CFP: VISAWUS, “The Vulgar and the Proper,” October 2011, Houston


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“The Vulgar and the Proper: Victorian Manners and Mores”

October 13-15, 2011 Houston, TX

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Helena Michie, English, Rice University, author, The Flesh Made Word: Female Figures and Women’s Bodies; Sororophobia: Differences among Women in Literature and Culture; Victorian Honeymoons: Journeys to the Conjugal; co-author, Confinements: Fertility and Infertility in Contemporary Culture, and coeditor,19th-Century Geographies: The Transformation of Space from the Victorian Age to the American Century.

PLENARY SPEAKER: Lynn Voskuil, English, University of Houston, author, Acting Naturally: Victorian Theatricality and Authenticity, and essays in Victorian Studies, Feminist Studies, and ELH. Her current project is entitled “Horticulture and Imperialism: The Garden Spaces of the British Empire.”

The 16th annual conference focuses on Victorian obsessions with vulgarity and propriety. We invite proposals on manners and mores in politics, culture, society, religion, art, science, economics, rural life, and other Victorian matters of decorum and propriety and what Victorians deemed vulgar, crude or crass. We encourage papers across all disciplines, including (but not restricted to) art history, literature, gender, history of science, history, material culture, political science, performance, life writings, journalism, photography, popular culture, and economics.

Possible topics (but not limited to these):

  • Portraiture and self-fashioning Sexuality, sexology, repression
  • The press and New Journalism
  • Gender behavior and hierarchies
  • Etiquette books
  • Propriety in money matters
  • Dress and clothing
  • Domestic interiors and furnishing
  • Dining and food consumption/preparation
  • Religion and behavior
  • Class and behavior
  • Death and burial rites
  • Sports and public athletic activities
  • Imperial social hierarchies
  • Racial behavior and hierarchies
  • Genres: sensation novel, novel of manners, etc.
  • The press for women, children, professionals
  • Racy, ribald, risqué
  • Institutional behavior and expectations
  • Life Writings
  • Photography: portraits, cartes-de-visite
  • Political behavior
  • Marriage and courtship
  • Child-rearing
  • Monuments
  • Scientific debates and personalities
  • Sages and other public figures
  • Social performance of the self
  • Theatricality and performance
  • Decorum/manners and identities
  • Scandals
  • Perversion and subversion
  • Gambling and racing
  • The lowbrow and the popular

By March 15, 2011 email 300-word abstract and 1-page CV (name on BOTH) to:
For further information on the conference, visit


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