CFP: Transforming Objects

Transforming Objects
28-29 May 2012, Northumbria University
Keynote Speakers: Dr Sarah Haggarty (Newcastle) and Dr John Holmes (Reading)
This two-day conference invites papers that consider the transformation of objects and the transformations effected by objects from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Approaches to this theme are welcomed from established scholars and especially from postgraduate research students.
Object theory and discourses of materiality largely engage with objects as stable items of a permanent nature; this conference seeks to address those moments which slip through the gaps of such readings. We wish to explore the method and process of transformation, the between-ness or not fully realised state of an object or discipline, and to consider its effect upon the culture.
We are keen for papers to address particular historical, cultural, or social environments in which transformations take place or are enabled by. The conference aims to provoke discussion about such moments of change and the important role of objects in transformations between period, discipline, location, and sensation, as well as engaging with more broader considerations of bodily transformation and states of metamorphosis.
We hope the action of ‘transforming’ and the term ‘object’ will be engaged with in their widest sense, and therefore welcome proposals which interpret the conference theme in innovative and expansive ways. Topics of particular interest though include:
  • Psychological transformations, altered states, derangement, and hallucinatory experiences
  • Industrial transformation: travel and communication (from railways to cars, the mail coach to the telegraph)
  • Visuality: transformations in perceptual modes and methods.
  • Intertextuality and the transformation of texts within texts
  • Histories of the book, transformations in printing, the effect of technology upon the page
  • The growth of digital humanities and transformed ways of encountering the text
  • Disciplinarity, categorisation, and periodicity: creating and dismantling boundaries
  • Spatial transformations and the experience of movement
  • Serial publishing and transforming temporalities of reading
  • Remediation and the lifecycle of objects
  • Text transformed by objects: experimentalism and additions to the textual page
  • The professionalisation of the sciences and medical practices
  • Adaptation across genre: text into film, theatre, music, or the visual arts
  • It-narratives and the voice of the object
  • Experiencing transformation through the body and the senses
  • Merchandise: from text to cultural commodity item
Please send abstracts (250 words) for 20-minute papers, along with a brief biographical note, to the conference organisers, Nicole Bush and Anna Hope: The deadline for abstracts is 4 March 2012.
For further details and updates please see the website:
Supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS).
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