Call for Papers

CONSUMING [the] VICTORIANS

Victorians Institute Conference
Asheville, NC
November 9-10, 2018

The 47th annual meeting of the Victorians Institute will explore the patterns, behaviors, and economies of consumption–both literal and figurative–that we’ve inherited from the Victorians, as well as the myriad ways in which millennial audiences consume the Victorians as part of our everyday lives. We invite participants to join us in considering the legacies of nineteenth century consumption, from the popular media we stream to the holiday traditions we hold dear to the consumer habits we can’t break.

Conference organizers are particularly interested in creating panels that address consumption and/of adaptation, literal forms of dysfunction and consumption, and pedagogy as consumption. Gillian Anderson’s performance as Lady Dedlock, Jenna Coleman’s series Victoria, and the hidden-object game based on The Moonstone depend on audiences’ interest in the Victorians, an interest created by our work in the classroom. But how do we teach students about Lowood, Rugby, or Brasenose College, without making them feel that they have been cornered by a M’Choakumchild? We welcome papers that consider pedagogy–from or concerning the Victorians–and/as consumption.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Consumerism & the birth of the department store
  • Fashion plates & self-fashioning
  • Cookery for hosting & homemaking
  • Food product availability at home & abroad
  • Commercially-processed food for mass consumption
  • Consuming resources (mining & harvesting)
  • Consuming obsessions (monomania, paranoia, & other psychological fixations)
  • Bodies consumed by industrial labor
  • Bodies consumed by infectious disease
  • Consuming national cultures in the Crystal Palace
  • Immigration & the incorporation of cultures into the body politic
  • Literature for popular consumption (sensation & other popular fiction)
  • Crime as commodity (Newgate novels & crime journalism)
  • Vampirism as fiction & metaphor
  • Modernizing agriculture & the science of feeding populations
  • Vegetarianism & the ethics of eating
  • Consuming the colonies (sugar, tea, & Imperial food production)
  • Overconsumption of alcohol, drugs, & food
  • NeoVictorianism & Consuming the 19C
  • Streaming the Victorians (popular 21C reimaginings, e.g., Victoria, Mr. Selfridge, Penny Dreadful)
  • Collecting mania
  • Sites of exchange/secondhand culture (then & now: auction houses, curiosity shops, Etsy, eBay, Pinterest, etc)
  • Modes of mass consumption
  • Work opportunities/sales jobs (shopgirls, delivery boys, street hawkers)
    Communication technologies & information consumption (the post, telegraphy, steam-press printed periodicals, the circulating library, et al for the Victorians; the web, teleconferencing, ebooks & journals, Netflix, et al for 21C Victorianists)
    Consuming Passions/Consuming Time (leisure, entertainment, work, hobbies, sports, games)
  • Materialism v. spiritualism
  • Advertising

Please send a 300-word abstract and two-page CV to the conference organizers at thevictoriansinstitute@gmail.com (Word or PDF format). Proposals should include contact information. Panel proposals should include contact information for all participants, a synopsis of the panel, and abstracts for all papers.

All proposals are due by Friday, June 1, 2018.

VI offers limited travel subventions for graduate students whose institutions provide limited or no support. If you would like to be considered, please include a brief cover letter with your proposal explaining your request and what travel support you currently receive.

Find general info about the Victorians Institute and the Victorians Institute Journal at http://victoriansinstitute.org/.

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