Victorian Stakes and Stakeholders (VISAWUS Seattle Nov. 7-10, 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States
contact email: 

The Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States Conference

7-10 November 2019

Seattle, Washington


There was a lot at stake for the Victorians. Economic expansion, both domestic and imperial, was a high-stakes venture. Emigrants staked their lives on the gamble of settler colonies. The stakes of the marriage market both at home and abroad were high. Prospectors staked claims to natural resources from Kimberley to the Klondike, while inventors staked claims to patents. Explorers, scientists, and speculators gambled with outcomes. The emerging life insurance industry responded to risk-taking with caution and calculation. The moral stakes were high as well: social risk-takers, such as those who were designated New Women or queer subjects, prompted more regulation of bodies, lifestyles, and behaviors.

The Victorians witnessed changes to voting rights, labor laws, women’s property rights, bankruptcy laws, access to education and divorce. What did they stand to win or lose from the rapid political, economic, and social changes during Queen Victoria’s reign? As scholars of the Victorian era, we, too, are stakeholders, invested in the conviction that this period’s history and culture matter still. What are the stakes of teaching the Victorians today?

We welcome papers on any of above, or the following topics:

  • Social reform stakeholders
  • Unionization and labor reform
  • Risky laws, legal risks
  • The rise in women’s status
  • Food and adulteration
  • Gambling, greed
  • Religious controversy, wagering on redemption
  • Fin-de-siècle forms
  • The business of performance and theatre
  • High-stakes fashion
  • Weaponry and nationalism
  • Engineering, environmental control
  • Exploration, experimentation, and discovery
  • Urban stakeholders, rural stakeholders
  • Race, miscegenation, and passing
  • Bodily risk
  • Politics, elections, and protests
  • Illegitimacy, orphans, adoption, infanticide
  • Social deviance and regulation
  • Imperial ventures and investments
  • Shifts in musical composition and consumption
  • Material culture, the decorative arts, architecture
  • Money, fraud, and financial instruments
  • The literary market, literary agents
  • The media, new technologies, and new forms
  • Changes and turmoil in university life
  • Victorian/ist pedagogies, professors and students as stakeholders

Please send a 300-word paper proposal and a one-page CV to by March 31, 2019.

Graduate Students are eligible for the William H. Scheuerle Graduate Student Paper Award ($600).

For more information about VISAWUS, please visit: