CFP: 18th/19thC British Women Writers: “Curiosities” at Ohio State, March 2011

The 19th Annual 18th- and 19th-Century British Women Writers Conference
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

March 31- April 3, 2011

Call for Papers:
The theme for this year’s conference is “Curiosities.” We encourage submissions that consider how the concept of curiosity—in its dual meaning of intellectual pursuit and particular material objects—influenced the lives and work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers, and continues to drive our scholarship today. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches to this topic, and are especially interested in both the ways in which women of this period expressed curiosity about their world through science, politics, philosophy, travel, religion, and art, and the ways in which these same questing, curious women became the subjects and objects of inquiry themselves.

Proposals for panels and individual papers might consider, but are not limited to, the following issues in women’s writing of the “long” eighteenth and nineteenth centuries:

Curious Explorations
• Travel writings/art; ethnographies
• Colonialism and Empire
• Immigration and emigration
• Adventure stories
• Self-exploration: memoir, autobiography, biography
• Imaginative Exploration: fantasy, dreams

Curious Bodies
• Maternity; Sexuality; Race and ethnicity
• Women and disability
• “Freak” studies
• Bodies on display: actresses, dancers , “public women”

Morbid Curiosity
• The Gothic
• Supernatural investigations; spiritualism; afterlife
• Scandal; roman à clef
• Bluebeard Tales: the “dangers” of female curiosity

Shameful Curiosities & Curious Feelings
• Suspense and Sensation
• Affect; Desire; Disgust
• Forbidden Texts/ Banned Books
• Pornography

Curiosity vs. Privacy
• Voyeurism and eavesdropping
• Gossip
• “Private” Genres: letters, diary, closet drama
• Epistolary novels
• The private sphere
• Private legacies: wills, estates, inheritance

Cabinets of Curiosities
• Collections and collectors
• Women and/as commodities
• Domestic objects
• Consumerism; shopping; possessions
• Exhibitions and museums

Curious Inquiries
• Science and medicine; The Case Study
• Education/ the pursuit of knowledge
• Philosophical and religious investigations
• “The Woman Question”
• Journalism
• Crime and investigation: women’s crime fiction; mystery writing; the
female detective
• Experimentation (artistic, scientific, personal)

**Note: The journal Prose Studies will be publishing a special issue based upon papers presented at this conference; therefore, we especially encourage proposals focusing on forms of non-fictional prose in addition to work on poetry, drama, fiction, etc.

Individual proposals should be two pages: a cover sheet including name, presentation title, university affiliation, address, e-mail address, phone number, and brief biographical paragraph; and a 500-word abstract.

Panel proposals should include a coversheet—including panel title, presenters’ names, presentation titles, university affiliations, addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, brief biographical paragraphs, and the name of a moderator—followed by separate abstracts (500-word) that describe the significance of the panel topic and each presentation.

Please do not include any identifying information on the abstracts.Proposals must be submitted electronically as an attachment in .doc or .rtf format by Nov. 1, 2010 to the conference e-mail address at:


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