CFP: Neo-Victorian Cities: A Reconsideration of Nineteenth-Century Metropolises as Utopian and Dystopian Places

Neo-Victorian Cities: A Reconsideration of Nineteenth-Century Metropolises as
Utopian and Dystopian Places

We invite contributions on Neo-Victorian Cities for the fourth volume in the
ongoing Neo-Victorian Studies series, to be published by Rodopi in 2014. This
collection will explore the paradoxical endeavour to represent the modernity of
the past, that is, a modernity that is no longer modern; it will also examine
the retrospective presentation of Victorian metropolises in the light of
contemporary approaches of urban politics insisting, for example, upon the
influence of environmentalist grievances or globalist claims on the depictions
of the city as a site of literal and metaphorical pollution or as a progressive
force enabling the erasure of various forms of essentialism. If the metropolis
is now seen as a synecdoche of the world, it remains to be analysed how this
conception echoes or contradicts the Victorian conception of the city as a
synecdoche of the Empire. Does the hypermodern understanding of urbanism as a
purveyor of plural ethnoscapes, mediascapes and ideoscapes find an echo in the
re-examination of nineteenth-century cities as the centres of social and
ideological reform?
Being by essence palimpsestuous places where the past can be read in the
present and where the dead are present in the living, metropolises naturally
encourage neo-Victorianism to compare the cities of the Empire to the cities of
the globalised world and to juxtapose the ambiguities of the one and those of
the other. We would like to encourage papers to investigate the problematic
tension between the city as a site of social segregation and injustice and the
city as a site of social progress, the city as an ethical place of meeting with
and understanding of the other and the city as a place (or a non-place) of
negation of the individual, the city as a location of creative experimentation
and the city as a location of annihilation. We would also like to encourage
papers to analyse the technical means used by neo-Victorian film and literature
to try and convey the idea of modernity in progress inherent to the
representation of Victorian cities in progress. How does neo-Victorianism manage
to highlight the construction of modernity which is at the same time obsolete
and never-ending?

Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

•    The neo-Victorian city as a site of experimentation
•    Global cities and national identity
•    Global urbanism vs Imperial urbanism
•    Victorian cities as metaphors for the ambiguities of globalisation
•    The Victorian metropolis as a place of the past and as a place of passage
towards the present
•    The Victorian city as a prefiguration of the experience of the migrant
•    The Victorian city as the place of our modernity
•    The Victorian city as mirror for or a lesson to postmodernity
•    Neo-Victorian metropolises and feminism
•    Neo-Victorian metropolises and postcolonialism
•    Neo-Victorian metropolises and Marxism
•    Neo-Victorian metropolises and queer studies
•    The re-imagined nineteenth-century flaneur
•    The city as theatre
•    The urban architecture of crime and justice: courts of law, prisons and public
•    Cities’ public places vs. domestic spheres
•    The politics of public spectacle (festivals, pageants, processions, galleries,
exhibitions, etc.)
•    The urban underground (sewers, water supply systems, tunnels, and crypts)
•    The monstrous city: enabling spaces of crime, exploitation, and perversity
•    Metropolises and their margins

Please send 300 word proposals for 8,000-10,000 word chapters to the series
editors: Dr Marie-Luise Kohlke at and Prof Christian
Gutleben at by 15th January 2013. Please add a short
biographical note. Completed chapters will be due by end September 2013.

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