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Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America: A Transatlantic Exchange

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 15 January 2006

Deadline for Proposals:  January 15th, 2006
Conference Date: 14. April. 2006

The Nineteenth Century Forum (NCF), an interdisciplinary group comprised
of faculty and graduate students at the University of Michigan, invites
proposals for panels and individual papers for its graduate student
conference "Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America: A
Transatlantic Exchange."

The convergence of art and politics during the nineteenth century unites
two of the most important spheres of thought in both the Americas and the
United Kingdom.  These spheres clearly never remained wholly separate but
were profoundly affected by each other and raise some important issues for
us today.  How did nineteenth-century figures negotiate between the
individual and the collective in and through art?  Why did certain artists
in the nineteenth-century turn to politics?  How did their political
interests impact their art?  And how do we re-present nineteenth-century
political art to our own modern communities?

Some of the same questions that we face as teachers and scholars of the
21st century were also articulated in the 19th century, as modern
university education was coming into it own.  How do nineteenth-century
practices and politics inform our academic work and how might that
translate into our own engagement in or with politics-on and off the page,
inside and outside the university-today?

Taking these questions as our central focus, this one-day conference seeks
graduate student contributions that engage such questions and their
relevance to nineteenth-century texts.

Possible points of entry include:
* Political Art or Art as Politics:  How do c19 artists use their art as a 
  medium for political expression?
* The Politics of the Personal:  How do c19 figures negotiate between the 
  individual and the collective through art?
* Imagining Political Pasts and Futures: How do c19 figures position 
  themselves temporally and spatially?
* Art and Empire:  How is art used in the service of nationalistic or 
  imperialistic ventures?
* Politicizing Place:  How does the representation of c19 places or 
  landscapes contribute to attitudes about land use, agriculture, outdoor 
  leisure, or environmental justice?

The conference will conclude with a roundtable on art and politics as they
relate to our pedagogies and to our academic communities.

We encourage both pre-formed panels and individual contributions from
graduate students in all disciplines.  Papers with inter- or
multidisciplinary approaches are especially appreciated.  Please submit
250-word abstracts, along with your institutional affiliation and contact
information, to by 15. January. 2006.  
Selected papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length.

* * *
The Nineteenth Century Forum (NCF) is comprised of faculty and graduate students from English, History, Comparative Literature, American Culture, Women's Studies, and related departments at the University of Michigan. We are interested in examining the "long nineteenth century," from the beginnings of Romanticism to the early twentieth century. Please visit our website at for more information.
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