CFP: Victorian Fatigue (10/15/05; NVSA, 4/7/06-4/9/06)

full name / name of organization: 
James Adams
contact email: 

Northeast Victorian Studies
2006 Conference

32nd Annual Meeting: April 7-9, 2006 at Drew University, Madison, NJ.

NVSA welcomes proposals for papers on the topic of Victorian Fatigue

                 In a culture proverbially work-obsessed, relentlessly
energetic, innovative, imperially and technologically expansive, endlessly
inventive, why does fatigue play so important a role in its art, its
theory, its science, even its pharmacopeia? What might the Victorians look
like seen through the lens of fatigue rather than of work? How are various
forms of fatigue (exhaustion, indolence, boredom, stress, degeneration,
entropy, etc.) understood, not only ethically, or in economic discourse,
but in medicine, aesthetics, psychology, technology, and the emerging
social sciences? What role does fatigue play in the era's major scientific
theories? How and to what extent are norms within these diverse realms
defined in terms of, or motivated by, the challenge of fatigue? How might
fatigue be imagined, not only as a threat but also as a potential pleasure,
an objective or completion or fulfillment?

Topics might include (but are not limited to):

            The gospel of work and its discontents: fatigue as anxiety,
impetus, fulfillment, ground of resistance

            Body and mind: weakness, nervous exhaustion, invalidism,
depression, insomnia, narcolepsy, neurasthenia, indolence (debilitating
and/or luxuriant), boredom, ennui, sensory overload, affective exhaustion,
the gendering of fatigue

            Social and cultural fatigue: degeneration, decadence, decline;
worn-out or exhausted ideologies, artistic forms, discourses, traditions,
points of view

             Natural and technological fatigue: entropy, degeneration,
mechanical fatigue (engineering stress, metal fatigue, corrosion),
technological obsolescence

             Forms of treatment: exercise, sport, relaxation, vacations,
rest cures, spas, stimulants (chemical and otherwise), opiates, sleep,
asylums, domestic comforts, cultural renewal

             Energy and fatigue in the discourses of empire and national

             For a teaching roundtable, we also welcome separate proposals
regarding the relations between undergraduate and graduate instruction in
Victorian literature and culture: how do the aims, expectations, emphases,
and challenges of teaching the Victorians vary at different
levels? (Roundtable contributors should aim at creating an atmosphere for
stimulating discussion rather than presenting a formal paper.)

Proposals (no more than two double-spaced pages) by Oct. 15, 2005 (e-mail
submissions encouraged):

Professor Eileen Gillooly e-mail:
Chair, NVSA Program Committee
English Department
602 Philosophy Hall
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027

Please do not send complete papers, and do not include your name on your
proposal: we review proposals anonymously. 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 discussion time.

James Eli Adams
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English
Cornell University
Goldwin Smith 250
Ithaca, NY 14850-3201
(607) 255-4895/255-6800 fax: 607-255-6661

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Received on Wed Aug 17 2005 - 06:04:37 EDT