Romantic Orients, 3 July 2015

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Van Midert College, Durham University

The increased global prominence of Asian economies has entailed greater scholarly attention to historic interactions with the East. Recent scholarship has disseminated neglected materials relevant to British engagements with Asia in the early nineteenth century – such as travel narratives, diplomacy, and trade records – and how these inform culture of the period. Yet there remains a need to interpret the significance of such material: how do Romantic-period interactions with Asia contribute to perceptions of the continent that have lasted into present times? Is it misleading to evaluate Romantic attitudes to China and Japan using modern Orientalist scholarship, a theoretical framework derived from studies of the Islamic world, and with emphasis on the legacies of Victorian imperialism?

This one-day conference will explore perceptions of Asia during the Romantic period, with focus on literature and its interdisciplinary dialogues, and the possibility of theorising Orientalist modes of the time.

Keynote Address: Professor Michael Franklin, University of Swansea

Topics may include, but are not limtied to:
Theorising Romantic Orients
Travel narratives
Performing Asia in popular entertainment
British missionaries in Asia
Trade: tea, opium, silk
Exotic disease
Receptions of Asian culture in Europe
Scientific exchange: astronomy, mathematics

Please submit abstracts (300 words) to by 31 January 2015
Conference fee: £25/£10 waged/unwaged.

More details can be found on the conference webpage: