Mapping Victorian Empires, Cultures, Identities, May 13-16, 2019

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Zoe Beenstock, University of Haifa

A conference on nineteenth-century literature, art, and history to be held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Haifa, co-sponsored by the University of California Dickens Project:

Nineteenth-century British culture was preoccupied with the paradigm of mapping across diverse areas of enterprise, including literature, popular culture, journalism, archeology, and art. Scholars have identified Victorian practices of mapping with the strategies of imperial planning and compartmentalization requisite for organizing a burgeoning empire, and for subsequent negotiations of shifting definitions of home. 

We propose examining mapping in its various manifestations, from analyses of direct representations of maps in nineteenth-century literary texts and their cultural afterlives, through discussions of mapping as an aesthetic praxis with its own figurative imaginary.  Our location in Jerusalem and Haifa will also allow us the opportunity to explore conceptions of the Holy Land as part of the concept of the west in British culture of the long nineteenth century – both metaphorically, as a symbol of western longing for the ancient land of the Bible, and politically, as the much-coveted Ottoman-ruled territory located on strategic trade routes. Our assumption is that studying this legacy will provide a prototype for investigating the theological motivations underlying modern geo-political ideologies in respect to the Middle East.

Topics may include:

  • Ordnance Survey Maps and street naming
  • London as the metropolis of Empire
  • Narrative mapping – narrative delineations of routes and boundaries
  • Mapping British Cultures 
  • Mapping the human landscape: ethnicities, races, classes, genders
  • Mapping the senses in the modern global empire
  • Mental and cognitive aspects of mapping or map reading
  • Women in the Situation of Empire
  • Empire at home
  • Empire in theatres and opera houses
  • Empire within — Psychology and Affect
  • Imperialism and Evangelism
  • Mapping Australasia and the antipodes
  • The East and British Citizens
  • Orientalisms: Enlightenment, Victorian, Self-orientalizing
  • Victorian Culture and the Secularization thesis
  • Victorian imperial afterlives and neo-Victorian representations
  • The persistence of empire
  • Victorians and the Arab world
  • Nineteenth century Zionism/ proto-Zionism

Keynote Speakers: Regenia Gagnier: “Global Circulation and the Long Nineteenth Century”; Robert L. Patten: “Mapping Dickens.”

Regenia Gagnier is Professor of English at the University of Exeter and the author of Idylls of the Marketplace: Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Public; Subjectivities: A History of Self-Representation in Britain 1832-1920; The Insatiability of Human Wants: Economics and Aesthetics in Market Society; Individualism, Decadence and Globalization: on the Relationship of Part to Whole 1859-1920; and the forthcoming Literatures of Liberalization: Global Circulation and the Long Nineteenth Century. She specializes in the global circulation and transculturation of political-economic languages, ideologies, commodities and institutions.


Robert L. Patten is Lynette S. Autrey Professor Emeritus in Humanities and Emeritus Professor of English, Rice University, and Senior Research Scholar, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. He has written extensively about Victorian print history, fiction and art. His two-volume biography of George Cruikshank was named the biography of the decade in a 1999 Guardian review, and his 2013 Charles Dickens and “Boz” won the Colby Prize from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. Within Victorian studies, he specializes in Dickens, his illustrators, and the business of publishing. He has also written about Charlotte Bronte, Tennyson, and nineteenth-century European realism in poetry, fiction, art, and theatre.

Please address inquiries and submit a 500-word proposal and 1-page CV to the organizers: Zoe Beenstock and Galia Benziman no later than October 31, 2018.

Advisory Committee:

Eitan Bar-Yosef, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Murray Baumgarten, University of California Santa Cruz; Zoe Beenstock, University of Haifa; Galia Benziman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; John Jordan, University of California Santa Cruz; Milette Shamir, Tel Aviv University; Leona Toker, Hebrew University of Jerusalem