English | English Fiction 1800-1900
L645 | 26268 | Kreilkamp


L645/V611 26268/26883  KREILKAMP (#4)
English Fiction 1800-1900/Victorian Britain: Culture & Society, 1820-
1900

1:00p– 2:15p TR

TOPIC:  INTRODUCTION TO VICTORIAN STUDIES
This course will offer a practical survey and overview of the field
of Victorian Studies with the aim of helping students situate their
own work and ideas in relation to ongoing (both long-standing and
more recent) critical debates and conversations.  This is an
exciting and unsettled time in the field as some of the dominant
methodologies of the past couple decades or so, notably a Foucault-
inspired (new) historicism, seem to be giving way to new
approaches.  We’ll begin the semester by asking such questions as:
given all its ideological baggage, is “Victorian” still a helpful
rubric?  Why define an area of scholarly inquiry according to the
reign of an imperial Queen?  Are 1837 and 1901 really sensible
points of demarcation? And what about “studies”: is this a salutary
(and once, ahead of its time) interdisciplinarity, or a permanent
state of fuzzy all-inclusiveness?  How can we distinguish between
one or the other?—what kind of Victorian Studies do or should we
want?

Our readings will include a range of classic and recent scholarship
on Victorian British literature, history, and culture, much of it
organized in “threads” of developing debates, conversations and
critical narratives among scholars of literature, history, and other
disciplines.  So, for example, a thread on Sexualities that begins
with Steven Marcus’s The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and
Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England (1966) will wind
through readings by Judith Walkowitz and Eve Sedgwick to conclude
with excerpts from two recent books, Seth Koven’s Slumming: Social
and Sexual Politics in Victorian London and Sharon Marcus’ Between
Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England.  Other
possible threads include Culture and Ethnography; Reading;
Commodities and Things; Empire; and Darwin studies. These critical
narratives or clusters, featuring such scholars and critics as
Raymond Williams, Christopher Herbert, Deborah Cohen, Mary Poovey,
and Catherine Hall, will be organized in different ways, some
showing a historical development from the 1950s or 60s to the
present day, some more based in recent work, but all will aim to
prod us to consider a range of questions about the development and
stakes of scholarship, including the most important question for us
and especially you: what remains to be done?  How might one most
effectively or compellingly enter this (or that) area of research or
scholarly discussion now?   We will consider professional and
institutional dynamics, with a special focus on conference papers
and scholarly journal publishing, with Victorian Studies on the
third floor on Ballantine offering one convenient case study for
us.  The course will also incorporate presentations by some visitors
to IU this spring, including John Plotz (Brandeis), Hina Nazar
(Illinois), and speakers to be determined from the English/History
19th-century studies search.

Assignments will include an annotated bibliography leading, first,
to a conference paper proposal and then a final 20-minute (10 page)
conference paper to be delivered in a V611 conference that will be
held in the final class sessions, as well as some smaller writing
and oral presentation assignments.   You will be encouraged to bring
your own interests and archives to the written work you do, which
need not relate directly to readings on the syllabus.

For any questions, email me at ikreilka@indiana.edu.