CFI: Call for Interpretations Victorian Women’s Spaces: Theoretical and Material

CFI: Call for Interpretations
Victorian Women’s Spaces: Theoretical and Material
A Close-Reading Workshop
20th June 2018, University of Manchester

Keynote speaker: Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck)


Image taken from Jacky Fleming, The Trouble with Women (London: Square Peg, 2016)
“The practices that thinking makes us want to engage with, and the words that thinking makes us want to command, can tend to arrest thought itself.” (Dr Ruth Abbott, 2007)

Have you ever left a conference thinking you have not contributed to the exchange? In a digital world where collaboration is at our fingertips, delivering conference papers can feel unrewarding as they leave little room (or time) for intellectual discussion. We all know the frustration of having to try and squeeze our ideas into twenty-minutes, meaning we have no time to even glance at those in the audience who often have lots to contribute.

The experimental format of our close-reading workshop encourages debate and interaction between the participants.

Don’t be a Ross, be a boss!
Victorian Women’s Spaces will encourage new ways of “thinking” about how women filled, claimed, manipulated and travelled between spaces in the nineteenth-century. These spaces may be theoretical and discursively produced through imagery, style, or rhythm; they can also be physical and literal, such as the manuscript page or geographical references. While we will be limiting the contribution of delegates to presentations based on one of two specific poems, this workshop encourages new, experimental, flexible interpretations. Thus, the kinds of “thinking” we are planning to do depend not on translating ideas into academic prose but on the initial, affective responses we experience as readers of poetry.

The workshop will include two interactive panels on the following poems:

‘We talked with each other about each other’ by Emily Dickinson (envelope MS witness; link to manuscript image:
‘Ballad of the Werewolf’ by Rosamund Marriott Watson (link to poem:
We are welcoming 200-word proposals or interpretations for 10-minute talks on how women’s spaces feature in one of these poems that can be delivered through any medium (video, commentary, powerpoint…interpretative dance). During the workshop, these talks will be followed by lengthy discussion, interaction and collaboration. We hope this will be a productive and intellectually stimulating day for all involved.

In addition to these interactive panels, we are pleased to be joined by two keynote presenters, including Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck University); these sessions will also include time for discussion.

Please send your proposals to Julie Casanova and Lucy Hanks at by Thursday 31st May at 5pm.

Due to the nature of this conference, we must limit the number of participants to 20.



One response to “CFI: Call for Interpretations Victorian Women’s Spaces: Theoretical and Material

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s