Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Victorian Recollections, Revolutions, and Realities: An Undergraduate and Graduate Conference (Deadline 3/29/23)

Victorian Recollections, Revolutions, and Realities :
an electronic undergraduate and graduate conference
sponsored by Carroll University

Abstracts due: 3/29/2023
Conference: 5/4/2023

“We sit thus speaking of things remembered, and so sit speechless while things forgotten call to us.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1870)

Scroll down for more detailed conference description and list of possible topics.

Organizer and contact email:

  • Lara Karpenko, Professor of English and Director of the Center for Humanities, Carroll University: lkarpenk@carrollu.edu.
  • Kyla S Bunkley, Lead Undergraduate Organizer, Carroll University: kbunkley@carrollu.edu
  • Carroll University undergraduates. This conference is organized by Lara Karapenko’s upper-division class in Victorian literature during Spring 2023. Her students helped decide the conference theme, took the lead on writing this CFP, decided on the keynote speaker and “interactive” topics/organizers, and will be vetting abstracts and organizing speakers into panels.

Participation from any and all interested undergraduate and graduate students is welcome. The CFP is intended to be of interest to students from beyond the field of Victorian Studies. Please share with your students and encourage them to apply!

Conference date and schedule:

Thursday, May 4, 2023: 10:00 AM – 2:45: PM CDT,

  • 10:00 - 10:15 AM: Introduction
  • 10:15- 11:15 AM: Concurrent session 1
  • 11:15- 12:20 PM: Keynote
  • 12:20-:12:30 PM: Break
  • 12:30- 1:30 PM: Concurrent session 2
  • 1:30-2:45 PM: Interactive session and closing discussion.

Note: The conference will occur over Zoom. Links will be provided after schedule is finalized.

Conference fees:

It is free to present at and attend this conference. We only ask that all participants try to stay for the whole day.


Hye Hyon Kim, Illinois State University

“Talking Objects and Listening Subjects: Agency and Disguise in Victorian Female Characters".

This will be a highly interactive session that prompts reflection about objects and commodities during the Victorian era.

Interactive closing session:

Sagar Das, Presidency University, Kolkata and Lauri Dietz, Northwestern University

“Quarantined at Baker Street: An Interactive Sherlock Holmes Adventure”

For the closing session, participants will play a “Sherlock Holmes game” designed by Sagar that will prompt reflection about both the Victorian era and the current twenty-first century moment.

Abstract Submission:

Please submit abstracts to Lara Karpenko, lkarpenk@carrollu.edu and Kyla Bunkley, kbunkley@carrollu.edu by 3/29/2023. Note: panel applications are welcome as long as there is cross-institutional representation on the panel. It is expected that students will present for about ten minutes on their work. Abstracts should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Institution
  • University e-mail
  • Faculty Mentor name and email
  • Paper Title
  • Paper abstract (100-150 word summation of essay)

Conference description:

Victorian Recollections, Revolutions, and Realities

From death photography to Arthuriana to sentimental novels, Victorians seemed to revel in the act of memorializing. Simultaneously, technological innovations rapidly remade political, social, and environmental landscapes, hurling Victorians into what often seemed an uncertain future. Further, the rise of the realist novel coupled with what were often-bleak socio-political realities provided a sometimes jarring counterpoint to the tender sentimentalism or the soaring optimism that often marked the time period. And, as the keynote talk emphasizes, objects, often the result of the Industrial revolution, flooded the era, prompting new ways to mourn, shop, and interact. The organizers invite proposals from undergraduate and graduate students about any aspect of recollections, revolutions, and realities as these concepts were broadly conceived during the Victorian era. The organizers also encourage analyses of twentieth or twenty-first century adaptations of Victorian texts as well as analysis of pre-Victorian source texts. Finally, this conference is intended to consider a myriad of local and global issues, and proposals may consider texts and cultural productions from Britain, the British Empire, the United States, or anywhere in the world.

Below, you will find a suggested list of possible essay topics. Other topics are enthusiastically welcome.

Possible topics:

  • Gender norms and expectations
  • Constructions of sexuality
  • Race and racialization
  • Angel in the house
  • Fallen women
  • Love and Marriage
  • British and Britishiness
  • Class definition and division
  • Labor and Poverty
  • Identity formation
  • Growth of the middle class
  • Realist novels
  • Growth of the city
  • Rural landscapes
  • Love and Marriage
  • Police/detectives and detective fiction
  • Shopping culture
  • Object studies
  • Consumerism and commodity culture
  • Fashion
  • Popular culture
  • The Great Exhibition
  • Working conditions
  • Imperialism and trade
  • Aestheticism and the fin de siècle.
  • Health and disease
  • Medicine
  • Explorations of the normal and abnormal
  • Health and disease
  • Community and isolation
  • Memory
  • Mourning practices
  • Arthurian legend
  • Pre-Raphaelitism
  • Quarantine
  • Constructions of monarch
  • Religion
  • Technological innovations
  • Public spectacle

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