UPDATE: Communities and Collectivities in Victorian Britain (5/18/07; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Colene Bentley
contact email: 

Communities and Collectivities in Victorian Britain (5/18/07; collection)

UPDATE: Deadline for proposals extended until May 18, 2007

We are seeking abstracts for essays to be included in a proposed
collection on the topic of political communities and collectivities in
Victorian Britain. This collection will focus on the categories of
"community" and "collectivity" in order to explore the politics of group
identity and affiliation in Victorian literature. Specifically, we are
interested in the ways in which literature illuminated what it meant to
individuals and to groups to commit to a political cause or ideal.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to, 19C discussions and/or
theorizations of democracy, liberalism, political economy, social
welfare, social activism, or public policy. Historicist accounts of
literature's engagement with, for example, labor or protest movements,
women's associations, or public policy initiatives are welcome, as are
historical and contemporary theoretical approaches to community (e.g.,
those deriving from political philosophy, ethics, anthropology, or

Our aim in this collection is threefold: first, to bring into view the
ways in which aspects of shared life redefined the political landscape
of Victorian Britain; two, to illustrate the ways in which literature
contributed to this redefinition, especially through the process of
group identity and affiliation; and three, to bring together the
categories of community and collectivity in order to examine new
historicist political readings alongside larger theoretical ones. Using
the terms "community" and "collectivity" to denote, respectively,
theoretical and purposive group identities, we hope to further a lively
inter- and intra-disciplinary conversation in the field of Victorian

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

-theories of community in the period
-newly-formed collectives in the period
-narrative and new social and/or political movements
-literary form and community/collectivity
-religion and community/collectivity (Do religious groups define
themselves in political terms? How so, and to what purpose? What is
the relationship between religious groups and secular political ideals?)
-urban and/or rural communities or collectivities
-cultural practices (art, theater, illustration, periodicals) and
-private forms of community (What happens when the family discusses
politics? What do these discussions tell us about new political formations?)
-manifestos and pamphlets (How do various political manifestos and/or
pamphlets engage with the theoretical and practical questions of
community and collectivity?)

Deadline for 3-4 page proposals: May 18, 2007. Please direct inquiries
to Colene Bentley (cbentley_at_rice.edu) or Barbara Leckie
(barbara_leckie_at_carleton.ca). Deadline for final essays (5,000-8,000
words) of accepted proposals: September 15, 2007
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         or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Thu Apr 26 2007 - 18:06:49 EDT

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