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[update] NeMLA Panel on “VICTORIAN ENERGY CRISES” (Sept. 30 / March 15-18, 2012)
full name / name of organization:
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)—March 15-18, 2012
Panel on “Victorian Energy Crises”
This panel will consider the ways energy, broadly conceived, was theorized, understood, and represented in Victorian literature, science, and material culture.
Throughout the Victorian era some very different conceptions of energy came to increasingly overlap, while others remained differentiated by the material objects with which they were associated or by their gendered, classed, and raced bodily sources. The Gospel of Work, for example, moralized labor as ennobling and masculinizing, while medical discourses constructed female lassitude as a pathology of gender. In other venues, the steam-power of factories and railways was theoretically correlated with the laboring body, and as a result mechanical engines became linked in the popular imagination to new conceptions of the body as a machine, expending labor and consuming nutrition like a “human motor.” The new science of thermodynamics, which produced the era’s most powerful images of energy decay, predicted the “heat death” of the solar system in 30 million years, the calendar H. G. Wells follows when depicting a depleted sun in The Time Machine.
This panel hopes to explore connections between the different knowledges which emerged in the Victorian era to theorize and understand energy, as well as the various cultural forms through which Victorians represented energy at work. Possibilities include the body; affect; machine cultures, engineering, and the physical sciences; ecology and natural resources; medicine, nutrition, and physiology.
Please send 300-400 word proposals by September 30, 2011 to Jessica Kuskey, Syracuse University firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include with your abstract: