Wheelchair Accessibility

About the conference

Join us for the 2019 Victorian Studies Conference "The Wars of Peace: The Mundane Violence of the Victorians." The title is taken from Kipling’s White Man’s Burden, and both the source and the word we have cut, ‘savage,’ hangs over the whole conference. The unspoken idea of savagery, which Kipling meant to define the targets of British colonial despoilment, can of course speak to British policies and military actions, but also to the daily experience of bodily pain felt by so many Victorians, victims of domestic violence, substandard living conditions, untreated illnesses. Yet the spectacular claims of the word ‘savage’ can make us expect to see violence as a spectacle. Instead, this conference wants to see violence as the everyday way of life in the 19th century: the wars that constituted 19th century peacetime, the daily wars at home and the endless wars abroad.    

LIVESTREAM: Click here to watch the livestream of the conference.


(All events take place in the Martin E. Segal Theater unless otherwise indicated) 

Moderator: Simon Reader (College of Staten Island, CUNY) 

9:00-10:30AM    Martial Measures 

Cornelia Pearsall (Smith College)

“Firing Lines” 

Meredith Martin (Princeton University)

“Primitive Music”


10:30-10:45AM    Break


10:45-12:15PM    Aftermaths 

Aeron Hunt (Boston College)

“The Domestic Front” 

Lara Kriegel (Indiana University)

“Crimean Widows and the Wounds of War”


LUNCH (on your own)

12:15 – 2:15 P.M.


2:15-3:45PM    War and Peace 

Holly Furneaux (Cardiff University)

“‘An Oasis of Peace Following and Preceding a Week’s Constant Fighting’: Truces and Feeling for/with the Enemy at Mafeking” 

Nasser Mufti (University of Illinois at Chicago)

“Race War in the Age of Equipoise”


3:45-4:00PM    Break


4:00-5:30PM    Decentered Sovereignty 

Anjuli Raza Kolb (Williams College)

“Mary Shelley and Viral Sovereignty” 

Zarena Aslami (Michigan State University)

“Marginal Sovereignty: Victorian Afghanistan and the Poetics of Occupation” 

Click here to visit the official Conference Website.

Meredith Martin (Princeton University)
Lara Kriegel (Indiana University)
Holly Furneaux (Cardiff University)
Nasser Mufti (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Cornelia Pearsall (Smith College)
Aeron Hunt (Boston College)
Zarena Aslami (Michigan State University)
Anjuli Raza Kolb (Williams College)  

Simon Reader (College of Staten Island, CUNY) 

Conference organized by Tanya Agathocleous, Caroline Reitz, Richard Kaye, and Talia Schaffer.

Cosponsored by the Victorian Committee of the PhD Program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, Dickens Studies Annual, the PhD Program in English, the Advanced Research Collaborative, and the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY.