VPFA 2021 Conference, ‘Victorian Inclusion and Exclusion’ – Call for Papers

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association is dedicated to fostering interest in understudied popular writers, literary genres and other cultural forms, and to facilitating the production of publishable research and academic collaborations amongst scholars of the popular.

We invite a broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretation on the topic of ‘Victorian Inclusion and Exclusion’ and its relation to any aspect of Victorian popular literature and culture that addresses literal or metaphorical representations of the theme. Inter- and multidisciplinary approaches are welcome, as are papers that address poetry, drama, global literature, non-fiction, visual arts, journalism, historical and social contexts. Papers addressing works from the ‘long Victorian period’ (i.e. before 1837 and after 1901) and on neo-Victorian texts/media are also welcome.

Please send proposals for 20-minute papers, panels of three papers (by individual scholars, or affiliated with another Learned Society), or non-traditional papers/panels, on topics that can include, but are not limited to:

  • Canonicity, canon formation and critical recovery (neo-Victorian subjects and texts, pedagogical selections, redressing of Victorian imbalances); ‘inclusion’ in collections/short story anthologies/series;
  • 19th-century ideas of taste and cultural value, high-culture/popular culture divide; the theatre, circus, music hall, opera; three-volume novel, penny bloods, railway literature;
  • Generic inclusivity/hybridity; genre boundaries and transmedia;
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion;
  • Sex and gender inclusion and exclusion – domestic spheres, marriage, the ‘third sex’, institutions, workplaces, religious ideas;
  • Class inclusion and exclusion – extension of the franchise, organization of labour, class war, exclusionary social mores, poverty and economic inclusion/exclusion;
  • Disability, mental health, medical treatments and discourse;
  • Racial inclusion and exclusion – Anglo-European racial discourse/pseudo-science, non-Anglo-European racial discourse and practices, imperial ideology and practice, colonial institutions, trans-colonial and global migration, segregated travel;
  • National inclusion and exclusion – intra-European alliances and antagonisms, Anglo-American co-operation;
  • Geographical spaces, boundaries, borders and liminality;
  • Family inclusion and exclusion – family unit, ageing, adoption, orphans;
  • Verbal exclusion – gossip, slander, rumour, reputation;
  • Inclusive organizations – self-help groups, working men’s clubs/libraries/institutes, literary clubs, social clubs and societies;
  • Classification and categorization, anthropology, ethnography, the natural world;
  • Exclusion and exile (Wilde); prisons and prison reform; deportation;
  • Self-exclusion – breakaway social groups: ideal communities, anarchists, utopians;
  • Educational inclusion/exclusion – schools/universities, expulsion, technology-enabled inclusion and exclusion in the (online) classroom; teaching online pedagogy;
  • Other forms of inclusion and exclusion – religious; discourse on/treatment of children, animals, wider non-human world;
  • The role exclusion plays in facilitating horror and Gothic fiction, boundaries between life and death, Imperial Gothic and Euro-sceptic horror, Irish Gothic and invasion.

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, a 50 word biography, twitter handle (if you have one) and your availability/time zones over the conference dates in Word format to Drs Anne-Marie Beller, Ailise Bulfin, Janine Hatter and Erin Louttit at: vpfaconference@gmail.com.  

Deadline for proposals: Sunday 28th February 2021

If accepted, audio/visual presentations of 15 minutes or written papers of c.2000 words should be submitted by Monday 14th June, 2021. This is well in advance of the conference, so that delegates can read/watch the presentations in advance, ready for the Q&A discussions which are live at the conference. Speakers should be members of the VPFA and there will be a minimal cost for the conference to offset technical support.

PGR/Unwaged Fee Waivers
In addition, to acknowledge the financial hardship many scholars are facing as a result of COVID-19, we will exceptionally be offering 3 waivers of the student/unwaged registration fee for those whose proposals are accepted. These waivers are intended for postgraduate students, postdoctoral scholars, independent scholars and precarious academics who at the moment of application do not hold a permanent position. If you wish to be considered for a registration fee waiver, when submitting your abstract, bio and (if applicable) Twitter handle, please include a statement of no more than 60 words as to why you are applying for the waiver. As per the spirit of the VPFA constitution, we want the conference to be open to as many researchers as possible, regardless of means.