The Centre for Victorian Studies promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching in all aspects of nineteenth-century literature, culture and media. Based within the College of Humanities, the Centre’s growing national and international reputation is the result of its intellectual expertise, strong archival holdings, thriving postgraduate community and the internationally recognised academic events it supports.
Research fostered by the Centre is wide-ranging, in terms of both its historical and conceptual scope. Current projects include Women and Industrial Design, Hardy and science, individualism and cosmopolitan cultures at the fin-de-siècle, the Great Exhibition, Victorian Globalization and optical entertainments. All of these draw on Exeter’s rich archives: the Chris Brooks Collection of Victorian Literature and Culture and the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture.
Postgraduate research reflects this breadth. The well-established and popular MA in English with Victorian Studies ranges through the period with an insightful interdisciplinary approach that considers poetry, criticism and fiction alongside and in context of the work of Charles Darwin, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, T.H. Huxley, and others. There is also a large and vibrant community of PhD students researching the Victorian period. Current research areas include Victorian collecting, Victorian psychology, New Woman fiction, Women, work and art, evolution and language, emigration and the influence of John Stuart Mill on Victorian fiction.
The Centre’s commitment to generate scholarship and promote new areas of study is reflected by the range of Victorian conferences, symposia and workshops it hosts or with which it is involved. These events have allowed the Centre to forge productive links with scholars and schemes around the world, which have brought and continue to bring opportunities of study trips, collaborative ventures and research funding bids.
Notable recent conferences organised by the Centre:
Decadent Poetics (1-2 July 2011)
Strange New Today: Victorians, Crisis and Response (17 September 2011)
Recent academic achievements include:
- Guest Editor and Introduction, Regenia Gagnier. "Introduction: Victorian Studies, World Literatures, Global Circulation."The State, or Statelessness, of Victorian Studies. Special Issue Critical Quarterley. Contributors: Lyn Pykett, Mark Llewellyn, Ann Heilmann, Dino Felluga, Jay Clayton, Rae Greiner, David Kurnick. Forthcoming March 2013.
- "Introduction" and Eds, Laura Doyle and Regenia Gagnier. The Global Circulation Project's Forum on Global Modernisms. Literature Compass 9 (2012): 589-630. Contributors: Supriya Chaudhuri, Elleke Boehmer, Steven Yao, Paul Young, Wang Ning, Katie Trumpener.
- Ed. Kate Hext. "Special Issue: Philosophy and Literature in Nineteenth-Century Britain." Literature Compass 9.11 (November 2012).
- Ed. Jason Hall. Meter Matters: Verse Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century (Ohio University Press, 2011)
- Eds. Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi and Patricia Zakreski. "What is a Woman to Do?": A Reader on Women, Work, and Art, c. 1830-1890 (Peter Lang, 2011)
- Eds. John Plunkett, Rick Rylance, Regenia Gagnier, Angelique Richardson, Paul Young. Palgrave Sourcebook for Victorian Literature (Palgrave, 2011)
- Regenia Gagnier: Individualism, Decadence and Globalization: on the Relationship of Part to Whole 1859-1920 (Palgrave Macmillan 2010); The Politics of Gender in Trollope, eds. Margaret Markwick, Deborah Denenholz Morse, Regenia Gagnier (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009)
- Paul Young: Globalization And The Great Exhibition: The Victorian New World Order (2008 Palgrave). Reviewed in THE 29/10/09
- Joanne Parker: England's Darling: The Victorian Cult of Alfred the Great (2007 Manchester UP)
- Dr Corinna Wagner and Dr Joanne Parker have been awarded an AHRC grant of £146,172 to study Identity, Community, and Victorian Medievalism. The project will culminate in an exhibition on Victorian Medievalism at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum in 2014-15.
- Regenia Gagnier: Global Circulation Project: BARDA, £120,000, British Academy Research Development Award: £89,963; Co-Investigator with PI Professor David Butler (Engineering) in BRIDGING THE GAPS: The Exeter Science Exchange: Trading ideas to promote multi-disciplinary collaboration £612,095 (EPSRC).
- Dr John Plunkett and Dr Joe Kember were awarded funding of circa. £200,000 from the AHRC for a three-year project on the exhibition of moving and projected image-entertainment in the South-West from 1820-1914 (2007).Through a regional study, the project aims to broaden our understanding of magic lantern shows, stereoscopes, panoramas, peepshows, dioramas, and other forms of large-scale visual entertainment.
- Laura Doyle: Leverhulme Visiting Professorship £33,350
- Angelique Richardson: British Academy Small Research Grant for workshop on the Roles of Essentialism £5775, Wellcome Trust Symposium Award, £4,800.
- £70,000 awarded by JISC to University of Exeter Special Collections for CHARTER, (Creating Heritage Artefacts for Research and Teaching in an E-Repository)
- Jason Hall: Leverhulme Research Fellowship £34,464, to complete monograph The Machines of Metre.
The Centre is also represented upon a range of public bodies in English Studies and higher education in general, both nationally and internationally. Members currently serve as or on:
- President of the British Association of Victorian Studies, 2009
- The Advisory Board of the English Subject Centre
- The AHRC Research Panel
- Late 19-Early 20C Division of the MLA (North America)
- Member of Specialist Panel for the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society
The Centre is well represented on the editorial boards of many scholarly journals. These include: