VISAWUS 2021: Victorian Transitions

Virtual: October 14-16, 2021

The 2021 VISAWUS conference will be held virtually. Join us for synchronous panels, a keynote presentation, the annual business meeting, and the awarding of the Scheuerle prize.

Keynote Speaker:  Jolene Zigarovich, University of Northern Iowa

With the optimism that Victorianists are noted for, VISAWUS announces a CFP for the rescheduled 2020 conference.  Please note that people whose proposals were accepted for the 2020 conference, and who have contacted the organizers to reaffirm their intention of attending, need not contact the organizers again.


TThe Victorian Era was one of transitions. Victorian Britain transitioned from a rural to urban society. It transitioned from an emergent empire to the dominant imperial power. It transitioned from a walking, water, wind, and animal-based transportation system to a steam-powered transportation system. It transitioned from a regional to national and then imperial culture.

Our scholarly and pedagogical engagements with the era have also undergone a number of transitions. How do we and can we understand the word transitions as it applies to the Victorian era, its people, its art, its popular culture, and the scholarship and pedagogy engaged with them? How does the emergence of TRANS studies change the way we think about the Victorian and our own scholarly and pedagogical approaches to the era? How has the wider public’s understanding of and engagement with the Victorian era undergone transitions? 

We encourage papers across all disciplines, including (but not restricted to) art history, literature, gender, history of science, history, material culture, political science, performance, life writing, journalism, photography, popular culture, and economics.

We welcome panels or papers on any of the above or the following topics:

Transitions in and through:

  • Education
  • Law
  • Trans Studies
  • Religion, Theology, & Spirituality
  • Medicine
  • Sexuality
  • Gender Identities & Roles
  • Social Codes
  • Cityscapes
  • Agriculture
  • Engineering
  • Popular Culture
  • Manufacturing
  • Literary Genres
  • Transnationalism
  • History
  • Transatlantic culture, politics, & law
  • Copyright
  • Politics
  • Art
  • Design
  • Periodicals
  • Museums
  • Leisure & Entertainment
  • Empire
  • Scholarship–Victorian & Modern
  • Publishing
  • Media
  • Clothing & Dress
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Pedagogy—contemporary & modern
  • Communication
  • Travel/Tourism
  • Public Space(s)
  • Social Reform
  • Theater
  • Empire
  • Housing
  • Neo-Victorian Fiction, Poetry, Art, & Performance
  • Architecture

Please send a 300-word abstract with a one page CV (including an email address) as one file by May 1, 2021 to rfulton1945[@]

MS Word version of the CFP

Graduate Students are eligible for the William H. Scheuerle Graduate Student Paper Award ($600).

About our Keynote Speaker

Jolene Zigarovich’s book publications include Writing Death and Absence in the Victorian Novel: Engraved Narratives, and she is editor of Sex and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature as well as TransGothic in Literature and Culture (Routledge 2017). Her work has been published in ANQ, Dickens Quarterly, Dickens Studies Annual, Eighteenth-Century Life, Studies in the Novel, The Wilkie Collins Journal, Victorian Review, and Women’s Studies. Her current work in progress, Necropolitics: Legislating the Dead Body and the Victorian Novel, considers the posthumous life of characters uncannily bound by legislation in the Victorian novel.


The 2005-2019 conference schedules are now archived online.  Browse the list below.