Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: The Operation and Representation of “Judgement” in 19th-Century Cultures (11/30/2015, 6/23-24/2016)

Judgement“A Time of Judgement”:
The Operation and Representation of Judgement in Nineteenth-Century Cultures
Plymouth University, UK
23 and 24 June 2016

This international, interdisciplinary conference seeks to examine the role of “judgement” in the nineteenth century, in both the Anglophone and European cultures. As a theme, related to but distinct from notions of justice, judgement has not attracted much attention from humanities scholars in contrast to the interest expressed in philosophy and psychology.

The nineteenth century saw judgement operating and developing in a multiplicity of ways: with national and international architectural and art competitions, and awards for design at universal exhibitions, and the proliferation of a literary market that saw judgement (understood as discrimination and evaluation) exercised in popular and learned reviews. Scientific controversies also involved judgements.

The legal aspect of judgment is an obvious theme and can be explored from both legal history and literary perspectives, as well as through visual culture. The conference is also, however, interested in how non-legal acts of judgement were depicted, for example in Pre-Raphaelite and other artistic representations of the “judgement of Paris,” or Christian works such as Thomas Martin’s “Last Judgement.”

Keynote speakers are:

Professor David Amigoni, School of Humanities, Keele University on the dispute between Samuel Butler and Charles Darwin and its attendant call for “judgements” in the scientific world.

Professor Leslie J. Moran, School of Law, Birkbeck College, on audiences and users of judicial photographic portraiture in the era of the carte de visite.

The conference seeks abstracts (deadline 30 November 2015) on the following themes:

Please send a 300 word abstract, with a brief biography, to one of the conference co-ordinators:


Possible themes include:

  • Representation of judges and the judicial process.
  • Representations of judgements.
  • Critical judgement – judgement in aesthetics, passing judgement on literary and artistic works, or in science.
  • Private vs. public judgement.
  • Divine vs human judgement in the legal sphere and as a subject in theology.
  • The judgement “of history.”
  • Judgements internationalised: universal exhibitions and world fairs
  • The gendering of judgement – masculine and feminine judgement.



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