Victorian Popular Fictions 6.1 2 Van Dam


Postcolonial (Neo-)Victorianism and the (Digital) Archive: A Response to Adrian S. Wisnicki’s “The Meaning of Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom”

Daný van Dam

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In November 2023, Adrian S. Wisnicki was at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour for a visiting professorship. Here, he gave a talk that built on his earlier keynote for the Victorian Popular Fiction Association annual conference (summer of 2023). I was invited to attend and serve as a respondent to the talk at Pau, which led to this written response being published in Victorian Popular Fictions together with Wisnicki’s keynote. This response thus serves as an example of the values of support and recognition that are part of the guiding principles of the Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom (UVC) Digital Humanities project. While this article is called a response, in fact, the talk I respond to has served as a prompt to reflect on the topics discussed, including a strong focus on ethics both in research and in academia more generally, and how they relate to my own position as an academic and to my research on postcolonial neo-Victorianism. This article can be divided in three main sections. I start by explicitly responding to Wisnicki’s keynote, noting what drew my attention and contextualising why it did. Next, I expand on these issues and raise some points for further thought, relating to archives and the traces of marginalised voices that they hold, the importance of preserving diverse languages in order to access those voices, and the relationship between research and teaching in academia. I end by drawing connections between some of the key points raised in relation to UVC and the field of neo-Victorianism, especially postcolonial neo-Victorianism.


digital humanities; Victorian Studies; collaboration; pedagogy; anti-racism; decolonization; community-building; equity; inclusion; structural intervention; Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom

Date of Acceptance: 27 June 2024

Date of Publication: 28 June 2024

Double Blind Peer Reviewed

Recommended Citation:

Van Dam, Daný. 2024. “Postcolonial (Neo-)Victorianism and the (Digital) Archive: A Response to Adrian S. Wisnicki’s ‘The Meaning of Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom’.” Victorian Popular Fictions, 6.1: 18-26. ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) DOI:‌YAXD5045

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