The editors seek essays for a proposed collection on games and play in the long nineteenth century in England, the U.S., and Canada. They are particularly interested in essays examining the material and/or visual culture of games. They have already had preliminary conversations with a publisher who is interested in the collection.
What is the role of games and play in 19thC culture? How do games and play reveal cultural values or anxieties? What forces undergirded the development of different games? Who were the actors developing and promoting those games? And what cultural or social status did those games achieve? How does the representation of games function in literary, historical, and practical texts? What social, economic, and cultural processes are represented by games?
In the list below, the word games is used broadly to include the many forms of play, gaming, and sport. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Types of games
- Board or card games
- Dangerous games: war games, dueling…
- Educational, moral, and religious games
- Fortune-telling, augury, magic games
- Games of music, dance, or other performance
- Imported and exported games and their cultural implications
- Memory games, puzzles, riddles, and word games
- Parlor games
- Seasonal games
- Stick-and-ball games and other sports
Production and reception of games
- Games and their publishers, illustrators, and/or printers
- The material culture of games
- The visual culture of games
- Periodicals devoted to games/sports culture
- Marketing, advertising and reviewing of games in the periodical press
- Attitudes toward games
- Game compendiums
Depiction or representation of games
- Nostalgia and play
- Representations of games in 19thC literature, art, and visual culture.
- Representations of games in 20th/21st C texts set in the 19thC
- The ethics of games: developing virtue, inculcating vice
Games and rules
- Governing bodies, rulebooks, associations, standardizations, etc.
- Training ‘gamers’: How-to books, etc
- Manipulating games: cheating, adaptation, etc.
Games and players
- Aristocratic, bourgeois, or working class games and players
- Games and fame
- Games and leisure
- Race, class, gender, and sexuality in games
- Social (and antisocial) function of games
- Games and communities
- Games and the environment (ie., use of land, animals)
- Game play as public performance and competition (tournaments, bouts)
- Public spaces and games: gambling hells, racetracks, amusement parks, etc.
- Space and place in games
The editors invite papers from a range of theoretical frameworks or approaches, including but not limited to material or popular culture, visual or print culture, book history or print history, among others. Further, they welcome papers from all disciplines (literary studies, history, communication, technical communication, archaeology, music, art history, religious studies, etc).
500-word abstracts (or full papers) due by Friday, October 2, 2015 to the editors—Dr. Ann R. Hawkins and Dr. Allison Whitney—at the following email address: 19thCgames@materialtexts.org
Please send attachments as .doc, .docx, or .rtf files, or paste the abstract into the body of an email. The editors also welcome inquiries at the same email address.