century eyes.

We welcome the proposal of 300 word abstracts, for 20 minute long papers, on topics and themes of interest including, but are not restricted to, the following (proposals should refer the panel participants wish to be included in):

1. The Victorian household. The home
  • Who holds the power in the household? Gender roles and issues and the Victorian family;
  • How to govern the home. Economy, sustainability, social concern and the challenge to overcome poverty;
  • Unheard voices in the home. Children and the subaltern;
  • Fashion, style, art and interior decoration;
  • The city: urban development, social practice, utopian visions.

2. Culture
  • Libraries, paper and book circulation, the publication of popular fiction and anthologies;
  • Practices of collecting / practices of reading and the emergence of art galleries and museums;
  • The Victorian era in literature, cinema and the arts: people, ideas and things;
  • The power of science: social Darwinism and eugenics;
  • Victorian values and morality;
  • Contemporary representations and appropriations of new Britain;
  • Victorians at home and abroad.

3. Politics
  • Marriage, divorce and the regulation of child paternal power. Legislative production during the Victorian Era;
  • Legislation and education;
  • Ideology(ies) and party politics: individualism and collectivism;
  • Perspectives on Empire and imperial expansion;
  • Democracy and parliamentary reform.

The conference will also comprise a social and cultural program, which will be announced in the conference website in due time. The Organizing Committee expects to publish the essays delivered at the conference in a peer-reviewed international publication.

Fees: 100 euros; (early birds: 80 euros if registration is completed until 16 May); students (50 euros).

Abstracts and other queries should be sent to victorians.lx.2014conference@gmail.com by May 16, 2014. Please include name, institutional affiliation, a short bio note and contact information (download the template hereTemplate Victorians)

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