Thursday, 30 April 2015

CFP: Special issue of Victorian Network on the Victorian Brain (Deadline: 15 Aug. 2015)

Victorian Network is an open-access, MLA-indexed, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing and promoting the best postgraduate and early career work across the broad field of Victorian Studies. We are delighted to announce that our eleventh issue (Winter 2015) will be guest edited by Professor Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford), on the theme of the Victorian Brain.

In the nineteenth century, the discipline of psychology, or the science of the mind, underwent a profound reorientation: a reorientation which was both fuelled by contemporary literature, and which influenced that literature’s form and content. Investigating the mind’s workings was the joint project of such diverse parties as authors and poets; natural scientists and doctors; but also the public, as citizen scientists. Phrenology and the legibility of physiognomy remained central concerns. Simultaneously, medical research created a counterweight to eighteenth-century folk psychology and pseudoscience. Observation of mentally-ill asylum inmates offered another route into the human psyche. These asylums in turn experienced restructuring, turning from spaces of “[chains], straw, filthy solitude, darkness and starvation” (Dickens) in the eighteenth century, to institutions implementing “moral management” by 1900.

Mid-Victorians discussed the human brain extensively in both popular literature and specialized periodicals, ranging in disciplines from natural and medical sciences to literature and philosophy. The Journal of Mental Science and Dickens’s Household Words are but two examples from different sides of that spectrum. As these widespread discussions destabilized longstanding convictions including the supremacy of the mind and the integrated self, these convictions’ intricate connections to cultural concerns including gender and class grew evident. Investigations in all possible directions proliferated, bringing (especially in the century’s closing decades) rapid disciplinary changes in neuroscience (e.g. through the work of William Richard Gowers), psychology and psychotherapy.

The examination of human consciousness also occurred in the nineteenth-century novel. The period’s novelists had such a significant part in shaping the discourse on the mind not least because, in the words of Karen Chase, they “did not inherit a supple and illuminating picture of the mind, but […] had to construct it for themselves, taking insights where they found them.”

We invite submissions of around 7,000 words on any aspect of the theme. Possible topics include but are by no means limited to:

•    The novel as shaping and shaped by discourses on psychology, the mind, and the brain.
•    Mental science and poetry; the “psychological monologue”.
•    Animal dissection and vivisection.
•    The brain as central organ of the nervous system, mind and body as connected; the concept of the mental faculties; the soul as (no longer) extra-corporeal; religion vs scientific psychology. The senses.
•    The mind as culturally formed; national and international conceptions of psychology.
•    The gendered brain and its implications (gender as a universal taxonomy).
•    The Victorian mind in childhood.
•    The theatrical brain: displaying thought and memory on the Victorian stage; depicting mental illness and madness; character interiority; psychology and actor training.
•    Altered states of mind: drug use; mesmerism, hypnosis and trance; dreams and daydreams; somnambulis.
•    Memory and/or trauma; memory and objects (from diaries to post-mortem photography). Sites and cultures of remembering and forgetting.
•    Different disciplines and disciplinary developments: evolutionary and developmental psychology. Psychoanalysis: pre-Freudian concepts of the psyche.
•    Mental illness: asylums, “moral management”; depression; delusions; puerperal disorders; links between mental and bodily health.
•    Insanity and the law  (criminality, legislation, fitness to stand trial); the development of forensic psychology; insanity and sensation.
•    Automatism and volition: new conceptions of the unconscious (e.g. as possessing agency); the unconscious vs habit and self-discipline: automatism, responsibility and accountability.
•    4e cognition (embodied, embedded, enacted and extended cognition) and Victorian literature and culture.
•     “wound culture”: its roots in the industrial nineteenth century, and the attendant renegotiation of private identity in public terms.
•    Neo-Victorian representations of any issue outlined above.
All submissions should conform to MHRA house style and the in-house submission guidelines. Submissions should be received by 15 August 2015. Contact:

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

CFP: 'The Victorians and Memory', AJVS special issue (Deadline: 10 Aug 2015)

AJVS is a refereed multi-disciplinary journal published by the Australasian Victorian Studies Association (AVSA), with articles in Victorian Studies welcome from any disciplinary or cross-disciplinary area of the humanities, particularly from Australasian scholars or on topics relating to the region. While this call is for a special issue, papers on other topics/themes for general issues may also be submitted via the OJS system (see below for link to register, login, and submit).

Special Issue, 'The Victorians and Memory'. Deadline 10 August 2015

Following on from the recent AVSA Conference in Auckland, and inspired by the great range of papers given there, the Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies is calling for papers relating to this theme. Topics may include but are not limited to print culture, poetics, museums, science, hauntings, historiography, memory (and forgetting), colonial and post-colonial memory, politics, memorials, biography, memoir, art, film, theatre.  Authors need not have presented at the conference, and any papers that were delivered should be reworked as scholarly articles before submission to the Journal - please see the ‘Author Guidelines’ at the AJVS website.

Papers should be 5-7,000 words in length, be accompanied by an abstract, and use MLA style citations. Please register and submit via the online journal’s website.

Co-editors for this issue will be Professor Joanne Wilkes, University of Auckland and Assoc. Prof. Meg Tasker, Federation University Australia,  If you have any problems with the online registration or submission process, you may email the Journal Manager, Dr Kris Moruzi or Meg Tasker as General Editor.  Please note that the Journal will be moving to a new publishing system at the end of the year, so submissions after August may not be able to be lodged online. The new server/host will be announced once confirmed. We expect to use the same software and will continue to operate as a free open-access journal.  All back issues will be preserved.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Extended CFP: ICVWW, From Bronte to Bloomsbury (6-7 July 2015)

The deadline has been extended for the ICVWW From Bronte to Bloomsbury
Second International Conference: Reassessing Women Writers of the 1860s and 1870s.

Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th July 2015, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK
Keynote speakers: Prof Lyn Pykett (Aberystwyth) and Prof Adrienne Gavin (ICVWW)

Including the work of canonical authors such as Charlotte Brontë and Virginia Woolf, the project is also significantly concerned with rediscovering and repositioning the lives and work of neglected female authors.

Following the project's very successful first conference in 2014, devoted to women's writing of the 1840s and 1850s, this call for papers seeks proposals for papers that explore the range and vitality of British women's writing from 1860-1879. Particularly welcome are papers which encourage new perspectives on literary genre, the critical reception of women writers, or canon formation.

The 1860s and 1870s saw the beginning of an organised 'Women's Movement' and a heightened awareness of the subversive potential of female authorship. Fears for the moral health of the nation were exacerbated by the Girl of the Period and the explosion of 'sensation' novels in the wake
of Lady Audley's Secret and East Lynne ; respectable women campaigned against The Contagious Diseases Acts, Queen Victoria was widowed and the Married Women's Property Act was passed.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  *   Sensation fiction and crime writing
  *   Novels of the 'neglected' 1870s
  *   Literary censorship
  *   Journalism and periodical writing
  *   Letters, diaries and memoirs
  *   Children's literature
  *   Lesser known women writers such as Rhoda Broughton, Anne Thackeray Ritchie etc

2015 marks the centenary of the death of Mary Braddon, Queen of the Circulating Libraries and key popular writer of the 1860s. Material from the Braddon Archive, held privately from her death until it was deposited with the ICVWW in 2012, will be displayed during the conference, which will also include a round table in collaboration with the Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association.

300 word abstracts and a 100-150 word biographical note can now be sent to the organisers Adrienne Gavin, Carolyn Oulton and Alyson Hunt at <> by the new deadline: 30 April 2015.

CFP: Neo-Victorianism and Discourses of Education, Special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies

Special Issue of Neo-Victorian Studies – extended deadline: 15 October 2015

The nineteenth century saw the beginnings of mass education in Britain and elsewhere, while the more recent millennial turn has seen a range of reforms and ‘revolutions’ within educational systems world-wide, not least the insistent commercialisation of universities and a concomitant move to redefining educators and students as ‘service providers’ and ‘customers’ respectively. A large number of neo-Victorian novels are set in or engage with educational contexts, including universities, libraries, anatomy schools, private tutoring/governessing, ragged schools, and art colleges, mirroring the settings and concerns with Bildung in canonical works by Victorian writers such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, and others.

Just as significantly, however, are contemporary self-conscious engagements with inherited nineteenth-century ideas regarding the purposes and ethos of education, such as character building, civic identity formation, the connection between personal and societal development, issues of widening access, the inculcation of moral values and national ideologies, and the perception that education systems serve as ‘engines’ of the economy. Then as now, however, prevalent concerns and anxieties about the achievements and failings of education hardly constituted a monolithic uncontested discourse; rather they divided public opinion and provoked continuous political and societal debate, much as these same concerns continue to do today.

This special issue will explore how neo-Victorian works contribute to this on-going debate by foregrounding the ‘origins’ of modern-day educational systems and approaches. What particular aspects of nineteenth-century education are highlighted and why? What are the main points of contention? How do today’s politicians appropriate (past) educational discourses for party-specific agendas? To what extent are nineteenth-century educational models proposed as alternatives to present-day problems in education? What nineteenth-century educational aims and ideals are depicted as still unfulfilled and unrealised? Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:
·         the discourse of universal access and the move to ‘mass’ higher education
·         education as a means for national progress and economic development
·         Gradgrindean echoes of educational utilitarianism and measurable outcomes (performance statistics, league tables, proportional admission targets for economically disadvantaged groups, etc.)
·         representations and biofictions of educators and students past and present
·         curriculum changes and modifications, including tailoring courses to ‘consumer’ demand, the high proportion of nineteenth-century content (e.g. slavery, the British Empire, the US Civil War), links to conservative political agendas, targeted funding, and the recent valorisation of  Science and Technology over the disparaged Arts and Humanities
·         higher education, universities,  and the growing centrality of research and publication to institutional identities since the nineteenth century
·         Bildung and the Bildungsroman tradition (the idea of character formation, education in civic responsibilities, education as nation-building, etc.)
·         desired outcomes (the ideal of rational autonomy, personal development, societal prosperity and progress, production of a skilled workforce, national and international competitiveness, graduate attributes, etc.)
·         the emergence of disciplines at the nineteenth-century fin-de-siècle vs. more recent moves towards interdisciplinary teaching and research
·         the ethos of future pasts: nineteenth-century models, unrealised ambitions, and anticipated trajectories in education systems
·         discourses of liberal humanism and neo-liberalism, the impact on education of laissez-faire economics, and the revitalisation of (Smiles’) ‘self-help’ discourse
·         education and creativity, including Ruskinean notions of curiosity, mystery and wonder, discursive constructions of creativity, and the harnessing of creativity for  capitalism
·         education, industry, and the shift to a knowledge-based society in the information age

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Frances Kelly at and Judith Seaboyer at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 October 2015 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.