Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Breaking the Network: Infrastructure and Community (Fractures) in the Long Nineteenth Century (4/16/2021; 9/2-3/2021)

Online Conference

University College Cork

September 2-3, 2021


Keynotes: Prof. Claire Connolly (University College Cork), Dr Nicola Kirkby (Royal Holloway), Prof. Ruth Livesey (Royal Holloway), Dr Nitin Sinha (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient)

Recent studies in nineteenth-century culture have investigated the connectedness of individuals, places, nations and markets, shaped by uneven development and asymmetric power relations. The rapid but asymmetric development of infrastructure in the nineteenth century laid the foundations for such far-reaching networks, and continue to affect individuals’ social experiences and spatial practices to this day. For example, the inaccessibility of most of London’s Victorian underground railway network for wheelchair users draws attention to infrastructure’s double potential to enable and to restrict social and spatial connections. Meanwhile, urban studies concepts, such as “splintering urbanism” (Graham and Marvin, 2001), direct our attention to the fragmentation of social groups and experiences both within and across spaces.

This two-day symposium asks how we can reconcile the coexistence of such fragmentation with shared economies, communities, and spaces. It invites papers from different disciplines and scholars working at different career stages, which may address, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Different infrastructural systems (e.g. road, rail, or maritime networks)
  • Interactions between different systems (mail trains, steam packets, railway telegraphs) and places
  • Representations of infrastructure
  • Infrastructure and colonialism
  • Shifting perspectives on locality as it relates to infrastructure
  • The real or imagined social effects of infrastructural development
  • (Disrupted) communication

Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words and a brief biography to Joanna Hofer-Robinson (joanna.hofer-robinson@ucc.ie) by 16 April 2021. Papers are limited to twenty minutes.

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