Remaking the Past
44th Annual Conference
Nineteenth-Century Studies Association
March 30 – April 1, 2023
Proposed Deadline: September 30, 2022
Sacramento, host city for NCSA’s 2023 conference, lends itself to exploring issues of revivals and re-creations of the past. Sacramento’s nineteenth-century history encompassed California’s Gold Rush, the genocide and displacement of Indigenous populations, the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the building of a capital city that became a stage for the reinventions–productive and problematic–of the past so central to the nineteenth century. Appropriately, Sacramento’s conference will explore the nineteenth century’s almost constant desire to re-envision and measure itself against the past, as well as our own responsibility as scholars to reassess the histories we tell about this era, using current critical approaches, concerns, and theories.
NCSA seeks perspectives into the wide range of nineteenth-century reinterpretations of the past and their consequences. NCSA invites papers and panels covering and uncovering political history, social history, history of science, literature, visual and performing arts, and popular culture. NCSA welcomes interdisciplinary and inclusive approaches that revisit and broaden ways of looking at the nineteenth century, including those that interrogate constructions of gender, race, settler-colonialism, and ethnicity as seen in, or that were created about, that era. NCSA also invites papers that examine communities, artifacts, or epistemologies that resist remaking the past, including those that explore cultures for which preserving the past unaltered was/is a form of survival and resistance.
In addition, NCSA welcomes papers that scrutinize historical consciousness during the nineteenth century. These could assess the varied tendencies to rewrite history, to revive or bury the past, and to appeal to the past as a legitimizing force, as a spur to the imagination, and as a field for questions and contradictions. Such papers could consider the past as a force in political discourses, in education and science, and in debates on the value of studying it at all.
Topics may include:
- stylistic revivals in nineteenth-century art, architecture, and design
- traumatic or “buried” histories of displacement, forced migration, genocide
- recovering Indigenous and African-American nineteenth-century cultures of resistance
- antiquarianism and issues of historical preservation and interpretation of nineteenth-century material culture
- California history including Chinatowns, Spanish historical sites, settler-colonial sites of mourning, the preservation and interpretation of California’s Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian communities
- uses of historical fiction and revivals of past authors, playwrights, and composers
- imagery of the past in nineteenth-century popular culture and advertising
- Neo-Victorianism, adaptations (both book and film), and digital/data-driven re-imaginings of the nineteenth century
- the use of real or imagined pasts in literature and the performing arts, the notion of revival as a trope, or of retrospection as a creative device
- remaking or “differencing” 19th-century canons, critical pedagogy, and banned books
- utopian golden ages of the past and future
- invented pasts/invented traditions, fakes, lies, and forgeries
Please use this Google form to send 250-word abstracts with one-page CVs by September 30, 2022. Abstracts should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and paper title in the heading. NCSA welcomes individual proposals, panel proposals with four presenters and a moderator, or larger roundtable sessions. You are welcome to share calls for panels and roundtable discussions on NCSA’s social media channels. You may post your call to NCSA’s Facebook page and they will share it, or tag them on Twitter and they will gladly retweet.
Note that submission of a proposal constitutes a commitment to attend if accepted. Presenters will be notified in November 2022. NCSA encourages submissions from graduate students, and those whose proposals have been accepted may submit complete papers to apply for a travel grant to help cover transportation and lodging expenses. For questions, please contact NCSA at email@example.com.