Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Nineteenth-Century Formations (9/15/19; 12/6-7/19)

Nineteenth-Century Formations

The University of Hong Kong

December 6-7, 2019

This interdisciplinary conference asks participants to rethink the nineteenth century and its social, aesthetic, and discursive formations. It brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines to consider the categories that inform and shape our various disciplinary approaches to the nineteenth century. In doing so, it invokes the term “formations” in a broad sense, to convey the processes by which concepts, categories, structures, systems, and institutions—many of which remain in place today—came into existence during this period.

The organizers invite papers from scholars of the long nineteenth century from a range of fields: art history, Asian studies, China studies, East Asian studies, history, Hong Kong studies, literature, media studies, musicology, philosophy, theater studies, etc. Papers might consider the term “formation,” or they might problematize, historicize, or trace conceptual, aesthetic, or structural formations across or at any point in the nineteenth century. Papers can also interrogate the categories, concepts, forms, and structures we use today to make sense of the period, or reconsider the boundaries and periodization of fields, such as the “long nineteenth century” or Victorianism. By bringing together scholars from various backgrounds, the conference aims to start cross-disciplinary conversations that will shed new light on the nineteenth century and its legacies. The conference will also include a workshop for postgraduate students.

“Nineteenth-Century Formations” will take place in Hong Kong, a global city whose own history was indelibly shaped by the expansion of empires, trade, war, and migrations of the nineteenth century. It will be hosted by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Hong Kong and will include some outings into the city. Keynotes include Hidetaka Hirota, Associate Professor of History at Sophia University in Tokyo; Grace Lavery, Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of California Berkeley; and Vanessa Smith, Professor of English Literature at the University of Sydney.

Contributions can take the format of a classic 20-minute paper or a short 5-7 minute reflection on a concept, object, text, or image. Please send a 300-word abstract and a one-page CV to Julia Bowes at jbowes@hku.hk or Jessica R. Valdez jvaldez@hku.hk by September 15, 2019.

Topics might include (but are not limited to)

  • Affect
  • Aesthetics
  • Capitalism, liberalism, democracy
  • Class
  • Communications and media: the telegraph, railroad, newspaper, media
  • Eco-criticism, the environment, environmental history
  • Empires, nationalism, colonialism
  • Form, formalism, new formalism
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Genre
  • Global and transnational frameworks
  • Nation, the state, the public
  • Nationalism and cosmopolitanism
  • New historicism, formalism, etc.
  • Novel, the bildungsroman, narrative
  • Race, ethnicity, indigeneity
  • Religion
  • Realism
  • Romanticism
  • Romantic, Victorian, neo-Victorian
  • Science, evolution, empiricism
  • Slavery and emancipation
  • Time, serial form, rhythm
  • Urbanization, industrialization, migration​

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