CFP: Post-Colonial Victorians? A Conversation across Borders (UK) (1/31/06; 6/2/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Bianca Jackson

Post-Colonial Victorians?
A Conversation across Borders

Linacre College, University of Oxford, 2 June 2006


The shaping force of Empire on nineteenth-century British and colonial cultures, as well as on the developing cultures of post-colonial states, has been the subject of much of the most exciting recent work in both Victorian and Postcolonial studies. The heavy traffic in themes and motifs, and in genres, narratives and plots between the metropolis and the colonies that is evident across the nineteenth century, and which persists in residual and reactive ways in post-colonial cultures suggests that there are multiple points of overlap and interaction, of historical continuity and contrast. Despite much shared ground, however, the current constitution of the academic fields of the historicist and British-focused Victorian studies and the more theoretically self-conscious and globally oriented Postcolonial studies has meant that conversations between the two areas have sometimes been difficult or disrupted. In this one-day symposium on metropolitan, colonial and post-colonia
 l cultures, we wish to stage a conversation between Victorian and Postcolonial studies at the present time, to consider areas of overlap and indebtedness, as well as points of contest and disavowal. What are the points of recognition and misrecognition?

At its most obvious level then, we want to address the question, how does Victorian culture look under the lens of Postcolonial theory? In what ways do critical concepts regarding, for instance, race, hybridity, marginality, cosmopolitanism, etc., add to our understanding of Victorian literature and culture? But we also want to reverse the question and interrogate the Victorian colonial legacy in Postcolonial studies: for instance, to what extent do the critical vocabulary and the political strategies of Postcolonial studies draw on concepts which originate in a nineteenth-century colonial context? How far is the analytical work of Postcolonial studies framed by nineteenth-century literary and scientific discourses? How useful has the notion of 'writing back' to the Empire been as either a political tactic or an analytical tool?

We are looking for 250 word proposals for 20 minute papers on any topics relating to the interrelationships between Victorian and Postcolonial Studies. Specific topics might include, but are not restricted to

∑ Repression and resistance within nineteenth-century colonial discourse
∑ Post-colonial rewritings of nineteenth-century literary texts
∑ Body, sexuality and/or health in colonial and post-colonial contexts
∑ Race and/or class in colonial and post-colonial contexts
∑ Colonial/post-colonial cities / spaces / maps
∑ Decolonisation and the Victorian heritage
∑ Migration / mobility / diaspora / settlement / home
∑ Media / book circulation / networks / reception
∑ Colonial and post-colonial visual cultures
∑ Language/ translation

The event aims to bring together scholars from literary, cultural and historical studies, and other disciplines, at different stages of their career. We welcome proposals from established academics as well as graduate students working in these fields. The conference programme will leave ample room for discussion and debate.

Please send proposals to, or

Deadline for submission: 31 January 2006.

Conference committee:
Stefano Evangelista, Stuti Khanna, Bianca Jackson, Josephine McDonagh, Emma Reisz.

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Received on Mon Dec 05 2005 - 13:15:03 EST