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Unfinished Victorians: Northeast Victorian Studies Association (NVSA) 2018 Conference at Penn
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm
Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 10:00am to 6:00pm
Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 9:00am to 1:00pm

Rose Recital Hall - Fisher-Bennett 419

Jürgen Habermas famously claimed that modernity, despite its failings and contradictions, was an "unfinished project" in which we should still be optimistically engaged. The 2018 annual conference of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association (NVSA) will consider ways in which we might understand the Victorian period and its aesthetic products as unfinished. What Victorian projects are Victorianists still advancing, or working against? How did the Victorians see themselves, their society, and their creative works as unfinished? 

Many of the theories we associate with the Victorian era were concerned with unfinished processes and where they might be headed: Darwin’s evolutionary thought, Marx’s historicism and related utopian and dystopian imaginings. We find this theme as well in the forms of the period. The seeming totality of the realist novel and the completion implied by acculturation and development, for instance, are accompanied by awareness of elements that art cannot capture. How might a focus on the “unfinished” offer new insight on the aesthetic and political categories that we inherit from the nineteenth century? 

Hosted at Penn, this conference will feature a plenary panel with keynote talks by Jonathan Grossman, Meredith Martin, and Andrew Miller, five panels, a pedagogy session on teaching under present political conditions, a lunch meeting where next year’s conference topic will be decided, a dinner banquet, a tour of the Lea Library, and various receptions and social events.

The program and additional information can be found at: