DISCOVERY | The 42nd Annual Virtual Conference
Nineteenth Century Studies Association, March 11-13, 2021
Proposal Deadline: October 31, 2020

NCSA welcomes proposals for papers, panels, roundtables, and special
sessions that explore our theme of “Discovery” in the long nineteenth
century (1789-1914). Scholars are invited to interrogate the trope of
“discovery” by questioning the term’s ideological and colonial
implications. Why was the concept of “discovery” so appealing in the
nineteenth century, and what does its popularity tell us about the people
and social structures that were so invested in it? Papers might also
consider indigenous perspectives that challenge ideas of western
“discovery” and settler colonialism, new voices that theorize and critique
nineteenth-century “discoveries,” intellectual exchange between cultures,
and other methods of unmasking narratives of exploration and “discovery.”

As an interdisciplinary organization, we particularly seek papers by
scholars working in art/architecture/visual studies, cultural studies,
economics, gender and sexuality, history (including history of the book),
language and literature, law and politics, musicology, philosophy, and
science (and the history of science). In light of the many changes in
pedagogy, research, and the exchange of ideas we have all experienced this
past year, we particularly welcome papers, panels, or roundtable topics
that address discoveries in the use of technology for nineteenth-century
studies and teaching.

Papers might discuss recovering forgotten manuscripts, or discovering new
ways of thinking about aesthetic and historical periods. Scholars might
explore not only the physical recovery of the past (archeology, geology),
but also intellectual recovery as old ideas become new (evolution,
neoclassicism, socialism, spiritualism). Papers might discuss publicizing
discoveries (periodicals, lectures), exhibiting discoveries (museums,
world’s fairs, exhibitions), or redressing the legacy of nineteenth-century
practices (decolonization of museum collections and the repatriation of
colonial-era artifacts). Other topics might include rediscovering and
revisiting the period itself: teaching the nineteenth century, editing
primary texts, and working toward diversity and social justice in the

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