CFP: NVSA 2008
                                THE VICTORIAN EVERYDAY
                                      Wellesley College: April 3-5 , 2009

         NVSA solicits submissions for its annual conference; the topic this year is The Victorian Everyday.

          The conference will feature a keynote panel including Tim Barringer, Laurie Langbauer, and Ruth
Yeazell and a visit to the remarkable Ruskin Collection at the Wellesley College Library.

                                                     *   *    *

                                       So closely have the Victorians been associated with the mundane that
                                       the very notion of the Victorian everyday can seem redundant.
                                       Rather than endorsing or resisting the cliché, our goal this year is to
                                       reflect on the period’s own sense of the importance of daily habits or
                                       events. We are therefore seeking papers that address the problematic
                                       or otherwise conceptually-interesting quality of the quotidian in the
                                       period. The norming of everyday activities, scientific developments
                                       that highlight the force of daily processes, sociological projects that
                                       reflect the importance of daily life, the emergence of a new emphasis
                                       on the real in artistic representation—all of these characteristically
                                       Victorian developments contribute to making the everyday a
                                       powerful and long-lasting category. Specific conceptual issues we
hope to address at the conference include the following: Is the everyday best understood through greater
abstraction or closer engagement with the concrete and specific? Are certain genres or modes of
representation the natural sites for the manifestation of the everyday? What are the genres of the day-to-
day, of the mundane? What drives an increasing interest in the everyday as a category? What are the
relations among the routine, the normal, the everyday, the ritual, the mundane and the secular? What
habits of our own scholarly practice are reflected in how we define the commonplace in the Victorian

Noticing the Everyday
                                “The everydayness of this nineteenth century”
                                          --Saturday Review, 1892

How did the everyday emerge as an intellectual category? How might it relate to the obscure, the
recondite, the specialized?
Where does the everyday take place: the home, the street, or elsewhere?
What is the relation, if any, between the unremarkable and the unremarked-upon?

Is it possible for the everyday to be extraordinary, for it to be unfamiliar? How does crisis become an
everyday experience?
How stable a category is the everyday, how does it related to the standardization of time? Are some days
or times more characterized by routine? What are the measures by which we record repetition?
Science and the everyday: the cultural effect of attention to gradual change.
How did the nineteenth century historicize the everyday—when have days been different?
How did the period register the emergence of Victorian theorists of the everyday in sociology,
anthropology, ethics, and elsewhere?
Modern theorists of the everyday: their debts to the Victorians, their contribution to the study of the
nineteenth century.

Forms of the Everyday
                             “Illustrative of everyday life and every-day people”
                                     --Dickens, Sketches by Boz (subtitle), 1836
The ubiquity of images.

Seeing the everyday: narrative painting, domestic genre, illustrated periodicals, photography.
Writing every day: diaries, journalism, correspondence.
Literary history and the challenge of everyday literature.
What is the power of conventionality in representation, of repetition or iteration?
Realism: the genre of the everyday?
What are the relations among the novel, journalism and the sociological tract as projects for capturing the
everyday? What is the role of photography or periodical illustration?

Everyday Experience
                                     “the level of everyday's most quiet need”
                                                --Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese, 1850

What are the feelings that characterize the everyday?
How unique is the individual's experience of the everyday?
Habit as a felt phenomenon: boredom, melancholia, monomania, comfort,

Kinds of habit: unconscious routines or imposed discipline, prayer and other daily
rituals, regimen and askesis, habit as revealed by analysis, sleep habits.

The experience of daily reading/the reading of daily experience.
The other day: Victorian Sabbaths.
Whose everyday?: class, gender, and work distinctions.

The Everyday as a Commodity
                                                “Morns that pass by,
                                                 Fair eves that fly;
                                               Come buy, come buy”
                                                   --Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market, 1862
Importing and exporting the everyday.

Scrap books to advertising posters: the importance of ephemera.

Waste management.

Selling the everyday.

The imperial everyday.

The lives of others.
                                                      *    *    *

Proposals (no more than 500 words) by Oct. 15, 2008 (e-mail submissions strongly encouraged):

Professor Deb Gettelman, e-mail:
Chair, NVSA Program Committee, English Department, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College Street, Worcester,
MA 01610

Please note: all submissions to NVSA are evaluated anonymously. Also, while any topic might reasonably be
placed in relation to the everyday, the program committee is particularly eager to see papers that make a claim
about the category itself. Successful proposals will stay within the 500-word limit and make a compelling case for
the talk and its relation to the conference topic. Please do not send complete papers, and do not include your name
on your proposal.

Please do include your name, institutional and email addresses, and proposal title in a cover letter. Papers should
take 15 minutes (20 minutes maximum) so as to provide ample time for discussion.

The Coral Lansbury Travel Grant ($100.00) and George Ford Travel Grant ($100.00), given in memory of key
founding members of NVSA, are awarded annually to the graduate student, adjunct instructor, or independent
scholar who must travel the greatest distance to give a paper at our conference. Apply by indicating in your cover
letter that you wish to be considered. Please indicate from where you will be traveling, and mention if you have
other sources of funding.

To join NVSA, or to renew your membership for 2008-2009, please return the tear-off below to Prof. Joan Dagle at
the address indicated on the form.

Jonah Siegel, President, NVSA                                   phone: (732) 932-7679                                               
Department of  English                                          fax: (732) 932-1150                                      
Rutgers University                                              email:
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
To: Professor Joan Dagle, Secretary/Treasurer. NVSA
Dept. of English, Rhode Island College
Providence, RI 02908

I wish to renew my dues or become a member of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. I have enclosed a
check to NVSA for ___ $15 in U.S. dollars (regular membership) or ___$10 (student)


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