North American Victorian Studies Association Conference

Just Victorians

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

September 29 – October 2, 2022

Lehigh University is proud to host the North American Victorian Studies Association conference in Fall 2022. “Just Victorians” will bring together scholars from around the world representing numerous disciplines, from September 29 to October 2. We will host a majority of the conference in person at the Hotel Bethlehem in historic Moravian Bethlehem, recently listed as a World Heritage site, and at Lehigh University’s Asa Packer Campus.

We invite attendees to reconsider the nineteenth-century commitment to justice as well as the presumed limitations of our understanding of “Victorian.” New models of undisciplining the field of Victorian studies interrogate established methods, aesthetics, and geographies–challenging the scope, forms, and peoples of the period. While many Victorians dedicated themselves to social causes throughout the century, including campaigns for racial, decolonial, environmental, and health justice, this dedication often led to unforeseen consequences, including devastating damages to underprivileged individuals in urban settings, colonized peoples, and women and racialized subjects. Conference presenters may investigate how Victorian pursuits of justice were ardent and their conceptualizations of “the just” were limited. Victorians sought justice, and their successes and failures invite us to reconsider what we mean by just Victorian studies. What constituted Victorian social justice? How did Victorians actively seek out justice for themselves and others? In what ways did Victorians envision justice and for whom? What were the limits of Victorian visions of justice?

How has the scope of “the Victorian” limited our fields and methods? Are there meaningful limits to the “Victorian” in Victorian studies?

We are planning for a limited number of slots for remote presentations in a hybrid setup at the local conference. When submitting your abstract to the portal, an option for “remote presentation required” will be provided.  If you have any questions regarding this hybrid option, please email the conference organizers.

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