London Victorian Studies Colloquium: Repairing Research in Victorian Studies

Hosted by: Royal Holloway, University of London’s Centre for Victorian Studies
Directors: Professor Ruth Livesey and Dr Katie McGettigan
Associate Director: Anya Eastman
Research Convenor: Dr Nicola Kirkby
Thursday 7th of April — Saturday 9th of April (2022)
Keynotes: Professor Lauren Goodlad (Rutgers) & Dr Ushashi Dasgupta (Oxford)


The London Victorian Studies Colloquium is an annual residential colloquium for postgraduates and postdocs working in Victorian Studies. The Colloquium is an informal event, combining postgraduate papers, training and professionalisation workshops, and time for networking in the beautiful Victorian surroundings of Royal Holloway.

This year, as we come together again for the first time since the pandemic, the colloquium seeks to explore the theme of Repairing Research in Victorian Studies. Scenes, practices, and ethics of repair pervaded Victorian culture and society, from the rebuilding and transformation of churches, to the large-scale aims of social reformers, and the intimate mending of belongings and bodies in the domestic sphere. In literature, we might think of the dust heaps and dolls’ dress scraps of Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, but also of Mary Seacole’s account of restoring soldiers to health in the Crime: of Algernon’s self-care practice of Bunburying in The Importance of Being Earnest, and the impossibility of repair and recovery experienced by Wilde himself following his trial and inprisonment. At a time when scholars of Victorian culture are taking up the idea of repair and exploring related terms – care-work, sustainability, renewal – and when research communities are seeking to repair connections strained by the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems timely to interrogate nineteenth-century visions of repair, and ask what they might offer the present moment.


The event will also include sessions on:
• Pathways to Postdocs with Early Career Researchers Dr Nicola Kirkby, Dr Helen O’Neill and Dr Rebecca Hutcheon
• Working with Museum Collections
• Imagining the past in fiction with Nat Reeve, author of Nettleback and Joanna Brown, author of the Lizzie and Belle Mysteries
• Roundtable with Dr Nicola Kirkby on ‘Formalities of Repair’

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and the colloquium is open to Masters, doctoral students and postdocs from the UK or abroad, working on any nineteenthcentury topic. Registration will open in the new year. Participants do not have to give papers, but we do seek proposals for a number of 15-20 minute papers on interdisciplinary topics related to the conference theme. Creative and NeoVictorian approaches are welcome, and we encourage submissions from practice-based
researchers including artists, writers, performers, and film-makers. Paper themes may include, but are in no way limited to:

  • treatments of repair as labour, practice and ethic in Victorian writing, art and culture
  • repair as motion and progress: repairing to somewhere as well as repairing something
  • temporalities of repair in the nineteenth century: returns, renewals, reforms
  • critical repair work: reparative reading, recovery work, digital and physical curation and
    preservation.
  • repair as gendered labour: professionalization and care work; repair in public and private
    spaces; the embodied work of repair
  • individual and communal repair: self-help, self-care, activism, community building,
    networks
  • the impossibility of repair: brokenness, fragments, waste, incompletion
  • repairing Victorian Studies: decolonization, accessibility, diversity work
  • Victorian repair and twenty-first century crisis: approaches from eco-humanities,
    medical humanities, histories of science and technology


    Please submit 200-250 word abstract and a brief biography to Anya Eastman
    (anya.eastman@rhul.ac.uk) by the 31st of January 2022.

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