Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Download the Call for Papers PDF - navsa_2016_cfp.pdf

Derby Day

Social Victorians

The Conference Committee for the 2016 annual NAVSA conference invites proposals for papers and panels on the subject of Social Victorians.

What does it mean to speak of the socialin the Victorian era? In what ways were the Victorians social, antisocial, or both at once? What definitions of sociability circulated during the period, and through which structures? What models of sociability vyed, prevailed, and emerged? Topics might include:

Social frameworks and models
  • Kinship, familial and personal relationships (e.g., friendship, courtship, marriage)
  • Religion and the social
  • Social class/economic class and the mingling of classes
  • Regional, national, and cosmopolitan concepts of sociability
Comparative, revisionary, and colonial forms of the social
  • Empire as a social or anti-social force
  • The social in “other” cultures
  • The transcultural social
Social traditions, rituals, events, displays, and gatherings
  • Holidays and birthdays
  • Illness, death, funerals, and practices of mourning and remembrance
  • International exhibitions as social and socializing sites
Problematic and contested concepts of the social
  • Antisocial behaviors (e.g., neglect, abuse)
  • The criminal, deviant, revolutionary, unladylike/unmanly, and un-English
  • Paranoia, agoraphobia, xenophobia, and social anxiety
Social networks and organizations
  • Archiving/digitizing as a social form
  • Academic, scientific, professional, social clubs, societies, organizations, political parties, and advocacy
Social discipline, control, and punishment
  • Familial models of empire (e.g., mother country)
  • Restrictions, modifications, and surveillance of the social (e.g., through government, policing, penal system)
  • Explicit directions for sociability (e.g., etiquette manuals, signs/notices, finishing schools)
  • Implicit social instruction (e.g., education, legal system, media)
  • Bans, erasures, gaps, and silences on alternate social forms
Non-human social relations, interactions, and exchange
  • Sociable objects (and the human)
  • Sociable non-human animals (exclusive and inclusive of human animals)
  • Social spaces (e.g., drawing rooms, ballrooms, parks, hotel lobbies, museums, galleries, exhibitions, lecture halls, advertising, the press)
  • Social ephemera (e.g., visiting cards, menus, invitations)
Art as a social form
  • Collaboration, editing, publishing, and marketing
  • Reading and writing practices
  • The socializing function of the arts, arts criticism, art displays, and spectating (e.g., exhibitions, performances)
  • Visual, aural, and literary depictions

The deadline for paper and panel submissions is February 1, 2016. For individual papers, submit 250-word paper proposals, along with a one-page CV. For entire panels, submit the above for each paper, as well as a one-page summary of the panel. Submission should be sent to

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