CfP: Radicalism & Reform, 41st Annual Conference, Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, Rochester, New York. March 18-22, 2020. Extended Deadline: October 14, 2019

Inspired by the history of radicalism and reform in Rochester, New York, the NCSA committee invites proposals exploring the radical possibilities of the nineteenth-century world. From the aftershocks of the French and American revolutions to mutinies and rebellion in colonies across the globe, the nineteenth century was a period of both unrest and possibility. Abolition, suffrage, and reform movements reshaped prisons, education, and housing, marking this century as a period of institutional making and unmaking: a reckoning with ills of the past that was also profoundly optimistic about a more just and prosperous future.

Radicalism is also a generative term for considering transitional moments or social tensions: “radical” is often used interchangeably with “extreme,” but its earliest definitions describe not what is new or unusual, but what is foundational or essential. “Radical” is used to describe literal and figurative roots: the roots of plants, roots of musical chords, and the roots of words. To be radical is to embody tensions between origins and possibilities: to be anchored in what is foundational while also holding the potential for paradigm-shifting change. We welcome papers that consider these tensions in nineteenth-century culture, as well as those that consider possibilities for reforming nineteenth-century studies or academic life. Topics on nineteenth-century literature, history, art, music, or other cultural forms might include political movements or divisions, activism, resistance, labor, collective and direct action, or mutinies and rebellion. We also encourage broader interpretations of the conference theme: outsiders and outcasts, visionaries, agents of change, utopias, breakthroughs, failed reforms, conformity, or stagnation.

Topics on the state of nineteenth-century studies might include politically engaged teaching and scholarship, academic labor practices, harassment or prejudice in the academy, or new approaches to humanities education.

Please send 250-word abstracts with one-page CVs to by October 14, 2019. Abstracts should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and paper title in the heading. The organizers welcome individual proposals, panel proposals with four presenters and a moderator, or larger roundtable sessions. Note that submission of a proposal constitutes a commitment to attend if accepted. Presenters will be notified in November 2019.



Conference Funding
The organizers encourage submissions from graduate students, and those whose proposals have been accepted may submit complete papers to apply for a Student Travel Grant to help cover transportation and lodging expenses. Scholars who reside outside of North America and whose proposals have been accepted may submit a full paper to be considered for the International Travel Grant. Scholars who are contingent faculty and whose proposals have been accepted may submit a full paper to be considered for the Faculty Development Travel Award. Click here to visit the NCSA website for additional requirements and due dates.

Keynote Speaker
Professor Manisha Sinha, the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History, Department of History, University of Connecticut.

Conference Excursions
Conference attendees may sign up for one of four excursions during registration; details will be made available at that time. Joining an excursion is a great way to spend some time with new and familiar NCSA colleagues. This year the conference organizers planned trips that will enrich our experience of radicalism and reform in Rochester:

The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

The National Museum of Play

The Memorial Art Gallery

The George Eastman Museum