This is the first of the biennial conferences planned for the newly founded Romantic Studies Association of Australasia (RSAA), to take place at the University of Sydney from Thursday to Saturday, 10-12 February 2011.
THE EAST COAST of New Holland was discovered and mapped by Captain James Cook, its flora and fauna recorded and categorised by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, in the autumn of 1770, the same year that saw the births on the other side of the world of Wordsworth and Beethoven, making the origin and establishment of the modern Australian nation coincident with the origin and establishment of what we conventionally, if controversially, refer to as the Romantic period. This coincidence, though only one of a number of reasons for forming a confederation of Australasian Romanticists, is nonetheless a compelling one, and we invite scholars of the period from all over the world, as well as from Australia and New Zealand, to join us in marking and celebrating the foundation of the RSAA with a major scholarly event.
The theme of the conference will be ‘Romanticism and the Tyrannies of Distance’, after the Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey’s now classic account of the way the geographical remoteness of Australia has shaped its history and identity. From here, it is but a small step to seeing the way in which all kinds of distance – and the will to overcome distance – conditioned and challenged the writers and thinkers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Indeed, in the spirit of new beginnings, scholars are encouraged to use the historical distance of the early twenty first century and the geographical and cultural distance of the Great South Land to reconceptualise the geographical and cultural field of Romantic studies.
We invite submissions covering the full range of possible meanings of “distance” in Romantic studies – including (but not limited to)
* Transportation, travel, exploration, emigration, settlement, and repatriation
* Transport, spiritual and material
* Distances real and imagined: writing the remote in time and place and culture
* The distance between social ranks or classes
* Gender and race and generation distances
* Linguistic distances, and cultural and textual translation
* Generic distances: the hierarchies of art
* Literature and science, literature and religion, science and religion
* Overcoming distance: Romantic correspondence
* The country and the city
* The Romantic period itself as a strange country
Those interested in proposing 20-minute papers, or full panels of three speakers and a chair, should submit abstracts of between 250 and 400 words and a 150-word bio by 1 September 2010. This can be done at http://www.conference.rsaa.net.au.
University of Sydney
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