Call for papers

The Neo-Victorian and the Late-Victorian: Texts, Media, Politics

2-3 September 2021, University of Brighton

The call for papers has now closed

Thank you to everyone who has sent us their abstracts. The conference organisers are currently in the processes of reviewing these and we look forward to announcing the full programme in the coming weeks.


The last few decades have witnessed an increasing interest in revisiting, reproducing or rewriting various aspects of nineteenth-century culture, particularly that of the late Victorian period, whether in the form of neo-Victorian literature, steampunk, media archaeology, fashion, documentaries and period dramas, among others.

This trend has received various different interpretations, either as part of the recycling of past periods, styles and texts characteristic of postmodernism of the 1980s, of the ‘memory boom’ of the 1990s and the ensuing culture of commemoration, anniversaries and memorialisation, or the most recent signs of a widespread imperial nostalgia, evident not just in various media texts, such as film or television, but also in contemporary political realities like Brexit.

These are only some of the symptoms of this widespread trend and only some instances of the critical approaches that they have received, and this two-day conference seeks to explore this trend from a diverse range of disciplinary, theoretical and methodological perspectives.

The specific focus of the conference is on papers that address the dialectic relationship between the two historical periods. We are particularly interested in the ways in which the late-Victorian is re-envisioned and reconceptualised within the neo-Victorian.

The list below is only indicative of areas for which we welcome submission of abstracts:

  • neo-Victorianism in literature, film and television
  • Gothic horror, then and now: literature, film, television and gaming
  • steampunk (literature, art, fashion, subculture)
  • contemporary politics and imperial nostalgia (Empire 2.0, Global Britain, etc.)
  • media archaeology, archive studies, museums and the late Victorian ‘frenzy of the visible’
  • contemporary sexual politics and late Victorian queer cultures
  • The New Woman and the suffragette movement
  • contemporary terrorism and the 1890s
  • crime, detection and punishment
  • nostalgia and material culture: the yearning for the handmade

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