Remembering VSAWC 2015

25 June 2015

VSAWC 2015 (April 10 to 11, 2015):*

Victorian Bodies

at the Manteo Lakeside Resort in Kelowna, BC


A link to linear version of our story if you prefer:


Conference organizers would like to thank the following sponsors:

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBCO


Victorian Review


Massey College


Another VSAWC Conference has Come and Gone

19 August 2014

Catch up on the fun had below! We hope to see everyone next year!



Victorian Review Site Preview: An Interview with Monica Flegel (VSAWC 2013)

27 December 2013

Cat Ladies from "The Curious Brain"

We sat down to talk with Monica Flegel about animal studies at VSAWC 2013. Her paper at the conference, “Becoming Crazy Cat Lady: Victorian Spinsters and their Furry Kin,” builds on her work on Victorian animal and children’s rights, with a particular focus on the construction of the spinster and her cat as a type of family.

We asked Dr. Flegel to describe the nature of her research. She noted that, in general, people are under the impression that children acquired rights before animals and thus animals had fewer rights than children, which isn’t the case. Dr. Flegel argues that “children’s rights were about making children less like humans and more like animals at the end of the century.”

She briefly discussed the difference between pets and wild animals, specifically the domestication hierarchy. Dr. Flegel argues that pets are outside the default human-animal relationship. She suggests that domesticated animals do not represent nor symbolise the “true” animal, that the comparison is too simplistic. Pets, she says, “have a place in human culture, and can trouble concepts of the nuclear family.” On a controversial topic, we asked about her stance on the concept of humans and other animals, and “nonhuman animals.” Dr. Flegel contends that the term “nonhuman animals” suggests a speciesist approach. “Materially we do not live in the way that animals do,” she argues, “as Derrida said there is an abyss between us and other animals,” but pointing out the divide between animals and humans is not meant to suggest that humans are “better, and other, and higher” than animals, but that our alterity cannot be bridged “by saying that we are animals too.” Moreover, we can still have “ethical relations with animals without [suggesting] that we are all animals together.”

Monica Flegel

Monica Flegel is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her research interests include Victorian Studies, Cultural Studies and children and animals. Dr. Flegel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Honours English from the University of Saskatchewan, a Masters degree in English from Dalhousie University, and a PhD of English from the University of Alberta. Her current research on Victorian pets is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

– Sabrina Schoch, Constance Crompton, and Ruth Knechtel

For previous entries in this series, see our interview with Sarah Bull.


Victorian Review Site Preview: An Interview with Sarah Bull (VSAWC 2013)

19 December 2013

We sat down with Sarah Bull in April to discuss her Spring 2012 Victorian Review article “Purveyor of Garbage? Charles Carrington and the Marketing of Sexual Science in Late-Victorian Britain.” Her work examines the relationship between nineteenth century pornographic and sexual science texts. In her article, she argues that Charles Carrington, the preeminent producer of these texts, “perceived that science and pornography’s overlapping terrain” was quietly acknowledged by readers (56).

We asked Sarah about her new research:


She also shared what she thinks is the exciting development or new direction in Victorian Studies:


Sarah Bull

Sarah Bull is a graduate student at Simon Fraser University in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her dissertation “examines how, why, and to what effect sexual-scientific works circulated through the Victorian pornography trade,” under the supervision of Colette Colligan. Ms. Bull’s research interests include the history of science, Victorian literature, history of sexuality, and obscenity studies. Sarah Bull is the 2013 Victorian Review Editors Prize winner for her article “Purveyor of Garbage? Charles Carrington and the Marketing of Sexual Science in Late-Victorian Britain.”

– Sabrina Schoch, Constance Crompton, and Ruth Knechtel

8 Days and Counting*

9 October 2013

The deadline for VSAWC conference proposals is coming up quickly. Your 250-­word abstracts (with title) and separate 75-word biographical blurb is due October 18. To submit your abstract, e-mail

This year’s theme is Victorian Communities, and the conference organizers welcome papers that explore Victorian concepts, representations, and experiences of community. From Chartist organizations to the Salvation Army, from women’s colleges to Mechanics ’Institutes, from Evangelical congregations to pagan gatherings, and including rituals ranging from family reading and hymn singing to maypole dancing, rugby matches, and croquet games, Victorians sought out “combinations” that were political, religious, domestic, social, artistic, academic, and/or erotic.

VSAWC is without a doubt one of my favourite conferences, and this year it’s in beautiful Banff, AB. I hope to see you there!

* note: I am bad at both maths and days, so the number in the title may be a bit off.

ACCUTE/VSAWC Joint Session

28 September 2013

Victorian Boundaries: Crossings and Passings

Organizer: Daniel Martin (WLU)

The Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada invites papers that address the Congress theme of borders and boundaries. For this panel, we seek papers that consider how the Victorians defined, negotiated, and traversed the boundaries of their cultures and spaces. Topics may include the following: gender boundaries; geographical and political boundaries; class boundaries; racial and ethnic boundaries; the boundaries and limits of genre; categories of ability and disability; religious categories, definitions, and transgressions; scientific definitions and beliefs; technologies of/and borders; and linguistic barriers.

Proposals should follow the ACCUTE guidelines and include a 300-500-word proposal, a 100-word abstract, a 50-word biographical note, and the Proposal Submissions Information Sheet.

Please send your proposal materials to Daniel Martin <> by 1 November 2013.


Summer is Ending. It must be time for VISAWUS!

23 August 2013

As preparations for the new semester begin, I have a few links for you to enjoy when you need a break.

1) Head over to the Edmonton Journal (click here) to read about the life and times of Rowland McMaster, key supporter of VSAWC and the Victorian Review‘s development. (h/t @VictorianReview).

2) For those VSAWC members joining VISAWUS in Porland this fall, click here for a nod to the 1890s in Portland from Portlandia (h/t @KyleeAnneH, a fellow VSAWC member and VISAWUS participant)

Finally, Stay tuned for the VSAWC 2014 CFP!

Post from the Road

30 May 2013

Since I am currently waiting for my flight home in YVR, this post is for all of you traveling to beautiful Victoria, BC for Congress and DHSI. (Please excuse any spelling/typing errors as I am writing this on my iPad).

First order of business: the deadline for submitting a an abstract to Dr. Daniel Martin for special issue of Victorian Review on Victorians and Risk is coming up quickly. Abstracts are due September 1, 2013. Click here for details.

Second: Congress starts this weekend at UVic and with it ACCUTE’s annual conference. I have listed some panels that may be of interest to Victorianists below (apologies if I missed anyone).

ACCUTE Panels of Interest:

For a complete list of ACCUTE panels, click here

2B Joint Session with NAVSA and VSAWC: At the Edge of the Real – Clearihue A-303 on June 1 from starting at 11:00. A panel on colonialism and nineteenth-century literature (2D) is running concurrently in Cle A-311.

2A Joint Session with NAVSA and VSAWC: At the Edge of Perception Clearihue A-207 on June 3 from 11:00 to 12:15.

3B – Joint Session with Victorian Studies Association of Ontario (VSAO): We Are Not Amused – Clearihue A-211 on June 3 from 1:30 to 3:15.

The plenaries on June 1 and 2 may also be of interest to Victorianists:

June 1: Felicity Nussbaum – “Lifewriting @ the Edge: Going Public in the Eighteenth Century” (Bob Wright A-104; 1:30 to 3:15)

June 2: Kyla Wazana Tompkins – “Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century” (Bob Wright A-104; 1:30-3:15)

Links of Interest (Long Weekend Edition)

17 May 2013
Queen Victoria

Image from Wikipedia

Link the First:

Queen Victoria’s Journals on-line resource. If you are in the UK, you can participate virtually. Click here for further information (event information courtesy of NAVSA).

If you are on Twitter, I recommend following Queen Victoria Tweets, which tweets Queen Victoria’s authentic diary entries on the day they were written from her Coronation onwards. My favourite tweet so far: “@QueenVicTweets: Walked. Felt very sulky and cross.”

Link the Second:

One last link before the long weekend. Check out this new blog post from the Journal of Victorian Culture Online about reading Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities in weekly instalments. Time for a weekend read-a-long?


As always, If you have a CFP or event you would like share on this website, please contact Caley Ehnes via e-mail ( or Twitter (@CaleyEhnes)


2013 Founders’ Circle Award Winner: Alison Hurlburt

9 May 2013

Victorian Humanity and Its Others VSAWC 2013

Congratulations to Alison Hurlburt (University of Alberta), winner of the 2013 Founders’ Circle Award for the best paper presented at the VSAWC conference by a graduate student or emerging scholar. Alison has won the award for her conference paper titled, “Arnold Bennett: Clay as Other to Inhabitants of the Five Towns.” Award adjudicators (Kristen Guest, Grace Kehler, Kristin Mahoney, and Vanessa Warne) admired the paper and its delivery: one of them described it as “fascinating, engaging, nicely paced.” As another remarked, Alison “did a wonderful job presenting the paper and fielding questions afterwards.”

Congratulations to Alison and to all Founders’ Circle Award entrants, whose work was very strong. We look forward to welcoming you back to next year’s conference in Banff in May!

For further information on the Founders’ Circle Award, click here.



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