September 2017 Newsletter

September 2017 Newsletter

  1. President’s Message
  2. VSAO-ACCUTE Panel
  3. New Titles by VSAO Members
  1. President’s Message

A warm welcome to new and returning members of the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario. The Association celebrated its 50th year in grand style throughout 2017, including a successful April conference “New Intimacies: Changing Interactions in the Victorian World” and two anniversary-themed panels at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences: “Many Happy Returns: The Anniversary in Victorian Britain” and a roundtable on “The Future of Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies.” Many thanks to outgoing VSAO President Dr. Tina Choi, for her impeccable leadership and for her efforts in organizing special events for the anniversary year.

As the VSAO enters its sixth decade, we hope to continue the Association’s work promoting research in Victorian Studies across a range of disciplines. The upcoming annual conference in April 2018 will have an interdisciplinary focus, featuring keynote addresses by Dr. Alison Syme (University of Toronto), author of A Touch of Blossom: The Queer Flora of Fin-de-Siècle Art (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010), who will speak on her current research on Edward Burne-Jones, and Dr. Deborah Lutz (Morton Endowed Chair, University of Louisville, KY), author of The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects (W.W. Norton, 2015) and Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP, 2015). Please watch for the upcoming CFP for the morning panel for the conference and read the sample reviews and descriptions of their work by clicking on the embedded links!

Please also consider sharing with the VSAO Executive your thoughts on bringing new members into the Association and encouraging graduate student membership and participation in the VSAO. Please contact me personally or any member of the Executive.

Here’s to a productive and stimulating year!

Suzanne Bailey

President, Victorian Studies Association of Ontario
Professor, Department of English Literature, Trent University
Director, English MA “Public Texts” program, Trent University
Chair, Dept. of Gender and Women’s Studies, Trent University



The VSAO will be sponsoring a panel at the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) at the May 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Regina. Please view the call-for-proposals below.

VSAO-Sponsored ACCUTE Joint Session, “Victorian Spaces: Real and Imagined”

The Victorian Studies Association of Ontario (VSAO) and the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) invite papers for a jointly sponsored session on Victorian Spaces: Real and Imagined. From haunted attics, to enchanted flower beds, to housing reform, Victorians were deeply preoccupied with new conceptions of space. Their penchant for exploring the shifting role of the production of space can be seen as deriving from historical spatial forms, such as architecture, urban philanthropic projects and social-improvement publications. In another sense, such spatial conceptions can be seen as having been represented culturally, whether through the imagined landscapes of Alice’s wonder-filled garden afternoon, Pip’s navigation of London, or the Pre-Raphaelites’ reconceiving of medievalist spaces as contemporary portals. The Victorian Studies Association of Ontario invites papers that consider the ways in which space was imagined, represented and conceived during this historical moment, exploring the ways in which both real and imagined spaces often converged on a proverbial continuum of representations. Papers might examine how real or physical spaces were manifested, planned and represented by Victorians as they conceived of and interacted with spatial theories and formations in myriad modes and discourses. Others may inquire as to the ways in which the spaces Victorians imagined are potentially seen as cultural representations of their collective affective lives, their utopian forecasts, their escapist dreamscapes and their socio-political and imperial constructions and agendas. Possible themes might include but are not limited to:

  • Social, legal, and/or political histories of space, both urban and rural
  • Spatial theory
  • Genre and space (social reform novels, sentimental fiction, popular press narratives, children’s literature, Romantic painting, utopia/dystopia, etc.)
  • Visual and print culture’s imagined spaces such as traditional visual forms (photography, architecture, painting) and non-traditional visual forms (ephemera, cartography, games, advertising, etc.)
  • Landscapes, gardens, ecocriticism
  • Medical, corporeal and scientific histories
  • Architectural spaces
  • Factories, social reform, cultural geography
  • Supernatural spaces: occultist practices, haunted houses, séance rooms, afterlives
  • Film, video, digital and new media criticism as well as criticism on contemporary visual artists and writers whose historically-minded practices engage with Victorian conceptions of space
  • Spaces of Empire: race, travel, histories, transnational and translocal contexts
  • Interior design histories and design print culture (catalogues, pamphlets, journals, magazines)

[CFP now closed.]


3.  New Titles by VSAO Members

We’re pleased to announce these recent book publications by our members. Congratulations to these authors!

Ablow, Rachel. Victorian Pain. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.

Science Museums in Transition: Anglo-American Cultures of Display in the 19th Century. Eds. Bernard Lightman and Carin Berkowitz. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.