NCRS: Call for Papers for Spring 2019

Nineteenth Century Research Seminars 
Call for Papers

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The Nineteenth Century Research Seminars (NCRS) invites proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate and early career researchers that address any aspect of nineteenth-century literature, history, art, and culture.

The seminar series is designed to be a cross- and inter-disciplinary forum where postgraduate and early career researchers can meet, form connections, debate, and collaborate on all issues pertaining to the long nineteenth century.

We accept abstracts addressing any aspect of research on the 19th century, but would particularly welcome those addressing any of the following themes:

  • Philosophy from Hegel to Nietzsche 

  • Empire, War, and Politics

  • Religion and Society

  • Ecology, Environment, and Industrialisation

  • Travelling and Exploration

  • Gender and Sexuality

  • German Classicism and German Idealism

  • Art, Architecture, and Aesthetics


Monthly seminars take place at the University of Edinburgh, on the first Thursday of the month: 7 February, 7 March, 4 April, 2 May, and 6 June 2019 at 16:30-18:30. Each seminar will consist of 2-3 twenty-minute papers, with at least one paper from a University of Edinburgh-based researcher and the other(s) from a researcher based in another institution, followed by discussion and refreshments. 

Abstracts of up to 250 words along with a brief biography and institutional affiliation should be submitted in the body of an email to edinburgh19thcentury@gmail.com. The closing date for submissions is Sunday 1 December 2018; speakers will be notified of a decision by mid-December. If for any reason you are not available for any of the dates listed above for the 2019 seminars, please let us know in your email submission; this will help us to pair papers and schedule more effectively.

For those travelling from outside of Edinburgh, reimbursement of travel expenses (up to £40) is available.

Follow us on Facebook to stay updated: @EdinburghNCRS, or visit our website.

The NCRS is supported by the University of Edinburgh’s Student-Led Initiative Fund.

NCRS: Colonialism and Literature

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For more information on the Nineteenth Century Research Seminar Series, including forthcoming seminars, check out the Facebook page and website.


Nineteenth Century Research Seminar Series

Spring 2018 Seminar 3: Colonialism and Literature

Speakers:

  • Nicola John: Cleopatra and the Colonial Context: Looking Closer at Juan Luna
    • Nicola John is a second year postgraduate research student at the University of St Andrews, where she is working towards a PhD in Art History. Her research concerns the use of pre-colonial material culture, especially costume, in the visual language of modern art in Indonesia and the Philippines. 
  • Elizabeth Chant: Cartography and the Argentine Nation: mapping the mítico sur
    • Elizabeth Chant is a PhD candidate in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, School of European Languages, Cultures and Society, University College London. Her research focuses on cultural representations of Patagonia, and how said representations vary in different languages and sub-regions, considering the conflict of forces such as time-space compression, indigenous epistemology and neo-colonialism in various media. 
  • Bowen Wang: Mark Twain’s “China Complex”: His Literary Portrayal of the Chinese of the Nineteenth Century
    • Bowen is a postgraduate studying in MSc Literature and Modernity of the University of Edinburgh. He holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Sun Yat-sen University, with an exchange year in English/American Studies from the University of Southern Denmark.

Nicola and Liz's talks both concerned colonialism across the Spanish empire, one through the perspective of history of art, the other through the perspective of cartography.

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Nicola discussed Juan Luna's The Death of Cleopatra from 1881. The historical background to the painting is colonialism and nationalism in the Philippines: they wanted full representation in the Spanish government. Art played an anti-colonial role, and Luna himself had a role in the anti-Spanish movement. In the painting, Cleopatra chooses to die sovereign than live colonised, and the Madrid audience observing the painting take the same role as the roman soldiers entering to discover Cleopatra dead: the third wall is broken to complete the painting.

Liz spoke about representations of Patagonia - in what is now known as Argentina - in 19th century cartography. 'Patagonia' was part of the Spanish empire, and they attempted to colonise it many times. We find a colonising agenda maps of the region. They often lack a representation of people, erasing the provicial and territorial divisons of indigenous cultures. The result is a history of violent geography. Indigenous cultures are sometimes named but their territory isn't indicated, diminishing their claims to Patagonia. 

Bowen offered a different but complementary account about the prejudice and colonial attitudes towards the Chinese immigrants in San Francisco through the writing of Mark Twain. One of the works Bowen examined was Twain's 'Disgraceful Persecution of a Boy', from Galaxy Magazine, May 1870, which is about the stoning of a Chinese man. It is indicative of the anti-Chinese bias in wider american society at this time, intensified by Californian nationalists who thought that the Chinese were competing unfairly with the Americans. Another of Bowen's examples was 'John Chinaman in New York', from the Galaxy Magazine, September 1870, which contains racial stereotypes and colonial descriptions of dress.

The next NCRS is on April 26, on the topic of 'Philosophy and Literature'.