1998 NVSA Teasers
Friday, April 3
3:00 - 4:30 Local Knowledge
Moderator: Eleni Coundouriotis, U of Connecticut
"Hodge and His Ethnographers: Chronicling the Rural Laborer, 1870-1902"
Patricia O'Hara, Franklin & Marshall C.
Late century interpretations of rustic behaviors and habits are premised
upon the anthropological "doctrine of survivals," which construed an analogy
between extant primitive foreign cultures and the culture of Hodge--an
"other" English culture regarded as a repository of "strange survivals."
The anthropological science of culture draws paradigmatic parallels between
primitive and rustic cultures.
"Tourism and National Identity in Clough's 'Long-Vacation Pastoral'"
Donald Ulin, Indiana
Urban Britons touring the countryside of this most urbanized, industrialized
nation testified to the "deep-seated rurality" characteristic of the English
character. This paradoxical construction of national identity requires
a negotiation between the modern experience of rural life (the vacation)
and conventional strategies for representing that life (the Georgic, the
pastoral) of the sort found in Arthur Hugh Clough's The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich:
a Long-Vacation Pastoral. Through the mechanisms of modern tourism,
the countryside is made to underwrite bourgeois values and social structure.
"Tess of Wessex"
John P. Farrell, U of Texas at Austin.
The convergence of the historical and spatial structures at play throughout
Tess of the D’Urbervilles constitutes a Bakhtinian chronotope,
literally a "time-space." The text positions Tess in Wessex landscapes
that she finds to be both native and alien at once. She wanders in a "transcendental
homelessness" which, strangely, becomes her home. [For a longer
abstract, click here.]
7:30 pm Guest Speaker
Christopher Herbert, Northwestern U
"Frazer and the Sacredness of the Image"
9:00 -11:00 Nation Formation.
Saturday, April 4
Moderator: Pat Saunders-Evans, Rutgers U.
"Furthering Citizens' Dispositions: J.S. Mill and Liberal Nationalism"
Colene Bentley, McGill U.
In On Liberty and in Representative Government, John
Stuart Mill endeavoured to find a new place for English nationalism in
the public sphere of civil society, which was to be made up of autonomous,
rational, reflective, and articulate individuals whose decisions would
be unblinkered by convention and tradition. Moving away from the Burkean
view of national identity as comprised of shared culture, memory, and responsibility,
Mill attempts to navigate between civic and national identities, by acknowledging
that liberal choices are made within extra-political contexts, one of which
"Thomas Carlyle on "Repeal of the Union": Theorizing early Victorian Unionism,
Irish Nationalism, and Constructions of National Identity"
Amy Martin, Columbia U.
Early Victorian British Unionism relies on a complex construction of
"Irishness" that is composed of an understanding of race that defies epidermal
marking, of anarchic masculinity and sexuality, and of class conditions
posited as the result not of socioeconomic circumstances but of Irish difference
itself. Certain Irish nationalisms are not just `anti-colonial, but
the very imperialist discourses which construct them are in reaction against
nationalisms emerging in the colonies.
"Spanish Gypsies and African-American Intellectuals: Ethnic Nationalism
in George Eliot and Frances E. Harper"
Tricia Lootens, U of Georgia.
Working from E.J. Hobsbawm's work on ethnic nationalism, the paper
considers Eliot's development of a concept of sacrificial ethnic identity
in The Spanish Gypsy and Daniel Deronda. Harper, the
"mother" of African-American women's journalism and the most successful
African-American poet of her century, appropriates and transforms that
sacrificial identity in her works "Moses" and Iola Leroy.
"Olive Schreiner Invents a South African Race"
Paula M. Krebs, Wheaton C.
Because race, for Olive Schreiner, means the differences between
Briton and Boer as much as between black and white, her articles and pamphlets
discussing the Boer are her most significant attempts to define the racial
future of the South African nation. She invokes the language of race
in attempting to shape a distinctively South African national identity
which takes account of (though it does not include) Zulu, Bushman, and
1:45-3:15 Ethnologies and Ethologies.
Moderator: Suzy Anger, U of Maryland Baltimore County.
"Ethnology and Ethnography: A.C. Haddon and the Construction of Anthropological
Knowledge in late Victorian Britain"
Sandra Rouse, Cambridge U.
A.C. Haddon's original conception of what constituted anthropological
knowledge was grounded in his early field expeditions to Torres Strait
in 1888 and the Aran Islands in 1890-91. After each expedition he redefined
the boundaries of his ethnology and ethnography in light of his field data
and the dictates of scientific societies to create a novel and idiosyncratic
vision of anthropology. By 1898 he had translated his vision into an "ideal"
anthropological expedition the results of which defined the structure of
the discipline at Cambridge for the next fifty years.
"Charles Darwin: The Parent as Anthropologist"
Eileen Gillooly, Columbia U.
The figure of the parent that emerges in the advice literature of mid-century
Britain is a devoted gardener, attentively nursing the tender seedlings
in her care. Darwin not only modelled his parenting on this trope,
but the qualities he identifies in the Autobiography as vital to
his success as a scientist--love, observation, patience--are long associated
with the feminine, and with this new model of the parent. His emotional
investment in parenting increasingly reveals itself in the content, rhetoric,
and affect of his scientific writing after The Voyage of the Beagle.
"Darwin on Gender: From Ethology to Anthropology"
Jennifer Gerstel, U of Toronto.
In The Descent of Man, Darwin argues persuasively that female
choice and male display function as selective, shaping agents in all species
he surveys--until he gets to humankind, in which the gender roles are abruptly
reversed. Darwin, however, seems to glide over this glaring discontinuity
unconcerned. He concentrates instead on the way in which racial and
gender traits among an interbreeding population become fixed when the principles
upon which mate choices are made remain consistent through many generations,
he thereby preserves a semblance of scientific decorum.
3:30-5:00 Urban Studies.
Moderator: Jonathan Loesberg, American U.
"'Instruments of Torture': Territories, Identities, and Street Music
in Victorian London."
John M. Picker, U of Virginia.
Battles over street noises in London were not just concretely but conceptually
territorial: they attempted to protect not just neighborhoods and
city blocks from intrusive noises, but also such regions of identity as
professionalism, nationality, and the body. Those opposed to annoying
street sounds endeavoured to defend the purity of English national identity
against the taint of foreign influence; to uphold economic and social divisions
between the lower and middle classes; and to protect the frail, afflicted
bodies of (English, middle-class) invalids from the invasive, debilitating
effects of (foreign, lower-class) street music.
"Civic Culture, Local Identity, and Museums in Nineteenth-Century Brighton"
Franklin Headley, Columbia U.
During the nineteenth century, local governments like Brighton's took
on the role of keeper of public collections. In the 1830’s, however, it
seemed in no way inevitable that it would develop a strong enough urban
identity to be willing to pay for a municipally supported museum.
Yet despite its rather poor start when compared to the older commercial/
industrial cities like Norwich, Bristol, Manchester, and Birmingham, Brighton
began the twentieth century with a well established art gallery and museum
that held one of the most ambitious series of contemporary international
exhibitions ever seen in a provincial English town.
"Mirror Images: John Thomson's Photographic Projects in East Asia and East
Thomas Prasch, Washburn U.
John Thomson, a pioneer in the use of photography as a tool for
anthropology, first used it in East Asia in the1860s. Achieving realism
by bringing his camera into the streets, his carefully composed photographs
cement his theories about social types. Turning in the 1870s to the
street laborers of East London earlier studied by Henry Mayhew, he uses
the the same range of artistic conventions to underscore Mayhew's distinction
between "civilized" and "nomadic" peoples, explicitly cross-referencing
his Asian photographic work.
7:30 pm “Victorian Gardens Lost and Found”
C. John Burk (Smith College)
10:30-12:00 There and Back Again.
Sunday, April 5
Moderator: Sarah Gates, Babson C.
"Tropical Ovaries: Obstetrics, Ethnography, and Vampiric Bodies in Tilt,
Braddon, Conan Doyle and Stoker"
Piya Pal Lapinski, Bowling Green State U.
Nineteenth-century constructions of female vampires are located within
the intersections of gynecological and ethnographic discourse. In
such disparate examples as Braddon's Lady Ducayne, Doyle's Sussex Vampire,
and Stoker's White Worm, female vampires are sexually aggressive, racially
indeterminate courtesans who endlessly reproduce themselves, and threaten
the to overwhelm the reproductive power of Englishwomen--and thereby the
British Empire itself.
"The Madness of Sir Francis Galton: The Colonial and Eugenic Origins of
Simon Cole, Rutgers U.
The earliest Western experiments with fingerprint identification took
place in Bengal. Francis Galton's attempts to correlate fingerprint patterns
with race, ethnicity, gender, intelligence, insanity, and criminal propensity
combined with a misunderstanding of the Indian caste system to construct
a notion of hereditary criminal tribes. When fingerprint identification
was exported back to Europe and applied to class rather than caste, it
helped construct the new "knowledge" of hereditarian criminology.
"Carnival and Antiquity: Bullock's London Museum and the Display of Ancient
Robert Aguirre, Wayne State U.
Alhough it is the first display of Mexican artifacts after Mexico's
1821 independence, William Bullock's 1824 display has been ignored by scholars
because of its blend of shameless, low-brow theatricality and naked economic
opportunism. Many of Bullock's items, however, wound up in the British
Museum, and an examination of Bullock's show tells us something about the
function of popular entertainment in the formation of European museum consciousness.
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