World Congress 2023 on Comparative Empire

deadline for submissions: 
July 25, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies
contact email: 

Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies 

First World Congress, June 19-22, 2023
Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914

Confirmed plenary speakers:
Joy DAMOUSI (Director, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, ACU), “War, Refugees, and Displacement in the Global Nineteenth Century: Enduring Aftermaths”

Robbie GOH (Provost, Singapore University of Social Sciences), “Missionaries, Mediation, Mobility: The Travels (and Travails) of Protestant Christian Ideas in South- and Southeast Asian Societies in the Nineteenth Century”

TAN Tai Yong (President, Yale-NUS College), “Circulations, Connections, and Networks: Singapore in Maritime Southeast Asia”

Lily KONG (President, Singapore Management University), Title TBA


Leah Lui-Chivizhe (University of Technology, Sydney), “Decolonising Museum Collections? What’s In It for Origin Communities?”

Graham Law (Waseda University), “Global Distribution of Popular Fiction: Forms of Circulation and Circulation of Forms”

Donna Brunero (National University of Singapore), “Empire and Imperial Identity: Royal Tours and Pageantry in the Long Nineteenth Century”

Adeline Johns-Putra (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University), “Empire, Climate, and Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century: Comparative Histories of China and ‘the West’”

Joshua L. Reid (University of Washington), “The Indigenous Pacific in the Age of Colonialism”

Maria Taroutina (Yale-NUS College), “Encounter, Race, and Representation: Painting Empire in the ‘Long’ Nineteenth Century”

CALL FOR PAPERSBy the time the First World War erupted in 1914, most inhabitants of the globe resided within an empire, either as citizens of a colonizing power or as subjects of colonial rule. The preceding “long nineteenth century” had witnessed the rise of various empires with significant overseas colonial possessions—such as Britain, France, the Dutch Republic (subsequently the Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Meiji Japan—to coexist alongside imperial powers contained within contiguous land masses, including the Ottoman, Russian, and Qing empires.

For its first world congress to be held in Singapore from 19 to 22 June 2023, the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies is pleased to invite proposals on the theme of “Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914.” We welcome proposals for papers and panels that consider forms of interimperial exchanges between empires during this period. Topics may include (but are not limited to):  

-trading, manufacturing, and financial activities between and across empires
-comparative literary undergrounds
-anticolonial aesthetics
-enslavement, exile, displacement, and forced or unforced migration
-microhistorical and biographical comparisons of the experience of empire-frontiers, borderlands, boundaries
-forms of diplomacy (embassies, consulates, treaties, accords), modes of foreign relations (bilateral, multilateral)
-oceanic and overland journeys, travel, tourism
-comparative figures of empire (portraiture, sculpture, decorative objects)
-cultures of exploration (botanical, missionary, statistical, cartographic)
-historiographies of empire
-explanations for empire: economic, geopolitical, cultural, institutional
-conceptualizations of empire (the what, how, and why of empire) as well as conceptual terminology (transimperialism, postcolonialism, and so on)
-colonial propaganda
-cross-cultural literary texts, theories, and practices as well as comparative realisms, epic, comics/illustrations, etc.
-competition over colonial possessions (wars, conflicts, scrambles) and over expansionist strategies
-continuities and differences among empires across the long nineteenth century
-evidencing empire (photography, oral history, documentation, archives)
-imperial networking and networks
-literary traffic, circulations, contacts outside the centre–periphery model
-cultural traffic between imperial powers and colonies
-movements of animals, objects, ideas, and knowledge across empires
-responses to the global spread of disease (sharing of medical knowledge, differing forms of treatment)
-the language(s) of empire and linguistic homogenization and differentiation
-colonial music institutions, intercultural theater collaborations and performances
-religion and colonialism
-the politics of empire and the practices of anthropology

Although individual paper and panel proposals that confine themselves to the study of a single empire will be considered, we are especially interested in work that encompasses more than one imperial power. In addition to paper and panel proposals related to the conference theme, we also welcome proposals for prearranged special panels on the following two approaches:

Methodology OR Pedagogy Roundtables: Sessions focused on methodological approaches to studying and practical strategies for teaching the nineteenth century in a global context.

Big Ideas: Sessions focused on a single thought-provoking topic related to the conference theme. The format may vary from standard panels (three presenters and a moderator) to lightning roundtables (five to eight presenters delivering short, provocative position papers) to others that may be proposed.

Finally, we welcome proposals for Posters to be displayed in our expo area. Proposals should be on one of five topics: 1) global environments and sustainable development (particularly appropriate for undergraduate submissions); 2) model practices in global nineteenth-century studies (individual instructors and institutional programs); 3) short- and long-term study abroad and the global nineteenth century; 4) intra- and interinstitutional cooperation to advance the study of the global nineteenth century; and 5) facilitating learning among scholars from different fields.

Individual paper proposals should consist of an abstract (200-250 words), brief biography (80-100 words), and full contact information in a single pdf for Word file. Panel proposals should include abstracts for 3-4 papers, a brief rationale that connects the papers (100-200 words), and biographies of each participant (80-100 words) in a single pdf or Word file. Successful panel proposals will include participants from more than one institution, and, ideally, represent a mix of disciplines/fields and career stages. Panel proposals should also indicate the category for evaluation: general conference program or special session; Methodology or Pedagogy Roundtable; or Big Ideas). Although the working language of the conference is English, a limited number of slots will be available for presentations in Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay. Presenters, panel chairs, and workshop participants must be current members of the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies. For more information on membership, visit Proposals and questions should be directed to the Program Committee: Please visit the 2023 Congress website for the most up-to-date information: