The Body and the Page in Victorian Culture:
An International Conference

26-28 July 2018, University of Victoria, Canada

Jointly sponsored by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) and the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada (VSAWC)

For further information, check out the official conference website!

 From Wilkie Collins’s The Law and the Lady, 1875, published in the Graphic

Keynote Speaker: Professor Sally Shuttleworth, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford

The conference will also feature a lecture by the winner of the 2017 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize for the best book on Victorian periodicals

CFP / Register

Submission deadline: 10 Oct. 2017 OR 1 Feb. 2018

Please note: To accommodate the funding cycle of European colleagues, we are offering an extended proposal deadline of 1 February 2018. Proposals submitted past the 10 October 2017 deadline will not be eligible for possible Canadian grant funding; however, graduate students and independent or retired scholars may be eligible for RSVP travel funding for proposals focusing on nineteenth-century periodicals. There will be, therefore, two stages of vetting and acceptances, the first in late October and the final in mid-February. The final program will be available in early March.

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This interdisciplinary and international conference will focus on the relationship between bodies and texts in Victorian culture. We invite proposals for individual papers or themed panels that examine this relationship under the following main themes:

  • the bodies constructed by the page: topics include racialized, gendered, and/or classed bodies; animal bodies; children’s bodies; religious bodies; queer bodies; modern bodies; hybrid bodies; medicalized bodies; non-normative bodies; dying bodies; grotesque bodies; national bodies; industrialized bodies; automatic bodies; unconscious bodies;
  • the bodies that made the page: topics include the labour of illustrators, authors, compositors, binders, engravers, editors, booksellers, and newspaper salespeople, sandwich-board people, delivery people;
  • the body of the page: page design, typeface, illustration, dimensions, paper, ink, and other material aspects of print; and
  • the digital scholars who remediate the pages of Victorian texts today: topics include specific online Victorian projects or remediated Victorian texts; methodological challenges; collaborative and pedagogical opportunities; digital Victorian texts in the classroom.

As the conference is jointly sponsored by RSVP, we intend that fully half the conference will be devoted to panels that consider Victorian periodicals. We therefore especially welcome paper or panel proposals that consider our four main conference themes in relation to Victorian newspapers, journals, magazines, scientific periodicals, and the journals of professional associations.

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The conference will take place at the University of Victoria Library. In addition to regular sessions on Victorian periodicals and on Victorian literature and culture more broadly, the conference will feature Special Collections Sessions. At least one panel per session will take place in the library’s Special Collections Classroom, which features a data projector and document camera as well as tables for examination of archival materials. For these panels, we invite papers that make use of Victorian materials (texts or MS) held in Special Collections:; please refer in your proposal to the call number of the texts in question so that we can make these materials available during these sessions.

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The conference will also feature the following workshops. Proposals are required only for the publication workshop.

  • Bookbinding Workshop: led by a professional bookbinder, this three-hour hands-on workshop invites conference delegates to try various Victorian bookbinding methods. The workshop provides a model of experiential learning for adoption in delegates’ own classrooms.
  • Grants-Crafting Workshop: Participants are warmly invited to this hands-on workshop designed to hone a grant application. Details TBA.
  • Publication Workshop for Emergent Scholars: This intensive workshop, scheduled for 25 and 29 July and bracketing the main conference, will be led by Kristen Guest, Lisa Surridge, and Mary Elizabeth Leighton. The workshop will start on the morning of 25 July with a three-hour interactive presentation on “How to Get Published: Ten Tips.” Participants will meet individually during the afternoon of 25 July with workshop leaders to receive feedback on their paper and then will be free to attend the regular conference. The conference will be followed on 29 July by a three-hour writing workshop in which participants will apply the knowledge gained during the presentation and feedback sessions.

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Proposals: Please send the following information to bodyandpage2018[at]

  1. Paper Proposals: A 250-word abstract with a title plus a separate 75-word biographical statement.
  2. 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.

For both paper and panel proposals, please indicate if you wish to be included in a Special Collections session.

Publication Workshop Proposals (due 10 Oct. 2017): A 250-word abstract with a title plus a separate 75-word biographical statement. Please note that those who have not taken the workshop before will be given priority in registration. Participants must submit article-length essays one week before the first workshop day. Workshop participants need not present a conference paper, and papers for the workshop need not be related to the conference theme. For the publication workshop proposals, please indicate whether you wish your proposal to be considered as well for the general conference CFP.

Please note that to be eligible to present, delegates must be a member of RSVPVSAWC, or both.

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.