CFP: Periodical Literature at UEA – deadline 31 March 2016

Periodical Literature is a one-day conference organised by Dr. Jennie Batchelor of the University of Kent and Dr. James Robert Wood of the University of East Anglia. The conference will take place on Friday 13th May 2016 at the University of East Anglia.

Periodicals take many forms, including essays, newspapers, magazines, and serialized novels. This conference aims to bring together scholars studying periodical literature from its beginnings to the present. Proposals on periodicals written in languages other than English are welcome and encouraged. Both faculty and postgraduate students in the CHASE consortium are warmly encouraged to send proposals.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • How periodicals were compiled, edited, produced, sold, circulated, and read.
  • The formal, visual, and typographical characteristics of periodicals.
  • How periodicals address and seek to mould their readerships.
  • Women’s involvement in the production and consumption of periodicals.
  • The application of “distant reading” methodologies to periodical literature
  • How periodical literature responds to and represents historical changes and crises.

We welcome 200 word abstracts for 20 minute papers by the 31st March 2016.


Dr. Jennie Batchelor ( or Dr. James Wood (

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Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies: Thursday 26 November 2015

Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies
Autumn 2015 Programme

The next event of the autumn term for the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies will feature Ruth Phillips (Carleton University) presenting on ‘Mississauga Methodist: Peter Jones and the Visual Mediation of Ojibwe Identity in Nineteenth-Century Canada’ on Thursday 26 November 2015 from 7.30pm to 9.00pm in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD.

The Reverend Peter Jones, or Kahkewaquonaby, was born in 1802 into an Indigenous world in what is now southern Ontario and died in 1856 as a respected member of a settler society on the brink of achieving self-government within the British empire. The son of a Mississauga mother and a Welsh father, he married into a prominent British Methodist family and devoted his life to missionary work amongst fellow Mississauga traumatized by the rapid dispossession, dislocation, alcoholism and family violence they suffered during the first half of the nineteenth century. This lecture explores Jones’s visual and textual modes of self-fashioning as mediations of these struggles, his own bicultural heritage and the divided loyalties he sought to reconcile.

The session is free and all are welcome, but since the venue has limited space it will be first come, first seated.

For more information, see:

Please email to join our mailing list or to obtain further information about the series.

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CFP: Object Emotions: Polemics – deadline 1st December 2015

Object Emotions: Polemics
(April 15-16, 2016, Cambridge University)

Organizing Committee: Padma Maitland (UC Berkeley); Christopher P. Miller (UC Berkeley); Marta Figlerowicz (Yale U); Hunter Dukes (U Cambridge); Hannah Rose Woods (U Cambridge).

“Object Emotions: Polemics” continues a critical dialogue about new directions in humanities research and theory that began at UC Berkeley in 2013 and continued at Yale in 2015. This series of conferences is inspired by the heightened attention to objects and emotions as new points of entry into history, literature, art, architecture, area studies, and the social sciences. Through focused attention on the role of things and feelings, materials and affects, we aim to foster interdisciplinary reflections about the intersections between thing theory, affect theory, the histories of emotions, and new materialisms.

Papers presented at the two prior meetings addressed topics as varied as the ennui of poetic syntax, the felt traces of Chinese calligraphy, the mixing of pleasure and pain in the design of a nineteenth century girls’ school, and the politics of castration and swordplay in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. These divergent projects were organized into panels around common threads of questions related to spatiality, temporality, personhood, cultural production, and historiography.

Object Emotions: Polemics seeks critical responses to the emergence of these intersecting discourses. For example, how do objects and emotions establish new intellectual grounds, complicate existing histories, and help us question the assumptions that motivate our disciplines? What are the limits to affect theories, object-oriented criticism, or speculative realisms and their local applications? What are the social and political origins of the current turns to emotions and objects? How do we account for the newness of “new materialisms” and how might the use of such theories change when we consider them within other contexts—cultural, social, political? Do these theories extend certain critical biases or discourses of power and how might we restore what has been left out, or occluded by, these new critical turns? How do these approaches to objects and emotions reflect broader struggles with the formation of departments and academic institutions as such?

We welcome papers that address any of these questions, or related ones, with reference to how we might complicate current models for using affect studies, materialisms, or emotional histories in our respective disciplines. We also welcome projects that situate these polemics in relation to specific case studies or individual works of literature, art, or architecture.

Please submit 250-word abstracts to Padma Maitland at by December 1, 2015. We will send responses by December 15, 2015. The conference itself will take place at Cambridge University on April 15-16, 2016.

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Professor Lynda Mugglestone: ‘Rethinking history and historical principles: Andrew Clark and the language of the First World War’ – 19th November

The Queen Mary School of English and Drama’s Postgraduate Research Seminar


Professor Lynda Mugglestone (University of Oxford)

speaking on

‘Rethinking history and historical principles: Andrew Clark and the language of the First World War’


Thursday 19th November

Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Mile End Campus

Queen Mary University of London


That WW1 was a period marked by the failure of language has become a critical truism. It was, to quote Henry James, a period which ‘ran out of words’. Even in the Oxford English Dictionary, the period between 1914 and 918 is marked by what Joan Beal has described as a ‘trough’ of innovation, whether lexical or semantic.  War, she concludes, ‘does not stimulate lexical innovation’. The Words in War-Time Project, running at the University of Oxford, takes a different approach. Using the archival resources assembled by Andrew Clark, a historian, linguist, and writer (and village rector) between August 1914 and the late 1919, it tracks the extraordinary fertility of language and language change at this time. Clark, an erstwhile volunteer on the OED, decided to apply historical principles to language on the move in WW1, moving outside the canonical to explore language use in ephemera, news discourse, advertising, and private letters. This lecture will examine some of the results of the project so far,  as well as their implications for what we might understand about conventional readings of language  and WW1.

Lynda Mugglestone is Professor of the History of English at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. Her publications include Talking Proper: The Rise of Accent as Social Symbol (revised ed. 2007), Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary (2005), Dictionaries: A Very Short Introduction (2011), and, as editor, The Oxford History of English (revised ed. 2012), and Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum (2012). She recently completed Samuel Johnson and the Journey into Words (OUP, 2015), and is currently working on a book about language and the first world war, and running the English Words in War-Time Project at Oxford.

All are welcome. 

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Critical Methods in the Social Sciences: Creativity and Critique: 14th December 2015

Critical Methods in the Social Sciences: Creativity and Critique

Open to: PGRs from the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Schedule: half day workshop, 9.30-12.30 Monday 14 December 2015

Venue: The University of Kent, Canterbury Campus, Cornwallis East, Graduate Training Room (3rd Floor)

One of the central elements of critical methods is that they express a complex relationship between discovery and creativity. At the heart of this complexity is the philosophically rich notion of the event. After a scene-setting presentation into the major themes, the session will focus on open discussion related to the nature of events and how events relate to history and causality.

At stake in these discussions will be questions that are especially pertinent for researchers using methods inspired by the dialectical tradition of modern European philosophy (for example, Hegelian and Marxist approaches) and for those that aim to use genealogical methods within their work (for example, Nietzschean and Foucauldian approaches). This session develops themes raised in the workshop on Critical Methods in the Social Sciences: A Philosophical Introduction but attendance at that workshop is NOT a prerequisite for attendance at this one.

The workshop will be delivered by: Dr Iain McKenzie, School of Politics and International Relations.

Fees: Free to Kent postgraduates, and PGRs in Kent doctoral training partnership institutions.*

Booking: Please book your space through Kent’s Online Store. More information on our fee structure and cancellation policy is available at this link.

* Birkbeck, The Courtauld Institute, UEA, Essex, Goldsmiths, Open University, Reading, RHUL, SOAS, Surrey, Sussex.

For further information please contact Dr Jo Collins (

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Performing identity and politics: two productions of ‘The Unknown Soldier’ – 19th November

Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre is delighted to present a lecture by Professor Hanna Korsberg, University of Helsinki, on Thursday 19 November, 4-5.00pm, in G10, 43 Gordon Square. We look forward to seeing you there.

Performing identity and politics: two productions of ‘The Unknown Soldier’

Hanna will discuss how performances participate in discussing identity and politics. My case study will look at two recent performances: director Kristian Smeds’s production at the Finnish National Theatre in 2007–2009 and Juhana von Bagh’s and Jussi Moila’s radio play The Unknown Soldier – A dialogue with Väinö Linna broadcasted on the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE Radio 1 in 2014.

The productions were based, at least partly, on a very well-known novel by author Väinö Linna published in 1954, discussing the Continuation War 1941–1944 between Finland and the Soviet Union. The productions engaged with social and political reality by challenging the cultural memory of war. An exceptional feature of the productions was intermediality as they moved between art forms: novel, stage production, radio play, film, television and documentary material.


Hanna is Professor of Theatre Research at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include the relationship between theatre and politics in Finland, a topic which she has studied in two monographs. She is also the author of several articles discussing theatre history, historiography and performance analysis.

Hanna has been an active member of the IFTR Historiography Working Group since 2001, an executive committee member in 2007–2015 and a vice president 2015–2019. She has been member of the advisory boards in Contemporary Theatre Review and Nordic Theatre Studies. Also, Hanna is a member of the Teachers’ Academy at the University of Helsinki.

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London Renaissance Seminar: Peele and the Ends of Narrative – 27th November

Peele and the Ends of Narrative: London Renaissance Seminar at the Early Modern Reading Group – Friday 27th November 2015

For the Early Modern Reading Group’s first meeting of the new academic year, Professor Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia) will give a short talk and lead discussion of George Peele’s play The Old Wives Tale (1595).  Professor Guy-Bray writes:

George Peele’s The Old Wives Tale is remarkable for the fact that it dramatizes how narrative becomes stage action: that is, the characters in the story that the old wife is telling become actual people moving about the stage. I want to use this play and its consideration of narrative to address questions of the purpose of narrative more generally. Do literary texts require narrative? Is it possible to escape narrative?

The Old Wives Tale is available on EEBO here.  Please bring a copy of the text with you.

The reading group will meet at 6pm in Room 221, 43 Gordon Square; drinks and snacks will be provided.

The Early Modern Reading Group is a postgraduate reading group which meets every month to discuss a variety of texts from the early modern period.  For more information, visit the Early Modern Reading Group on Dandelion or the London Renaissance Seminar website.

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CFP Symposium: Questions of Scale in Contemporary Literature and Criticism

Date: 23rd-25th March 2016


The beginning of the twenty-first century can be characterized as an era of scalar instability. Climate change, globalization, and developments in the life sciences have made it necessary to envisage a scale beyond the human, disrupting the anthropocentrism of Western literary and critical frameworks (Ray Brassier). The concept of the Anthropocene, which marks the inscription of human activities onto the Earth’s ecosystem, requires us to “scale up our imagination of the human” as it blurs the distinction between human and natural history (Dipesh Chakrabarty). While impending ecological disaster challenges our customary experience of time and space, technological innovations in communication, transportation, and economics have significantly accelerated the pace of life and condensed spatial distances (David Harvey’s “time-space compression”). At the same time, advances in our understanding of genetics and neurobiology have changed our perception of the body and the brain as coherent, contained systems, prompting us to consider them instead in terms of interactions between microscopic cellular components (Nikolas Rose).
The fluctuations in scale prompted by a consideration of the “spatiotemporal vastness and numerousness of the nonhuman world” (Mark McGurl) have also marked contemporary literature and criticism. Take, for example, the current manifestation of the “finance novel,” which arose in response to the volatility of the globalized economy. Works such as Robert Harris’s The Fear Index dramatize how the acceleration of time and condensing of space that the high-frequency algorithms of the financial system facilitate leave humans radically exposed to the variations of the market (Arne De Boever). Moreover, “neuro-novels”—novels that engage explicitly with the intricacies of neurological conditions, such as Ian McEwan’s Saturday and Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker—are symptomatic of the ways in which the insights of modern medical science have shifted our understanding of the self away from history and society to a cellular level (Marco Roth). Furthermore, the extension of time scales in works such as Don DeLillo’s Point Omega, Bruno Latour’s Gaia, and Alice Oswald’s A Sleepwalk on the Severn is emblematic of a new consciousness of humankind as a geological agent. In their respective considerations of “the impact of nonhuman otherness on human life” (Pieter Vermeulen), these various works challenge the anthropocentrism of traditional literary forms.

We invite paper proposals from PhD students that address questions of scale in contemporary literature and criticism. Possible questions for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • In what ways has the scalar instability of the twenty-first century prompted new modes of artistic, theoretical, and philosophical inquiry (e.g., cli-fi, neuro-lit, the finance novel, posthumanism, object-oriented ontology, speculative realism, and vibrant materialism)?
  • How does it affect established critical methodologies that have tended to be oblivious to questions of scale and non-human agency, such as ecocriticism and trauma and memory studies?
  • Which narrative techniques and literary practices are most suited to exploring the impact of what Richard Grusin has dubbed the “nonhuman turn,” that is, the tendency towards a decentring of the human that unites a wide variety of contemporary theoretical and philosophical approaches?
  • How do extremities of scale disrupt notions of autonomous subjectivity that continue to dominate Western political and critical frameworks? How can a biopolitical perspective, which deconstructs the concept of the proprietary body, help us to examine this?
  • How can literature help us to explore the implications for human agency that the Anthropocene presents?
  • How can an engagement with questions of scale open a dialogue between science and literary scholarship?

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Arne De Boever (PhD Columbia, 2009) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts, where he directs the School’s MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics. Prof. De Boever’s research focuses on critical theory and the contemporary novel. While his first book, States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel (Continuum, 2012), dealt with the fate of the novel in the post-9/11 era, his most recent book, Narrative Care: Biopolitics and the Novel (Bloomsbury, 2013), investigates the novel’s relation to biopolitics through a study of contemporary narratives of care.

Prof. De Boever has also published numerous articles on literature, film, and critical theory and is the editor of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. Moreover, he edits the critical theory/philosophy section of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a member of the boundary 2 collective and an Advisory Editor for Oxford Literary Review. He is currently at work on a new book project, tentatively titled Finance Fictions, which deals with psychosis in the contemporary American finance novel.

Pieter Vermeulen is an Assistant Professor of American and Comparative Literature at the University of Leuven. He was earlier an Assistant Professor at the University of Stockholm. He works in the fields of critical theory, the contemporary novel, and memory studies. Prof. Vermeulen’s first book, Geoffrey Hartman: Romanticism after the Holocaust, was republished in paperback by Continuum in the spring of 2012.

He has just published a second monograph, entitled Contemporary Fiction and the End of the Novel: Creature, Affect, Form, on the paradoxical productivity of intimations of the end of the novel in early-twenty-first-century fiction. The book discusses the work of, among others, J. M. Coetzee, Teju Cole, Lars Iyer, Hari Kunzru, Dana Spiotta, and James Meek, and was published by Palgrave Macmillan in January 2015. Prof. Vermeulen is also a co-editor of six volumes: two on the relation between literature and cultural identity, special journal issues on the work of Theodor W. Adorno and on the interrelations between Bildung and the state, on the methods and forms of world literature (entitled Institutions of World Literature, published by Routledge), and on the notion of creatureliness (for the European Journal of English Studies). He is currently finishing a seventh volume, on recent developments in memory studies, which will be published by Berghahn next year.


The symposium will offer a collaborative environment for junior and senior scholars to reflect on questions of scale in contemporary literature and criticism. The aim is to aid participants in developing the methodological and theoretical frameworks used in their research, in gaining further insight into developments in twenty-first century culture and criticism, and in refining their research questions. The symposium will be comprised of the following components:

Keynote lectures

Student papers and responses
PhD students will have the opportunity to present a paper. The papers will be pre-circulated, giving participants the chance to receive targeted feedback. Senior academics, including the two keynote speakers, will chair the presentation sessions and act as respondents.

The workshops, led by the keynote speakers, will give participants an opportunity to engage with pertinent critical texts about the topic of the symposium. These texts will have to be read in advance by all participants.

Practical Information

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium

23rd-25th March 2016

None (optional: symposium dinner €40)

A 300-word abstract for a 15-minute paper (including title, presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, and any technology requests), a description of your PhD research project (one paragraph), and a short CV (max. one page) as a single Word document to both Holly Brown ( and Prof. Stef Craps (

Deadline for submission of applications:
11 December 2015

Notification of acceptance:
18 December 2015

Deadline for submission of paper drafts:
15 February 2016

Number of places:
Max. 18


Holly Brown (
Prof. Stef Craps (

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