Next meeting

CFP: The Victorians and the Environment

Friday 28 April 2017, Birmingham City University


Keynote: John Miller (University of Sheffield). Title tbc.

The next Midlands Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies Seminar, hosted by Birmingham City University, will focus on the environment in the nineteenth century. We seek papers that address this theme from various disciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives.

The nineteenth century saw a changing landscape, registering the effects of the continuing growth of industry and a burgeoning population. As social change created a sense of anxiety around the place of humans in the world, contemporary writing and art reflected the dis-ease many felt with a changing environment and sought new ways to engage with the natural world as well as the built environment. Nature as a place of solace became a truism, yet the natural world could also be dangerous.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Nineteenth-century engagement with nature, in literature, art or non-fiction
  • Victorian anxieties about the man-made or natural world
  • Humanity’s relation to the natural world
  • The environment as a guide to morality
  • Cities, pollution and industry
  • Humans and the non-human in the nineteenth century; animals
  • Victorian urban planning
  • Health and environment
  • Ecocritical approaches to Victorian writers
  • Botany, landscape, evolutionary science
  • Climate and the weather
  • Soundscapes and noise pollution

Please send ideas for papers of 20 minutes length to Anne-Marie Beller at by Monday 6 March 2017

This is an informal event and we do not require full conference-type proposals – and please do not exceed 250 words. You do not have to live or work in the Midlands, but preference may be given to those who do. The programme will be confirmed by the end of March.

As usual, travel bursaries will be available to postgraduate students on a first come first served basis – there will be 5 bursaries of £20, though if there is not much uptake we may be able to provide more help with travel costs to individuals. Please contact Serena Trowbridge ( if you are interested in applying for a travel bursary.

MIVSS is supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies.