Calls for Papers

CFP: Maritime Spaces, Shows, and the Nineteenth-Century City

Friday 12 April 2019 | University College Cork | Call for Papers

Keynote Speakers: Graeme Milne, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Liverpool, & Clare Pettitt, Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture, King’s College London

In recent decades, circum-Atlantic and global discourses have pushed us as scholars in the humanities to reappraise the place of the maritime, and its effects, in our conception of the nineteenth century. Writers, artists, and audiences were closer to the sea and shipping, both figuratively and literally, than we once thought, leading us to examine how this relationship shaped the thoughts, perceptions, and practices of port citizens across the Atlantic archipelago.

This interdisciplinary one-day conference, which will also feature a staged reading of selected scenes from a nautical melodrama, is envisaged as the first in a series of fora in future years that will provide a space for nineteenth-centuryists in Ireland researching a broad geographical range of literary contexts.

Please submit abstracts (max. 300 words) for standard twenty minute papers, with a brief biography, to by Friday 1 February 2019. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:

– Themes of (water-based) mobility

– Cities/literature/theatre and the maritime

– Migration and movement of people/goods

– Maritime identities (personal, local, civic)

– Perceptions of dockland spaces

– Social hierarchies of dockland labour

– Trade unionism and the docks

For more information please visit or contact one of the organisers,


CFP: Neo-Victorian Madness

Contributions are invited for an edited collection in the Neo-Victorian Series (Brill│Rodopi) on the theme of Neo-Victorian Madness. Sensational narratives of disturbed minds constitute a recurrent and prominent focus of neo-Victorian criticism, hearkening back to Jean Rhys’s 1966 publication of Wide Sargasso Sea and even earlier texts such as Marghanita Laski’s The Victorian Chaise-Longue (1953). Kate Mitchell has even referred to neo-Victorianism’s “compulsive reworking of nineteenth-century madness”, especially in relation to “criminality and deviance” (2015). Certainly, case studies, mad murderers, lunatic doctors, social dis/ease, asylums, and mentally disturbed individuals proliferate in neo-Victorian literature, drama and film. This volume will highlight the self-conscious re-visions, adaptations, and legacies of nineteenth-century discourses of madness and the latter’s continuing relevance to present-day concerns and socio-cultural debates about escalating mental health issues. Potential neo-Victorian novels for discussion may include Alias Grace (1996) by Margaret Atwood, A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003) by Libba Bray, The Alienist (1994) by Caleb Carr, The Meaning of Night (2006) by Michael Cox, The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) by Michael Faber, The Asylum (2013) by John Harwood, Mary Reilly (1990) by Valerie Martin, Fingersmith (2002) by Sarah Waters, and The Professor and the Madman (1998) by Sion Winchester, among others. This collection also welcomes contributions on transmedia and multi-media adaptations, including on graphic novels, such as From Hell (1999) by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, and on films and TV series, such as Stonehearst Asylum (2014), Penny Dreadful (2014-16), Alias Grace (2017) and The Alienist (2018).  Continue reading “CFP: Neo-Victorian Madness”

CFP: Aesthetic Time, Decadent Archives

Goldsmiths, University of London
18-19 July 2018


Aestheticism and Decadence are fundamentally preoccupied with time and archives, with medievalism, apocalypticism, fallen Classical civilizations, as well as with collections and connoisseurship. Aesthetes turn to the past as a locus of utopian renewal, and Decadents experience their historical moment in terms of exhaustion and decline. The Decadent literary tradition has come to be associated with a queer vision of temporality, an anti-progressive sensibility that rejects teleology and futurity, and scholarship on Aestheticism and Decadence has cast into question Modernist notions of literary history that stress novelty and rupture. Yet, even as Aesthetes and Decadents see themselves as living in a fin-du-monde/fin-du-globe moment, they are deeply preoccupied with history and with collecting and documenting. Indeed, Decadent literature often resembles archives or takes on a catalogue-like form. J.-K. Huymans’s novel À rebours, for example, functions as an extensive catalogue of outré tastes and serves as both inspiration and reference resource for subsequent Decadent authors. The ‘bibliophilic dandyism’ of Des Esseintes, as Octave Uzanne described it, was a metaphor for a relentless egoism that finds satisfaction only in the archive. In addition, scholars of Aestheticism and Decadence studies have for many years been deeply engaged with archival work, with the disinterring of hidden histories and figures, and the construction of digital archives that allow for a new vision of literary history. Continue reading “CFP: Aesthetic Time, Decadent Archives”

CFP: George Eliot 2019: An International Bi-Centenary Conference 

Date: 17–19 July 2019

Location: College Court, University of Leicester

Plenary Speakers: Professor Rosemary Ashton (UCL) and Professor Nancy Henry (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Deadline for proposals: 14 January 2019

Call for papers

This conference will examine the legacy of George Eliot alongside trends in contemporary critical work, bringing together scholars from around the world to mark the bicentenary of her birth. We invite proposals for papers and for 3-4 person panels on any subject relating to Eliot and her work, her influence on and relationships with her contemporaries, and the critical and cultural effects of her writing. Eliot’s own range of interests were encyclopaedic and global: the conference organisers welcome proposals reflecting this scope and depth. We invite proposals from researchers at all career stages from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and welcome submissions from creative writers.

A guided tour of sites associated with the novelist and her works, including Griff House and the private estate of Arbury Hall, will be on offer as part of the conference, as will early career scholar networking and optional mentoring by senior academics.

Proposals for individual papers (300 words) and panels (1000 words) should be submitted to by 14 January 2019. Applicants should include a brief biographical note of up to 150 words. Continue reading “CFP: George Eliot 2019: An International Bi-Centenary Conference “

CFP: ‘Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism’, Edinburgh

Date: 31st May 2019

Location: University of Edinburgh

Deadline for Proposals: 8th February 2019

Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism: Interdisciplinary Symposium

Keynote speaker: Dr Samiksha Sehrawat (Newcastle)

Twitter: @AEconference

2018 has begun as a period of renewed public and academic debate over the history and legacies of colonialism. Among their many faults, detached inquiries regarding the supposed benefits of colonial endeavours, however, miss the significance of everyday experiences of empire as expressed in a range of historical, literary, and visual evidence.

‘Ailing Empires’ is a one-day symposium that seeks to explore the extent to which narratives of health, medicine and science are inextricably bound with experiences of empire and colonialism throughout the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. Through focus on a range of colonial contexts, textualities and sources, this symposium hopes to address questions such as: How did different colonial empires instrumentalise medicine and science? What role did healthcare and/or science play within the respective colonial project? Is ‘medical imperialism’ a useful term across different colonial contexts? In what way(s) did exchanges between Western and non-Western medical knowledge function as contact zones? How can scholarship engage with legacies of colonial medicine in the postcolonial age?

In order to explore these questions, we invite papers and presentations from a variety of disciplinary and comparative perspectives from across the humanities, and particularly encourage submissions from postgraduate and early-career researchers.

Continue reading “CFP: ‘Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism’, Edinburgh”

The Purple Cloud Reading Group

Read along with an understudied and utterly bizarre 1901 novel and share your thoughts by following @PurpleCloudRG


Ever wandered around your local bookshop and thought ‘Hmm…what I’m really in the mood for today is a novel about a Victorian bloke who goes on an expedition to the North Pole, manages to release a mysterious cloud of purple gas which wipes out the whole of humanity except for him, quickly goes mad (probably aided by all of the opium and marijuana he’s been taking), reinvents himself as Emperor of Earth, and sails around the world getting really high and burning all major cities to the ground before stumbling across a feral young woman who also escaped the toxic effects of the cloud and asking himself the age old question: should I cannibalise her, or make her my girlfriend?’

No? Well, my friend, now’s your chance!  Continue reading “The Purple Cloud Reading Group”

CFP: Neo-Victorianism and the Senses: Sensing the Past

Call for Papers: Neo-Victorianism and the Senses: Sensing the Past

Wednesday 13th March 2019, University of Surrey (UK)

Keynote Speaker: Professor Rosario Arias, University of Málaga

‘Every sensorial perception is at the same time past and present’ (Hamilakis, 2013).

Since the publication of William A. Cohen’s seminal text Embodied: Victorian Literature and the Senses (2009), the senses in Victorian literature and culture have come to signify an area of burgeoning interest. In turn, a focus on sensory modalities has proven particularly fruitful for framing contemporary perceptions of the past in neo-Victorian fiction during the last few years (e.g. Silvana Colella; Rosario Arias; Patricia Pulham).

In light of this increased scholarly attention, this one-day symposium seeks to highlight the critical role the senses play in shaping literary, filmic, and theatrical revisions of the long nineteenth century and in bridging the gap between past and present. Following the recent ‘material turn’ and employing critical approaches such as phenomenology and sensory studies, this symposium interrogates the role of the senses in the construction and negotiation of the past in neo-Victorian literature, film, television, theatre, art, and fashion.

Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The five senses in/and neo-Victorianism: touch, taste (literal and aesthetic), sound, smell, and sight (re/vision).
  • The ‘sixth sense’: extrasensory perception; intuition; sensing the supernatural; haunting and spectrality; the trace.
  • Intersensoriality and synaesthesia.
  • Sensuality; sensuousness; indulging in/ inhabiting the past.
  • Sensations: the neo-sensation novel; pain and/or pleasure.
  • Critical approaches to neo-Victorianism: phenomenology, sensory studies, affect, and materiality.

The organisers welcome proposals for 20-minute papers, or panels, which consider the senses in neo-Victorian literature and culture from a variety of disciplines.

Please send 250-word abstracts, with a 50-word biography to, & by 16th December 2018.

Creative Competition: Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century

Calling all creative-types, artists, academics, 19thC researchers and Sherlock Holmes fans!

The organizers of the ‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’ conference (Edge Hill University, September 13th-14th 2018) are inviting submissions of creative works which explore any aspect of nineteenth-century substance use and abuse in one image:

  • Photography, painting, digital art, mixed media, posters?
  • Still lives of drug paraphernalia?
  • Microscopic images of chemical compounds
  • Mapping nineteenth-century drug use?
  • A sculpture featuring Sherlock Holmes’s 243 types of tobacco ash?!

The ‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’ conference will bring together international, interdisciplinary researchers from Medical Humanities, the History of Medicine, and Romantic/Victorian literature to examine the changing roles of substances for therapy, medication, and recreation in the nineteenth century.

This competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, lecturers and researchers, and members of the public.

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the conference, 13th – 14thSeptember 2018 at Edge Hill University.

First prize: £100.

Head Judge: Stephen Whittle. Principle Manager, The Atkinson Southport.

Deadline for entries: 17th August 2018.

For full terms and conditions and to enter, download entry form here and send it, along with your submission, to 


CFP: Science and Spiritualism, 1750-1930

The Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies is pleased to announce a two-day conference, to take place at Leeds Trinity University on 30 and 31 May 2019. We are delighted to have Professor Christine Ferguson (University of Stirling), and Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck, University of London) as our keynote speakers.

D.D. Home levitates himself in front of witnesses in the home of Ward Cheney in South Manchester, Connecticut on 8 August 1852. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Since the emergence of modern mediumship in the middle of the nineteenth century, science and spiritualism have been interwoven. Sceptics and believers alike have investigated spirit and psychic phenomena to determine its legitimacy. This two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore the history of the intersection of science and spiritualism during the long nineteenth century. Continue reading “CFP: Science and Spiritualism, 1750-1930”

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