“The Factory Girl’s Address: Ellen Johnston and the Politics of Form”
Abstract: Although she was a laboring-class writer who worked in factories all her life, the factory odes of Ellen Johnston, the self-titled “Factory Girl,” have received little consideration as political poems. Yet in “Address to the Factory of Messrs. J. & W. I. Scott & Co.,” Johnston self-consciously manipulates the power dynamics between speaking subject and addressed other through imitation of lyric forms such as panegyric and elegy. Rereading Johnston’s use of rhetorical apostrophe in a poem to, and about, a Scottish textiles factory as politically strategic pushes back against the selection bias in recovery work and canon diversification efforts that predetermines the interpretive frames applied to minoritized writers.
Shalmi Barman is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Virginia where she is writing a dissertation on the ideological representation of work in mid- to late-century Victorian fiction. Her research and teaching interests include the literature of labor, women’s writing, the history of books, and the digital humanities
As the Victorians Institute and the Victorians Institute Journal celebrate their 50th year/volume, this 2022 meeting of the Victorians Institute Conference invites proposals for presentations or full panels that consider the anniversary: as a moment for reflection, as a historical phenomenon, and an opportunity to consider the future. The Victorians Institute’s own “Golden Jubilee” coincides with broader conversations about the “undisciplining” of the field. Thus, we encourage participants to consider the dynamics of past and future, formation and reformation, anniversary and augury in thinking about where Victorian studies goes next. We seek dialogues that might hold these two impulses—commemoration of the past and renovation toward the future—in productive tension.
In a 2020 Los Angeles Review of Books essay and related special issue of Victorian Studies, Ronjaunee Chatterjee, Alicia Mireles Christoff, and Amy R. Wong draw upon Christina Sharpe’s concept of “undisciplining” to exhort Victorianist scholars to remake not only the content and boundaries, but the approach, of our field. Addressing the overwhelming whiteness of the discipline demographically as well as in terms of its objects of study, they call upon scholars not simply to include and center BIPOC perspectives, but more radically to engage in “renovating the way we think of scholarly fields and of field-formation itself.” Thus, as we observe the golden anniversary of the Victorians Institute and Victorians Institute Journal and look forward to the next fifty years of our collegial exchange, we also want to encourage conversations that undiscipline, question, challenge, and radicalize the ways the Victorians have been studied and represented in the past, along with the ways Victorian studies is constituted now and in the future.
Topics can be presented in any format (interdisciplinary/undisciplinary, digital humanities, pedagogical, experiential, demonstrational, etc.), including but not limited to:
Victoria’s Golden Jubilee
Weddings, birthdays, and other Victorian celebrations
Honors, medals, and titles
Celebrations of science, exploration, and industry, like the Great Exhibition
Race, culture, and the Great Exhibition
Celebrations (past and present) of the 1857 Indian Rebellion
Celebrations of and with food and/or the undisciplinarity of food
Writing from or about the colonies
Victorian reactions to the U.S. Civil War
Victorians and disease
Victorian constructions of whiteness
Victorian resistance to whiteness
Victorian science and race
Representations of BIPOC Victorians
Victorians and disability
Antisemitism in Victorian culture
Opium and Orientalism
The East India Company
The West Indies
Vestiges of slavery
Creating an undisciplined classroom
BIPOC faculty in the profession
Gothicism and undisciplinarity
Representations of race in the Victorian theater
Race in Victorian art and visual culture
Keynote Speaker: Ryan Fong, Kalamazoo College
Please send a 250-word abstract and one-page cv to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30, June 17, 2022. Thematic panels are also welcome.
VI offers limited travel subventions for graduate students whose institutions provide limited or no support. If you would like to be considered, please send a brief letter explaining your request and what travel support you currently receive. The deadline for travel applications is October 1st.
“Literacy and Preservation in The Death and Burial of Cock Robin”
This paper considers an 1850 publication of the children’s nursery rhyme “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin” and its accompanying illustrations by Harrison Weir. The publication serves as educational material, guiding Victorian children through the process of losing a loved one while providing a window into the strange phenomenon of preservation culture in mid-nineteenth century Britain. Weir’s illustrations, reflecting popular taxidermy tableaux from the period, nuance this pedagogical project by drawing on the growing naturalist preoccupation of the nineteenth century and attendant preservation culture.
The Victorians Institute is excited to welcome you to Charlotte, NC on October 22-23, 2021 for our rebooted annual conference: “Reflections/Refractions: Victorian(ist) Ways of Seeing.” This conference seeks essays that explore how Victorians saw their world, how they depicted what they saw, and the ways that modern scholars, in turn, see the Victorians. Papers or panels on poetry, prose, nonfiction, biography, digital humanities, or visual art are welcome, as are presentations on the pedagogy and ethics of teaching Victorian literature—during or not during a global pandemic.
Extended Deadline for Submissions: May 15th June 4th, 2021. Please send a 300-word abstract and 1-page c.v. to conference organizers Bonnie Shishko and Casey Cothran at email@example.com (Word or PDF format). Individual proposals should include contact information. Panel proposals should include contact information for all participants, a synopsis of the panel, and abstracts for all papers.
Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Dr. Amy M. King, St. John’s University
Extended Deadline for Submissions: May 15th June 4th, 2021. We are delighted to announce that the deadline to submit a proposal to the Victorians Institute 2021 conference has been extended. The new deadline is June 4th. Please send your 300-word proposals and 1-page c.v. to firstname.lastname@example.org. Panel proposals should include contact information for all participants, a synopsis of the panel, and abstracts for all papers.
Our new conference dates are October 22-23, 2021. We look forward to rebooting our “Reflections/Refractions: Victorian(ist) Ways of Seeing” conference in Charlotte, NC. All proposals already submitted for the 2020 conference will be automatically considered for acceptance to this event. New submissions will be accepted until June 4th, 2021.
In the meantime, we still want to offer you the opportunity to share your excellent scholarship. The editors of the Victorians Institute Journal are always seeking quality essays for publication, and the journal goes on, pandemic or not. Stay in touch with the scholarly community and (until we meet again in person) submit your essays to the journal at VIJ@mtsu.edu. For guidelines, visit the journal’s website at https://victorian.utk.edu.
Additionally, please stay tuned to the Victorians Institute website and our Facebook page for further information about the 2021 conference. Until then, stay safe. Kindest regards,
Bonnie Shishko and Casey Cothran
Refractions/Reflections: Victorian(ist) Ways of Seeing
In The Stones of Venice (1851-1853), John Ruskin writes, “The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.” Ruskin pushed his contemporaries to see the world for themselves plainly. George Eliot echoes this idea in Adam Bede (1859), writing “all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of [human] nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in place of definite, substantial reality.” In contrast, other writers of the period reveled in creating imaginative, sensational, or fantastical worlds that moved beyond the boundaries of the seen and known. This conference seeks essays that explore how Victorians saw their world, how they depicted what they saw, and the ways that modern scholars, in turn, see the Victorians. Papers or panels on poetry, prose, nonfiction, biography, digital humanities, or visual art are welcome, as are presentations on the pedagogy and ethics of teaching Victorian literature in 2020-21.
Possible topics include:
Emotional, Intellectual, Aesthetic Insight
Visual Print Culture, Advertising, Ephemera
Visual Technology: Magic Lanterns, the Diorama, Binoculars, the Stereoscope
Optical Illusions/Literary Allusions
Observation & the (Scientific) Eye: Telescopes, Microscopes, Mirrors, Glasses
The Imagination/The Mind’s Eye
Seeing Ghosts & Gothic Ways of Seeing
The Great Exhibition
Mesmerists & Spiritualists
Fantasy & Reality
Travel & Travelogues
Food & its Presentation: the Home & the Restaurant
Victorian Landscapes & the Natural World
Art/Art Criticism/The Art Gallery
Medieval Revival & Revisions
Erasure & Censorship
Pedagogy: Victorians in the Age of #metoo
Pedagogy: Victorians in the Age of COVID
Please send a 300-word abstract and 1-page c.v. to the conference organizers at email@example.com (Word or PDF format) by May 15th June 4th, 2021. Proposals should include contact information. Panel proposals should include contact information for all participants, a synopsis of the panel, and abstracts for all papers.
Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Dr. Amy M. King, St. John’s University
“Folded eyes see brighter colors than the open ever do.”
Please also see the conference website: https://vi2019.wordpress.com. The Victorians Institute is pleased to announce its 2019 conference and welcome abstracts on the topic of
Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, & Victorian Studies
To be held October 31 – November 2, 2019 in Charleston, SC. Our conference site affords an opportunity to think about transatlantic connections in the 19th century when Charleston was a prominent intersection on a web that connected Britain, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
We hope our conference will foster thinking about the many and various ways that Victorian literature and culture engages the Atlantic World. We invite essays and panels that investigate the diverse possibilities of our theme and, in keeping with it, encourage work that draws connections across the spaces that divide academic disciplines. Topics may include:
Emigration & Immigration
Slavery Abroad & at Home
Hybrid Languages, Cultures, & Peoples
Economic Affiliations & Rivalries
Ecologies, Climates, & Storms
Treasure Islands & Dark Continents
Pen Pals, Alliances, & Friendships
Romanticizing the Past
Envisioning the Future
Technologies of Travel & Communication
Exploration & Adventure
Diasporas & Expatriates
The Body: Diseases, Infections & Antidotes
Copyrights & Piracy
Grand Tours & Lecture Tours
Victorians in Charleston
Trade Routes, Raw Materials, & Cash Crops
To apply, please submit a 250-300 word abstract of your paper. To propose a panel, please supply an abstract for each paper as well as a short description of the panel. Send all applications and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstracts must be received by June 1stJuly 1st, 2019.
The editors of the Victorians Institute Journal invite submissions for the Patrick Scott Award for Best Graduate Student Paper presented at the 2018 “Consuming [the] Victorians” conference.
Please submit the complete paper (including works cited and images) without your name, along with a separate cover sheet that does include your name, institutional affiliation, and paper title to VIJ@mtsu.edu.
Selected members of the VIJ Editorial Board will adjudicate the award. The winner will receive $500 and be recognized at the 2019 Victorians Institute Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.
The deadline for submission is Friday, December 14.
Please address any questions to VIJ‘s editors, Maria K. Bachman and Don Richard Cox, at VIJ@mtsu.edu.
Details about the 2018 Victorians Institute conference have been announced! Please consider joining us this November 9-10, 2018 in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, for a conference on:
CONSUMING [the] VICTORIANS
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.
The editors of the Victorians Institute Journal invite “Victorian Recovery” conference participants to submit their papers for possible inclusion in the peer-reviewed Victorians Institute Journal Annex, an interactive, online extension (with separate content) of the print journal.
To be considered, please submit the complete paper (including works cited and images) without your name, along with a separate cover sheet that does include your name, institutional affiliation, and paper title to VIJ@mtsu.edu. Questions may also be directed to that address.
If you wish to be considered for the Patrick Scott Award for Best Graduate Student Paper ($500), please indicate on the cover sheet your graduate student status. Selected members of the VIJ Editorial Board will serve as the selection committee and the winner will be recognized at the 2018 Victorians Institute Conference.
The deadline for submissions is Monday, November 20, 2017.
The 2017 conference of the Victorians Institute will be held October 13-14 in Greenville, SC. Hosted by Furman University, the conference theme is “Victorian Recovery” and is currently welcoming submissions for papers. For the full CFP and details, please visit https://vi2017.wordpress.com