NVSA 2015: Victorian Accidents

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Northeast Victorian Studies Association
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NVSA 2015: Victorian Accidents (10/15/2014; 4/10-12/2015)

Call for Papers
NVSA 2015
University of Rhode Island
April 10-12, 2015
Deadline: October 15, 2014

The Northeast Victorian Studies Association encourages papers on any aspect of chance, disaster, contingency, and the unexpected, as well as reflections on how Victorians imagined the category of the accidental.

How did an era consumed with the creation of totalizing systems account for chance? How could accidents seem at once spectacular and routine, tragic and entirely expected? How did accidents register on the sensorium? How did the fear and titillation they aroused shape Victorian sensibilities? What does it mean to see the random as an agent of historical (or evolutionary) change? What efforts arose to fit accidents into patterns, to transcend the merely contingent? What is the relationship between accident and crisis, between deviation from a normal course of events and predicted change over time? How are accidents productive in literary terms, whether as plot twists, ironies or creative misreadings? How did Victorians try to mitigate the problem of accidents—through such varied means as social reform, insurance plans, and the elaboration of religious or philosophical systems that could make the accidental appear irrelevant? How did the Victorians confront the unintended consequences of technological change and geopolitical development?

Papers may focus on historical, literary, philosophical, financial or scientific accidents, and their impact on the construction of meaning throughout the Victorian era.

Topics might include but are not limited to:
• Theorizing the accident
• Accidents of transportation and exploration
• Industrial accidents
• Geopolitical mischances and blowback
• Panics
• Literary forms and the plotting of accident
• Regulating chance
• Preventing accidents
• The opposite of accident

NVSA's 2015 keynote panel will feature Elaine Freedgood (New York University), Ross Hamilton (Barnard), and Jason Puskar (University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee).

Please submit proposals (of no more than 500 words and in Word format) by Oct. 15, 2014 to Greg Vargo, Chair, NVSA Program Committee at greg.vargo@nyu.edu. Please note that proposals to NVSA are evaluated anonymously.

For more information, please visit http://www.nvsa.org/2015%20CFP%20Final.pdf