Theme: Victorian Elements

Thursday, October 19th to Saturday, October 21st, 2023

at the Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA

Keynote Speaker:
Jesse Oak Taylor (University of Washington)

view initial Call for Papers (PDF)

view Conference Program (PDF)

Painting of storm over the ocean with islands in the background

We encourage papers across all disciplines. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Elements of style in the Victorian era (design, literary form, fashion, architecture, etc.)
  • Braving the elements: weather, the environment, and climate change, then and now
  • The periodic table of elements and its history
  • The discovery of radium, polonium, and other “new” elements
  • Classical elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether
  • Elementals: gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders
  • Elementary education and educational reforms in the Victorian era
  • Elements of detection and deduction in Victorian literature and culture
  • Criminal elements in Victorian society
  • Elements of Victorian art—landscape, portraits, narrative art, history painting
  • Foreign and domestic elements that generated the rise of London’s art and literary markets
  • Political, economic, and legal elements in Victorian literature and culture
  • The exhibition, display, and interpretation of elements: chemical, natural, cultural, or social
  • Elements and evolution, the elements of evolution
  • Victorian Elements in the Modern Novel
  • Elements of Victorian music (pitch, timbre, tonality, rhythm, volume, texture, tempo, etc.)
  • Elements in the history of collecting: private and public museum collections, and curators’ and collectors’ motives at work.
  • Rethinking what is elemental in Victorian Studies and in the Victorian Studies classroom
  • Rethinking what is elemental in Victorian feminism and ideas about gender/sexuality

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

The VISAWUS Conference hotel is the Executive Hotel Pacific, a 3.5-star hotel located at 400 Spring Street (Fourth Avenue and Spring Street), directly across Spring Street from the Seattle Public Library.  The hotel just finished a complete renovation.  Amenities include complimentary in room wireless internet, complimentary in room water bottle and coffee maker, a 24-hour cardio fitness center, morning coffee and pastries (but no breakfast as such), and complimentary wine tasting Monday-Friday afternoons from 5-6.  The hotel provides valet parking at $45 a day.

Seattle’s Light Rail from the airport stops at University and Third, three blocks from the Executive Hotel.  Fare is $3.25 for adults.  Cab fare from SeaTac is $45-$55.  For those driving from other venues in the Seattle area, parking is available at the underground Seattle Public Library lot (enter from Spring Street); the lot is open from 7-9 Thursday and Friday, and 8:45-7 on Saturday.  Fees range from $8/hr to $32/day. See the Central Library website for a complete fee schedule.