December 14, 2009

2010 British Women Writers Conference

I'm very pleased to have had my paper proposal accepted for next year's 18th-19th Century British Women Writers Conference, taking place at Texas A&M University from the 8th to 11th April 2010. This will be my first time speaking at a conference abroad, and I'm especially pleased to be able to go as the conference theme is "Journeys" so in addition to this being a good opportunity to present my own research, it will be very interesting to find out more about the kind of work that is being carried out in this field in the US academic community. My paper is provisionally titled "'Wandering out into the World': Women Walking in the mid-Victorian Novel" and will explore accounts of women walking alone in selected novels by Charlotte Bronte and George Eliot. Taking the framework of the gendered associations of travel spaces as a starting point, I argue that Bronte and Eliot contend with these assumptions by positioning women walking alone in the streets, and explore spatial gendering through the embodied experience of travellers by demonstrating how gendered codes act to alter the ways in which bodies and spaces interact. Furthermore, these narratives go beyond gendered codes to explore the process of travel as a material, embodied practice and thus offer illuminating perspectives on the subject-space relationship that have implications for the critical understanding of literary geographies. The paper will demonstrate how focusing on the movement of characters through space – particularly in the process of walking – enables the development of a more fluid, mobile theorisation of spatiality that is attentive to the transitory nature of the embodied subject-space relationship.


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