Registration Open: ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Bodily Fluids in the Long Nineteenth Century’, Birmingham

Registration open: Anxious Forms 2018, ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Bodily Fluids in the Long Nineteenth Century’

Date: Friday 27th July 2018

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

‘The power of blood is so difficult to decipher because it is at once the foundational social metaphor and the most basic necessity for life.’

-(Priscilla Wald, foreword of The Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500-1900)

After the success of Anxious Forms: Bodies in Crisis (2014) and Anxious Forms: Masculinities in Crisis (2016), we are pleased to announce a third one-day conference which considers the construction of bodily fluids—both metaphorical and material, both abject and desirable—in the long nineteenth century. The period in question witnessed the first blood transfusion, the first English medical text on menstruation and menopause, anxieties around spermatorrhea and hysteria, the rise of vampire and werewolf fiction, and massive infrastructure reform around sewage and water to combat infectious diseases. This interdisciplinary event will explore the advancements, crises, contradictions, and understandings of bodily fluids in the long nineteenth century across a range of media, including fiction, poetry, drama, journalism, photography, visual arts, material culture, and medical and scientific texts. The event will also explore the challenges of critical discussions of topics traditionally considered taboo or hampered by the dynamics of disgust.

General Registration is open until 15th July and can be found here. All welcome!

Registration fees (before 15 July) are £20 for unwaged scholars and £30 for waged scholars. Registration fees on the day of the conference will be £35 for unwaged scholars and £50 for waged scholars.

Guest Speakers:

Professor Talia Schaffer, CUNY

Talia Schaffer is a professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her books include Romance’s Rival: Familiar Marriage in Victorian Fiction(2016); Novel Craft: Victorian Domestic Handicraft and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (2011); The Forgotten Female Aesthetes; Literary Culture in Late-Victorian England(2001; a special issue of Victorian Review, with Kelly Hager (2013); Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle(2006); an edition of Lucas Malet’s The History of Sir Richard Calmady (2003); Women and British Aestheticism, with Kathy A. Psomiades (1999). She has published widely on Victorian marriage, disability studies, women writers, and material culture, and is currently working on the feminist philosophy of “ethics of care” and Victorian social relations.

Dr Kate Lister, Leeds Trinity University

Dr Kate Lister is a historian, author, lecturer, and the curator of Whores of Yore, a public engagement project that works to make research on sexuality and the history of sex work freely accessible.

Kate is also a columnist for inews where she writes about the history of sex, covering such diverse subjects as medieval impotence tests and the forgotten custom of baking bread with your genitals. As well as her university work, Kate regularly gives talks on the history of sex at events such as the Secret Garden Party, Eroticon, Sexpression, the Edinburgh Fringe festival and the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

She has also published in the field of Victorian studies, film studies, and gender studies, and was awarded the 2017 Sexual Freedom Award, ‘Publicist of the Year’.


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