Thursday, 3 November 2016

CFP: "Family Ties" Symposium, 12-14 February 2017, University of Otago, Dunedin

Adam Walker and  His Family by George Romney (1796-1801)
(c) National Portrait Gallery, London
Family Ties: Exploring Kinship and Creative Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain
12-14 February 2017, Dunedin New Zealand

Plenary Speakers:
Judith Pascoe, University of Iowa
Devoney Looser, Arizona State University

Conference website

In 1800, poet and playwright Joanna Baillie dedicated her Series of Plays to her physician brother Matthew Baillie for his “unwearied zeal and brotherly partiality”; Matthew himself had recently edited the anatomical research of their uncles, John and William Hunter. At century’s end, Oscar Wilde cited his mother Jane Wilde’s translation of Sidonia the Sorceress (1849) and his great-uncle Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) as his “favourite romantic reading when a boy.” Family played an important role in the literary and artistic productions of the long nineteenth century, from the Burneys to the Brontës, and the Rossettis to the Doyles. Critical approaches ranging from Noel Annan’s “Intellectual Aristocracy” to Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network-Theory have provided useful ways of assessing and contextualising the role of family in the creative production of writers and artists, but still the role of the family remains underexplored.

Invitation for submissions
We invite submissions for “Family Ties,” a three-day symposium at the University of Otago and Otago Museum focused on British literary and artistic families in the nineteenth century. Topics for 20-minute papers might include:

Interdisciplinary Influences
Collaborations and/or Dissents
Authorial Identity/ies
Communities and Networks
Families and Emotions
Redefining Family Units
Stages of Life (births, marriages, deaths)
Reimaginings of nineteenth-century families
Families, Creativity, and Empire
Economics of Family Authorship
Literary and Artistic Legacies
Little-known Relations
Generational Influences
Please send abstracts of 250-300 words by 15 November to Dr Thomas McLean and Dr Ruth Knezevich at

The symposium coincides with “Keeping it in the Family: British and Irish Literary Generations 1770-1930,” an exhibition at Otago’s Special Collections, and precedes the 16–19 February RSAA conference in Wellington, New Zealand. There are direct flights between Dunedin and Wellington, and we hope many participants will attend both events. “Family Ties” is made possible by generous support from the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund. It will be an opportunity to share the first results of the three-year Marsden funded project, “Global Romantics: How the Porter Family Shaped Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature.”

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