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Thinking about Progress 1800-1850
London, April 2003

Thinking about progress 1800-1850

Thursday 10 - Saturday 12 April 2003, Senate House, University of London,

Keynote speakers:
Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Professor Peter Bowler (Queens University, Belfast)
Professor James Chandler (University of Chicago)
Professor Annie Janowitz (QMW, University of London)

What did people think about progress in the years 1800-1850? Did they
conceive of the changes happening in their world as improvement or
decline; did they see themselves as moving forward, or were they looking
back? Did they see themselves at the start of a new age of technological
improvement and social reform, or did they view the huge changes taking
place around them as a threat to tradition?

The great age of progress is often regarded as the period after the Great
Exhibition, but the decades before this saw a ferment of innovative
developments in fields ranging from industry to music. We invite papers
from across disciplines on aspects of early nineteenth-century
progressivism, representations of progress and reactions to progress.

We invite papers on aspects of progress, including, but not limited to:

* Visions of progress
* European thinking on progress and its influence in Britain
* Is time linear or circular?
* Fictions of progress
* Reactions against progress
* New inventions
* The improvement of Man
* The progress of the sciences
* Reform movements
* Conservation
* The forward march of history
* Revolutions
* New movements in music
* Proponents of the new
* Popular protests against progress
* The Poor Law
* The progress of Empire
* Spectacles of progress
* Female progressives
* Metaphors of progress
* Pessimism Nostalgia

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be sent by 1 September 2002 to:
Nicola Bown, School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck College, Malet
Street, London WC1E 7HX, UK. e-mail:
David Clifford, Homerton College, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2PH. e-mail:
E-mail submission is preferred, but no attachments please.
Nicola Bown
Birkbeck College