Victorian Studies Association of Ontario-ACCUTE CFP

Many Happy Returns: The Anniversary in Victorian Britain

A Joint Panel of the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario (VSAO) and
the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English Conference (ACCUTE)

Ryerson University, Toronto
27-30 May 2017

On the occasion of its own fiftieth anniversary, the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario invites proposals for the 2017 ACCUTE Conference that address the topic of anniversaries in and of Victorian culture. Literary representations of anniversaries and annual commemorations range from the mournful to the joyous and even laughable: Tennyson’s contemplation of Hallam’s absence every Christmas, Esther Summerson’s “most melancholy” childhood birthdays, triumphal Jubilee poetry, and Alice’s 364 un-birthdays. They describe a cultural space for the exercise of individual and collective memory, different practices of counting, religious and secular rituals, and totems of personal, national, and imperial devotion. Proposals might also consider the memorializing of events within literary works or the memorializing of literary works as events, or offer a retrospective analysis of a Victorian work on its anniversary.

We invite prospective panelists to interpret the topic broadly and imaginatively, and especially welcome papers adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Papers might address:

– anniversaries and birthdays in Victorian literature and culture
– memorials, commemorations, and the artefacts of commemoration
– Queen Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees
– critical reassessments of works or authors celebrating significant “birthdays” or “deathdays” in 2017
– the literary significance of 1867’s historical milestones (e.g., the Second Reform Act, Canadian Confederation)
– 150 years of the Royal Society of Arts’ commemorative “Blue Plaques” program (and other memorializing practices and monuments)
– the marking of recurring events, rituals, or moments
– the commodification of birthdays and anniversaries: food, gifts, and other celebratory objects

Questions and submissions should be sent to: Please submit the following as separate attachments by 1 November 2016:
–       a proposal of 300-500 words without personal identifying marks
–       an abstract of 100 words and a bio of 50 words
–       a 2017 Proposal Information Sheet, available on the ACCUTE website:
–       Speakers must be members of VSAO and ACCUTE at the time of the conference. The second oldest Victorian studies association in the world, the VSAO welcomes new members from universities, libraries, museums – all those who share an interest in Victorian culture. For more information about the VSAO, please visit

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