Since its widespread adoption in the 1990s, the acronym “STEM” has focused political and public attention on investments in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. In response, numerous commenters as well as arts and humanities advocacy organizations have urged the necessary inclusion of the “arts” in educational priorities with the hybrid acronym “STEAM.” In this context, we devote the theme of this conference to “Victorian STEAM” with two related goals. First, to explore the nineteenth century’s creative intermingling of pursuits across the arts and sciences when, in so many cases, disciplines had yet to separate into their discrete domains. With a nod to the “steam” which so transformed historical industry, this conference investigates the interdisciplinary, extradisciplinary, or even predisciplinary alliances which powered new knowledge and critique in the Victorian era. Second, Victorian STEAM underscores the continuing relevance of such humanities-based work today, not only to stress the vital importance of arts and humanities training in education, but even to propose how Victorian studies — so attuned to the potentials for disciplinary crossings — may uniquely help reimagine such work in the present.
To these ends, proposals are invited for participation at the Victorians Institute’s conference at North Carolina State University on October 14-15, 2016, in Raleigh, NC. Individuals may submit 300-word abstracts and a one-page CV for consideration in a general conference pool. Participants are also encouraged to submit proposals for complete panels or roundtable discussions, particularly those offering cross-cutting perspectives from different disciplinary, methodological, or thematic viewpoints. Proposals for full panels should comprise 500 words and include one-page CVs of the panelists. Submissions are welcome from graduate students, instructors, faculty, and independent scholars regardless of rank or affiliation. The Victorians Institute additionally provides a select number of travel awards for attendees demonstrating need. If you would like to be considered, please include a brief cover letter explaining your request and what travel support you currently receive. Please format abstracts and CVs as .doc, .docx, or .pdf files and submit as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline of April 29, 2016.
Though this conference is generously sponsored by the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and Department of English, participation is not restricted by discipline, in keeping with its theme. Applicants may develop their own proposals or find inspiration from topics including:
- science and literature
- representations of technology
- disciplines and professions
- agents, actors, and networks
- history of education
- media history
- art and politics
- liberalism and culture
- the development of arts and humanities
- uses of Victorian contexts in the present (e.g. steampunk)
- teaching across Victorian contexts
North Carolina State University offers a unique institutional locus for these discussions, considering its institutional mission and facilities. The conference also features a keynote by Dr. Alison Byerly whose research in Victorian studies prefaced her current career administering liberal arts education, now as President of Lafayette College. As the state capital of North Carolina, Raleigh offers a vibrant downtown and ready access to air transportation as well as neighboring institutions in the Research Triangle.