Evening Lectures 2017-18

Wednesday 21 March 2018
7:30pm (coffee at 7:00pm)
Bahen Centre 1200, University of Toronto

Rebecca Woods (Institute for the Philosophy and History of Science, University of Toronto):

Mammoths, Metabolism, and Mechanized Meat:
Great Britain’s Imperial Cold Chain in the Nineteenth Century

This paper will tell the story of cold’s transformation from natural fact to artificial technology during the nineteenth century, beginning with the emergence of a prehistoric mammoth from the Siberian permafrost at the close of the eighteenth century. The bones of this animal played a role in formulating theories of evolution at the turn of the nineteenth century, and later it came to serve a rhetorical purpose as novel articles of food, namely frozen meat, were introduced to British consumers in the nineteenth century. Wary of ingesting meat that had been dead for several months or more, boosters drew upon the Siberian mammoth, frozen for thousands of years before being safely ingested by Inuit dogs, to assuage the misgivings of skeptical diners. The mammoth thus speaks to humankind’s quest for control over the natural world; to the importance of literal and figurative networks of imperial exchange; and to the technoscientific production of artificial cold in the mid to late nineteenth century.

The Bahen Centre for Information Technology is located at 40 St. George Street, on the southern side of the University of Toronto campus.
Click here for a map or streetview.


Wednesday 29 November 2017
Bahen Centre 1200, University of Toronto

Natalie Neill (English, York University): “Poe’s Satires on Literary Women”

Natalie Neill specializes in Romantic literature, the gothic, popular fiction, and film. She has published articles on film adaptation, gothic parody, and Romantic poetry, among other topics, and has edited two 19th-century comic gothic novels—The Hero and Love and Horror—for Valancourt Press. She is working on a book about readers in and of first-wave gothic novels.

Evening Lectures 2016-17

Thursday 2 March 2017
Bahen Centre 1130

Jordan Bear (History of Art, University of Toronto):  “Where there’s smoke: Causality in 19th-century Photography and Vulcanology”

Tuesday 15 November 2016
Bahen Centre 1170

Cecilia Morgan (History and Education, University of Toronto): “Transatlantic Celebrity, Theatrical Networks, and  English-Canadian Actresses, 1890-1920”


Evening Lectures 2015-16

Thursday 3 March 2016
Koffler House 108 (see below for directions)

Kate Lawson (University of Waterloo), “The Brontes and Influence; or, Literary History in the Dining Room.”


Thursday 5 November 2015
Koffler House 108*

David Latham, “‘A New Tongue for Art’: William Morris’s Revolutionary Literature”

Professor Latham is Editor of The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies and a member of the faculty in the Department of English at York University.

*Koffler House sits in the northeast quadrant of the Spadina Crescent, and is marked “KP” on the University of Toronto campus map (click to open map). 



Evening Lectures 2014-15

9 October 2014
Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West

Alison David, “Poisonous Pigments and Deadly Dyes: Victorian Fashion and Chromophobia”

Kimberly Wahl, “Dressing Outside the Box: Aestheticism and Materiality in Late Victorian Artistic Culture”

Professors David and Wahl are members of the faculty at the School of Fashion at Ryerson University.


Stuff and Stuffing:  VSAO – ACCUTE panel
Brock University

Sunday, 25 May 2014, 1:30-3:00
East Academic 104

Erin Atchison (Independent Scholar): “To Buy an Immense Quantity of Everything: Finding a Theory for Fashion and the Consumer in Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons

Jo Devereux (Western University):  “[Un]winding the Skein: Henrietta Rae, Frederic Leighton, and the Undraped Nude”

Jennifer Judge (York University): “Dickens’s Contentious Stuffing: Juvenalian Satire in Our Mutual Friend

This panel has been organized and sponsored by the VSAO executive.  All are invited to attend.


Evening Lectures 2013-14

30 January 2014
161 University College, University of Toronto

Grace Kehler on “Reconceiving Time, Space, and Kinship: Darwin’s Origin and Wagner’s Ring”  

Charles Darwin, a great leveler, articulates a radical ontology in On the Origin of Species (1859). His evolutionary theory offers an integrated overview of world becomings and postulates the fundamental inter-relations among all entities, past and present, regardless of their apparent diversity. All derive from and are indebted to the long work of time and nature. Richard Wagner, in contrast with Darwin, has often been accused of promulgating a racist, hierarchical, and even totalitarian perspective through his art. His Ring of the Nibelung, in particular, has drawn the ire of critics from the nineteenth-century forward (including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, and Lacoue-Labarthe). Yet the Ring repeatedly undermines its manifest hierarchies, forging surprising dramatic and musical connections between lofty and abased species, both of which prove obliged to the natural world.

Grace Kehler is Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University.

7 November 2013
Spadina House Museum, 285 Spadina Road (just north of Davenport Road)

Daniel Wright on “Symbolic Logic and the Buried Life.”

Daniel Wright is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto. He is currently at work on a book entitled Bad Logic: Reasoning about Desire in the Victorian Novel. A portion of this project, on tautology in Trollope, is forthcoming in the Winter 2013 issue of ELH.

Following Daniel’s talk, we’ll enjoy a private tour of the Spadina Museum, a Victorian home that has recently been restored to reflect 1920s and 30s interior design. For more on the Spadina Museum and its restoration, please see:

Please check this page later or become a VSAO member for further information about these and other upcoming events.

Past Evening Lectures

Victorian Workshop, 2013