[UPDATE] NVSA 2011--Systems and Archives.

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Victorian Studies Association
contact email: 

*NVSA solicits submissions for its annual conference; the topic this year is SYSTEMS AND ARCHIVES.* The conference will take place at the University of Maryland: April 15-17, 2011. The keynote speakers will be: Bernard Lightman, Paul Saint-Amour, and Catherine Robson.

The Northeast Victorian Studies Association calls for papers considering the ways Victorians organized information, knowledge, concepts, phenomena, and materials. They classified, categorized, connected, synthesized, and unified; they constructed technological, conceptual, and theoretical systems; they archived historical records and artifacts. This year's conference will take up that Victorian systematizing, its forms of organization and its explanatory structures. What kind of systems and systematic thinking were developed in the period? What is distinctive about Victorian approaches to systems? How and why did Victorians arrange, record, and store information? What are the metaphors of systems? What kind of subjects generated archives and what were the principles of organization? What constitutes an archive and is an archive always a system? And how and why were systems resisted? We especially seek papers that reflect upon the nature, conceptions, and representation of systems and archives.

Topics may include:

Institutional, Political, and Social Systems

- Class

- Education

- Political economy

- Imperial systems

- Religion

- Finance and Banking

- Penal systems

- Corporations

- Parliamentary system

- Judicial systems

- Land tenure system

- Systematic Theology

- The Poor Law

- Moral systems and systems of belief

- Resistance to such systems

Technological Systems

- Railway

- Sewage

- Electrical system

- Mechanical systems

- Telegraph

Disciplines and/as Systems

- Systems in sociology: Herbert Spencer

- Anthropology systems, e.g. kinship,

- Mathematics

- Psychology and systematic understandings of the mind

- Systems in the sciences:

Electro-magnetic systems

Biological systems

Bodily systems, e.g. nervous system, neural system, digestive system, reproductive system, the human as system

Solar and stellar systems

Medical systems

Environmental systems

Systems of natural formations---glacier, geological, etc.

Motion of material systems---dynamics

Zoological systems

Chemical systems

Botanical systems


Literary Systems

- Versification

- Systems of classifying fiction; realist, sensation, etc.

- Philology

- Linguistics

Systems of Representation and the Representation of Systems

- Numerical systems

- Braille

- Linguistic systems

- Shorthand systems

- Monetary systems

- Systems of logic

- Chemical notation

- Diagrams and charts

- What are the metaphors of systems---e.g., organicist and mechanical, equilibrium and entropy

- What role did the natural sciences play in Victorian conceptualizing of systems?

Systematic Theorists and System Builders

e.g., J. S. Mill, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, George Henry Lewes, William Whewell, Henry Mayhew, John Henry Newman, Bernard Bosanquet , Auguste Comte.

Systems and Anti-systems

- Paranoia and conspiracy

- Design vs. coincidence

- Anarchy

- Satires of systematic thinking, e.g. Dickens

Victorian Archives

- Who had archives and why?

- What did the Victorians collect and how did they organize those materials?

- Zoos and gardens as imperial archives

- The archive of others/the other as archive

- The relationship between museums and archives

Contemporary Archives and the Victorian Period

- How do we organize, collect, and store Victorian texts? How do our archives affect our understanding of the period?

- Electronic archives and systems, e.g. ProQuest, Google Books.

Archives and History/Archives and Theory

- The rise of archival research in history: what is specifically Victorian about archival systems?

- What did Foucault do to our notion of archives and knowledge systems and what does a post-Foucauldian notion of the archive look like?

The Media of Archives

- What counts as archival evidence?

- Permanent versus ephemeral archives

- Sound technology

- Photography

Proposals (no more than 500 words) by Oct. 15, 2010 (e-mail submissions only, please): Professor Tanya Agathocleous, Chair, NVSA Program Committee, tagathoc@hunter.cuny.edu.

Please note: all submissions to NVSA are evaluated anonymously. Successful proposals will stay within the 500-word limit and make a compelling case for the talk and its relation to the conference topic. Please do not send complete papers, and do not include your name on the proposal. Please do include your name, institutional and email addresses, and proposal title in a cover letter. Papers should take 15 minutes (20 minutes maximum) so as to provide ample time for discussion.

For information about NVSA membership and travel grants, please visit the NVSA website at http://nvsa.org/