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Race, Nation and Empire on the Victorian Popular Stage

July 11, 2012
No specified host institution

The Storey, Lancaster

United Kingdom

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This conference will be the third in a series of three organised as part of our AHRC-funded project on the ‘Cultural History of English Pantomime, 1837-1902’. 

A number of studies, most recent of which is Marty Gould’s Nineteenth-Century Theatre and the Imperial Ideal, have demonstrated ways in which Victorian theatres served as significant sites for the ‘imperial encounter’. Across a variety of theatrical forms, particularly the non-canonical stage, the stage provided a series of visual narratives in which audiences were presented the landscapes, architecture, peoples, and religions of colonised territories.  Moreover, theatre often served as a site for propaganda, educating and enthusing audiences about Britain’s vast empire.

On the one hand, we seek papers exploring theatrical representations of the landscapes, religions and peoples Britons encountered as part of their imperial project.  We are interested especially in discussing the ways in which popular entertainments brought the empire ‘home’ and how this affected patterns of popular culture, including the gendering of public imperial discourse, the formation of racial attitudes and the construction of national identities. Given recent scholarship on provincial theatre, we especially welcome proposals which investigate connections between the ‘local’ and the imperial and the role of performance cultures in promoting civic and municipal identities.

On the other hand, we seek proposals which engage the two-way traffic of imperialism: that is, how were Britons and their colonial project represented in overseas sites, both by Britons abroad and those people and landscapes who became the subject of the colonial gaze.

Please see the attached Call for Papers for further info.

Keynote speaker: John MacKenzie

Other confirmed speakers include: Marty Gould (University of South Florida); Marah Gubar (Pittsburgh); Kate Newey (Birmingham); Jeffrey Richards (Lancaster); Jim Davies (Warwick); Veronica Kelly (Queensland); Joanne Robinson (Nottingham); Anne Witchard (Westminster); Cathy Haill (Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum; Ross Forman (Warwick).


Peter Yeandle


Peter Yeandle

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