VSAWC has ended
Victorian Sociability
An International Conference

This conference will pair traditional presentations with a collaborative digital humanities project, sponsored by the Orlando Project and VSAWC, which we warmly invite all delegates to participate in. Mapping Victorian Literary Sociability aims to uncover the spatial networks that allowed writers, artists, editors, and publishers to collaborate and sustain successful careers. No technical knowledge is necessary to participate in this project.

In advance of the conference, we will be asking delegates to collect data on the addresses of one or two Victorian writers, artists, editors, or publishers. In workshops during the conference, we will work together to map this data, which will show us how propinquity and literary sociability shaped the careers of those who worked together, especially women who did not have access to the more public networks of the club and the literary dinner party. Support and guidance for delegates will be provided by the Orlando Project and staff from Libraries and Cultural Resources. At the end of the conference, we will launch the beta version of this project: Mapping Victorian Literary Sociability.
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Friday, May 3 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Alison Booth Keynote: Mid-Range Sociability, Or, A Scale-Model World in "Collective Biographies of Women"

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Moderated by Karen Bourrier (University of Calgary)

Presenting recent insights from "Collective Biographies of Women" (CBW), this lecture explores Victorian social networks and gender ideology through prosopographies of women published in Britain, its empire, and former colonies. Many of the volumes claim that women are the moral leaders or mothers of the world, and that one sample of a dozen or so biographies represents extensive collective history. While CBW, with Orlando, seeks linked open data on women writers (a subset of CBW persons), it studies a concentrated corpus of printed texts (excluding reference works) for mid-range reading of narratives about explorers and scientists, mistresses and rulers, and so on. The "world" of nineteenth-century female prosopography generates circumscribed data structured by tables of contents, cross-references, and language, time, and place (of the life or text). But CBW records, surprisingly diverse, are linked with SNAC, HathiTrust, and Wikipedia, opening horizons for digital research.

Presentation available here.

avatar for Professor Alison Booth

Professor Alison Booth

Academic Director of the Scholars’ Lab, University of Virginia
Alison Booth, Academic Director of the Scholars' Lab and Professor of English is a leading expert in narrative theory, women's writing and the digital humanities. Interrelated themes of her research are reception and representation of authors and collected life narratives, or prosopography... Read More →