“Looking into the Tea Leaves: Writing a Feminist History of Global Capitalism”
Thursday, October 11 | 6:30-7:45 PM | Ballroom
Sponsored by SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
The nineteenth century saw the integration of global markets for labor, goods, finance and ideas. However much recent scholarship focusing on such developments has failed to interrogate how Victorian perceptions of identity, power, and difference shaped labor relations, business practices, trade flows, advertising, and consumer desires and distastes. This talk examines the imperial history of the Victorian tea shop to place race, gender and the consumer at the center of understandings of the global economy that emerged in the Victorian era.
Erika Rappaport is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her PhD in history from Rutgers University in 1993 and worked as an assistant professor at Florida International University until 1997, before moving to UCSB. She is the author of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World (Princeton UP 2017); Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End (Princeton UP 2000), is co-editor of Consuming Behaviours: Identities, Politics and Pleasure in Twentieth Century Britain (Bloomsbury 2015) and has published numerous chapters and articles on gender, urban history, consumer culture and imperialism in journals such as Victorian Studies, History Workshop, Journal of British Studies, and Gender and History. She currently serves on several editorial boards of journals, is a past member of NAVSA’s executive board, and is currently an associate editor of the Journal of British Studies. While primarily a scholar of the nineteenth century, her most recent work has moved into the twentieth and she is embarking on a project that investigates the intertwined histories of public relations and decolonization, tentatively titled White Mischief: Public Relations at the End of Empire.
“The Rise of Creole Literature in the Victorian Caribbean”
Friday, October 12 | 4:30-6:30 PM | Ballroom
This talk explores the emergence of Creole (or “dialect”) literature in the Anglophone Caribbean during the Victorian era. Specifically, it seeks to revise the common assumption that Creole literature is the product of a twentieth-century, anti-colonial sensibility.
The use of Creole, the “bad grammar” considered the only truly authentic language of the Caribbean, has been a staple of Caribbean fiction since the early twentieth century. By extension, it has long been a truism that any truly authentic Caribbean literary practice will center Creole as its formative feature. The twentieth century is the usual starting point for the periodization of nationalist Creole discourse, while nineteenth-century examples of Creole fiction have been dismissed by critics as part of an inauthentic imperialist tradition.
This talk will challenge this view by reviewing the origins of Creole discourse in the mid-to-late nineteenth-century Anglophone Caribbean. Focusing on the societies of Jamaica and British Guiana, it will sift among the various influences—the rise of “brown” cultural identity; the transatlantic mania for “dialect” in the Victorian era; imported US and UK periodicals; local print and performative culture—to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of this early period of Creole literature.
Belinda Edmondson is a professor in the Departments of English and African American and African Studies at Rutgers University, Newark; and an affiliate member of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is the author of Creole Noise: Early Caribbean Dialect Literature and Performance (forthcoming, Oxford UP); Caribbean Middlebrow: Leisure Culture and the Middle Class (Cornell UP 2009); Making Men (Duke UP 1999); and is the editor of Caribbean Romances: The Politics of Regional Representation (U of Virginia P 1999). She has also published several chapters and articles on Caribbean literature, African diaspora cultural studies, and gender studies, in venues such as The Journal of Transnational American Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Small Axe, Cultural Critique and Callaloo. Professor Edmondson serves on the editorial boards of the journals Anthurium and Signs. She has been the recipient of the Schomburg Fellowship, the Society for the Humanities Fellowship, the Mellon Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Stipend, and a Ford Foundation Summer Fellowship, among others.
“Sea or Mountain? the Victorian Cult of Health-Seeking”
Saturday, October 12 | 5:00-6:30 PM | Ballroom
British colonial activities were not restricted to the far reaches of the empire, but could also be found nearer at hand, in the creation of ‘English colonies’ in European health resorts. In this talk I focus on the ‘invention’ of Mentone, on the Riviera, and Davos in Switzerland, as outposts of British culture. According to James Henry Bennet, the ‘creator’ of Mentone as a health resort, the British should take their cue from the swallows, and travel south in the winter. Sufferers from consumption, clergyman’s throat, or general overwork and the pressures of modern life, followed his siren call. Yet by the 1880s Mentone was supplanted as the health destination of choice by the rise of Davos, with John Addington Symonds, the resort’s most famous invalid, lionised as the ‘solar myth of Europe’. Basking in the sun in a natural winter garden was to be replaced, one commentator grumbled, by the refrigeration of invalids. The talk will explore the medical, climatological and cultural dimensions of these developments, looking in depth at literary responses from a range of authors including Symonds, Robert Louis Stevenson, Augustus Hare, and Constance Fenimore Woolson.
Sally Shuttleworth, distinguished scholar of Victorian Studies, is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford, with a particular emphasis on the inter-relations between literature and science. Her books include The Mind of the Child: Child Development in Literature, Science and Medicine, 1840-1900 (Oxford UP 2010); Charlotte Brontë and Victorian Psychology (Cambridge UP 1996); and George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Science (Cambridge UP 1984). Her editions and co-editions include Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey (Oxford UP 2010); Reading the Magazine of Nature: Science and the Nineteenth-Century Periodical (Cambridge UP 2004); Science Serialised: Representations of the Science in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals (MIT P 2004); Culture and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Media (Ashgate 2004); Memory and Memorials, 1789-1914: Literary and Cultural Perspectives (Routledge 2000); Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890 (Clarendon P1998); Body/Politics: Women and the Discourses of Science (Routledge 1990), and Nature Transfigured: Science and Literature 1700-1900 (Manchester UP 1989). She is currently working on the interface of literature, science, and culture with two large projects, for which she is Principal Investigator. She holds a European Advanced Investigator grant for a five-year project, “Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives.” She is also Principal Investigator for a large AHRC four-year grant in the field of Science and Culture, on “Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries.” She is collaborating with Dr. Gowan Dawson at the University of Leicester and Dr. Chris Lintott at the University of Oxford, as well as the Natural History Museum, the Royal Society, and the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.