Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: MLA 2018 Panel: “British Hands” (3/15/2017; 1/4-7/2018)

“British Hands”
MLA 2018 Panel
New York City, NY
4-7 January 2018

The study of haptics and of representations of hands and touch have gained increasing scholarly attention in Victorian Studies over the last decade. This panel seeks to expand the study of hands in the literal sense of the term beyond their Victorian context, drawing connections across rather than within a single period. How was the hand discussed, represented, and/or philosophized in Medieval Literature? How do Shakespeare’s references to hands compare with those made by Aphra Behn and Samuel Richardson a century later? Does Keats’ “The Living Hand” do something different than Arthur Symons’ “Hands”? How have the frequency of references to or commentaries on hands in modern and postmodern works changed from that of the centuries before? How are hands discussed in writings on speech and gesture, etiquette, anatomy, art, and philosophy? Possible topics include the following:

  • Racialized hands
  • Religious hands and handshakes
  • Amputated hands
  • Scientific hands
  • Working ‘hands’
  • Right- versus left-handedness
  • Dead hands (or morte main)
  • Hands in art, science, philosophy
  • Tactility
  • Handshakes
  • Skin and sensation
  • Queer hands
  • Loving hands
  • Desirous hands
  • Ugly hands; beautiful hands
  • Handling objects
  • Memento Mori
  • Mummified hands
  • Severed hands
  • Monstrous hands
  • Philosophy and haptics
  • Writing by hand
  • Handwriting
  • Touching hands
  • This list is, of course, in no way extensive. Feel free to explore topics beyond those listed above. You're even welcome to propose interdisciplinary or co-authored papers. Doctoral candidates as well as faculty are welcome to submit proposals. Please send a 300-word abstract for papers dealing with any aspect of hands (e.g., chironomy, tactility, etiquette, fingerprinting, anatomy, art, handedness, industrialization, etc.) in British writing of any period along with a short CV to kcox@csc.edu by 15 March 2017.

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