CFP: “A War of No Common Description: An International Conference on the Transnational Reception of Waterloo in the 19th Century.”

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, the Centre for Reception Studies of the KU Leuven organizes a conference on the transnational reception of the event in the 19th century. Recent scholarship has compellingly demonstrated that the Battle evoked incisive socio-political and cultural responses that deeply impacted 19th-century aesthetic theory and production, as well as ideas of nationhood, history, community and cultural memory. As the key event leading to the demise of Napoleonic France and the emergence of post-Napoleonic Europe as a new geopolitical and cultural space, the Battle has long remained caught in nationalist ideologies and historiography. This conference stands as an open invitation to reconsider the Battle and its broad cultural reception throughout the 19th century.

Within an interdisciplinary framework of literary criticism and historiography, reception and cultural memory studies, we welcome papers that discuss the reception of Waterloo in literature, periodicals, graphic arts, historiography, monuments and other media. Primary focus will be on the United Kingdom, France, the German Confederation/Empire and the Low Countries, but consideration of other regions is by all means encouraged.

The conference will take place in Brussels, the multilingual and culturally hybrid capital of Belgium and Europe, located only 20 km from Waterloo. The lingua franca of the conference will be English, but papers can be delivered in other languages. Proposals should indicate the language of the presentation. A selection of papers will be published in a volume of essays or a special journal issue.

Questions that can be addressed include:

  • How was the Battle commemorated in literary works, periodicals, biographies, works of art, monuments, etc.?
  • How does this reception relate to the dominant nationalist ideology of 19th-century historiography?
  • How did particular literary authors engage with the Battle in their private and/or public writings?
  • Was there any significant transnational interaction and if so, does this transnational perspective correct and/or complement the traditional national perspective?
  • Was this reception carried across national boundaries by translation, adaptation, periodical reviewing, or other means?
  • Can we detect the emergence of a European cultural space in the wake of the Battle, parallel to the emergence of a post-Napoleonic European geopolitical order in the decades immediately following the event?
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Jeffrey N. Cox (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Norbert Eke (Universität Paderborn)

Jean-Marc Largeaud (Université François Rabelais de Tours)

Philippe Raxhon (Université de Liège)

Peter Philipp Riedl (Universität Freiburg)

Philip Shaw (University of Leicester)

Jeroen Van Zanten (Universiteit Amsterdam)

Janneke Weijermars (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Proposals (max. 250 words) for 20-minute papers should be sent before 20 March 2015 to one of the conference convenors:

Successful applicants will be notified by 15 April 2015.

In collaboration with the international conference on “La chose de Waterloo: fortune et sens d’une bataille en littérature” (Centre de recherche sur l’imaginaire de l’Université Catholique de Louvain and the Département of French literature of the University of Antwerp).

More detail on http://waterloo19.be

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