Welcome to the Nineteenth Century Studies Association website, where we hope you will find information about the Association, its interests and outlets, as well as enticements to join in the many conversations we have on and beyond these pages.
We are an interdisciplinary Association interested in exploring all aspects of the long nineteenth century, from science to music, from architecture to religion, from movement to literatures—and beyond. We hope you will peruse these pages as a volume inviting you to join us at our annual spring meeting, and we ask you to join our community of those with nineteenth century interests.
News and Events
16 and 17 June 2016, King’s College London
It is now over forty years since the bold declaration of psychohistorian Lloyd deMause that ‘The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken’. Stirred by such claims, scholars have subsequently tested the ‘nightmare thesis’ for both the pre-modern and modern eras, locating children’s agency in unexpected places and stressing the contingencies of context, gender, ethnicity, age, class, caste and sexuality. Narratives of historic and contemporary institutional abuse, however, together with insights concerning the legacies of forced child migration, children’s labours and other challenging aspects of childhood experience, suggest that sorrow rather than joy characterises much scholarship on children and childhood. Should this be so?
In another context, since 1993 the phenomenally successful Horrible Histories books, stage plays and television series have helped introduce countless thousands of children around the world to the past. As their titles indicate, Horrible Histories also examine difficult and sometimes grisly historical episodes. Progressive narratives are at work here too, reinforced by children’s museum exhibits emphasising an emergence from the ‘dark ages’ of childhood in the twentieth century.
‘Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Contexts’ is the launch conference marking the inauguration of the new UK-based Children’s History Society. Offering a forum for historical reflections from established and upcoming historians of children, childhood and youth, we also anticipate that this will be a platform for school-age scholars to reflect on the ways they respond to the history. This two-day conference invites paper proposals on the following themes:
· Dealing with difficult history and heritage
· Children’s histories and the longue durée
· The ‘West and the rest’ in children’s history
· Definitions of subjecthood and status
· Pain and resilience
· Archival approaches for retrieving children’s agency
· The things of childhood
· Children’s places and places for children
· Play as protest, recreation and the ‘work’ of childhood
· Children’s histories in museums, online and in the media
· The histories of
Judith W. Page is Professor of English and Distinguished Teaching Scholar at the University of Florida, where she also served as Director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research from 2009-14. She is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and reviews on Romanticism, women writers, and Anglo-Jewish literature and culture. Her recent books include Women, Literature, and the Domesticated Landscape: England’s Disciples of Flora, 1780-1870
(co-authored with Elise L. Smith), which came out last year in paperback from Cambridge University Press and an edited volume, Disciples of Flora: Gardens in History and Culture
(edited with Victoria Pagán and Brigitte Weltman-Aron), which came out this month from Cambridge Scholars Press. Her essays have recently appeared in The Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice
(2013), Wordsworth in Context
(Cambridge University Press, 2015) and The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth
Her current book project will extend her work on women and gardens into the twentieth century, and will include work on such figures as Beatrix Potter and Vita Sackville-West. She has developed a graduate course at the University of Florida on women and gardens in the (very) long nineteenth century in England.
What historical figure would you love to see in 21st century life? Wordsworth! In the Preface to Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth laments that . . .
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Amy Arbogast is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Rochester. Her dissertation, which she plans to complete and defend this year, examines the emergence of professional playwriting in the United States from 1870 to 1908, investigating why professional playwrights did not exist prior to this era and what conditions developed to make professional playwriting possible. Although largely a cultural historian, her work also combines elements of business and social history. Amy currently works as a lecturer for the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program at the University of Rochester, where she teaches introductory writing courses and advanced public speaking courses. In addition to finishing her dissertation, she is also working on an article that examines the evolving relationship between the new business class and American playwrights in the late nineteenth century and how that relationship provided validation for both groups. She hopes to submit this article for publication this Fall. Amy has attended the NCSA conference for the past two years and helped to organize the Graduate Student Caucus events for the 2015 conference.
If you could go back to the nineteenth century to change one thing, what would it be? There are too many . . .
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Joseph Acquisto is Professor of French at the University of Vermont. This year, he published his third book, The Fall out of Redemption: Thinking and Writing Beyond Salvation in Baudelaire, Cioran, Fondane, Agamben, and Nancy, which claims that Baudelaire inaugurates a new kind of modernity by canceling the notion of redemption in his writing while also steadfastly refusing to embrace any of its secular equivalents, such as historical progress or salvation through art. His other books include French Symbolist Poetry and the Idea of Music and Crusoes and Other Castaways in Modern French Literature, as well as the edited volumes Thinking Poetry: Philosophical Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Poets as Readers in Nineteenth-Century France, the latter co-edited with Adrianna M. Paliyenko and Catherine Witt, forthcoming in October. He is interested in the intersections of literature, music, and philosophy, and is at work on a book on listening in Proust.
Is there anything from the nineteenth century you wished would come back into fashion?: Streets lit by . . .
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Do you have a monograph, edited collection, or scholarly article that will be soon or was published within the last year? Are you the recipient of a grant that has not long ago or will soon reach one of its project milestones? Have you recently won an award related to your scholarly or pedagogical work in the nineteenth century?
If so, we want to hear from you!
Please send one or two sentences describing your accomplishment to Kate Oestreich at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be back in touch regarding when you will be featured on 19 cents.