VSAWC 2019

Victorian Sociability

The Annual Conference of the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, 2019

Keynote speaker: Professor Alison Booth, Academic Director of the Scholars’ Lab, University of Virginia

Plenary Workshop: Professor Susan Brown, Technical Director of the Orlando Project and Canada Research Chair in the Collaborative Digital Humanities, University of Guelph

To be held May 2 and 3, 2019 at the University of Calgary

Proposals due by September 10, 2019.

The Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada invites proposals for twenty-minute papers on the theme of Victorian sociability, broadly construed. Paper topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Literary and Artistic Sociability: How did friendships between writers, artists, editors and publishers facilitate artistic production?
  • Gender and Sociability: How were the spaces and opportunities afforded to Victorian men and women different or similar? What function did the (all-male) club serve versus the literary soiree or the extended home visit?
  • The Spaces of Sociability: How does the city differ from the country? How is public space different from private space?
  • Transatlantic and Transnational Sociability: How did the Victorians network across oceans and national borders?
  • Technology and Sociability: How did Victorian technologies and modes of communication and mobility (the telegraph, the penny post, the railway and the underground railway) facilitate sociability?
  • Collaboration and Sociability: What forms did Victorian collaboration take, and what were the results? How has the digital era changed the way that those working in Victorian studies collaborate now?
  • Methods and Sociability: What tools are being deployed to analyze sociability now? How have mapping, social network analysis and other methodologies changed the way we see Victorian sociability?


Mapping Victorian Literary Sociability

A Digital Humanities Project

This conference will pair traditional presentations with a collaborative digital humanities project, sponsored by the Orlando Project and VSAWC, which we warmly invite all delegates to participate in. Mapping Victorian Literary Sociability aims to uncover the spatial networks that allowed writers, artists, editors, and publishers to collaborate and sustain successful careers. No technical knowledge is necessary to participate in this project.

In advance of the conference, we will be asking delegates to collect data on the addresses of one or two Victorian writers, artists, editors, or publishers. In workshops during the conference, we will work together to map this data, which will show us how propinquity and literary sociability shaped the careers of those who worked together, especially women who did not have access to the more public networks of the club and the literary dinner party. Support and guidance for delegates will be provided by the Orlando Project and staff from Libraries and Cultural Resources. At the end of the conference, we will launch the beta version of this project: Mapping Victorian Literary Sociability.



Please send the following information to VSAWC2019@gmail.com by September 10, 2018:

Paper Proposals: A 250-word abstract with a title plus a separate 75-word biographical statement.

Panel Proposals: A set of three 250-word abstracts with titles plus a general title for the session. Include three 75-word biographical statements for all participants.

We invite all delegates to suggest two or three Victorian writers, artists, editors or publishers that they would be interested in researching address data for along with their proposals.

Please note that to be eligible to present, delegates must be a member of VSAWC.

The conference committee has some funding available for travel bursaries for students and independent scholars. Please indicate in your cover email if you wish to be considered for these bursaries.

The conference will be convened by Dr. Karen Bourrier and hosted at the University of Calgary in partnership with Libraries and Cultural Resources.