Seeking Panelists for NAVSA 2013: "Evidence Gone Wild: Victorian Animality and Sexuality"

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NAVSA 2013: "Evidence"
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Dear Victorian Scholars of Sexuality:

I am a PhD candidate in English literature at Indiana University-Bloomington seeking fellow scholars of Victorian animality and/or sexuality with whom to propose a panel for NAVSA 2013 on Evidence. I would prefer other scholars who have ABD status or who are faculty at universities, but of course exceptions can be made.

The deadline for NAVSA 2013 submissions is March 1, 2013.

Below is a brief and provisional abstract (250 words) on the panel as I see it now (the parameters of the panel are adjustable):

"Evidence Gone Wild: Victorian Animality and Sexuality"

In recent years, Victorian scholars of sexuality have considered embodiment as agential rather than merely reactive in shaping Victorian sexualities. Animal studies, in its focus on embodiment not necessarily mediated through language, has emerged as an important force in the field of Victorian sexualities. The resurgence of Darwin studies since the bicentennial of his birth has kindled interest in Victorian animality, and scholars have emphasized the variation within what might seem homogenous animal populations. Darwin's focus on animal embodiment brought to light differences in animal embodiments; there is no singular animal body, but animal bodies. What Darwin's corpus also brought to the fore was the inextricability between the animal and the sexual: Victorian systematic accounts of the animal appeared nearly coterminously with the first systematic accounts of the sexual in the form of sexology. Animal studies has therefore served as an important partner to Victorian queer studies, as both discover ways in which Victorian sexuality, too, was more diverse and surprising than had been imagined. In light of the conference theme on evidence, this panel examines the ways in which the materiality of Victorian animals – their corporeality, their capacity to be observed, to evade observation, to inspire and thwart observable actions in humans – made and unmade Victorian sexualities. Exploring medical accounts to literature, our panel examines the ways in which writers figured animals, from domestic cats to monstrous beasts, as evidence to condemn and to invent the diversification of sexualities, unsettling the terms of the human that remain unresolved today.


If you are looking for fellow NAVSA panelists, and if your work falls within the general parameters of this abstract, I would be very glad to hear from you so that we can move forward in proposing a NAVSA 2013 panel together.

Pasadena, here we come!

Thank you for considering.

Ben Bagocius

PhD candidate in English literature
Book Review editor, _Victorian Studies_
Indiana University-Bloomington