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Saturday 28th March 2015

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore how contemporary understandings of the Victorians are shaped by representations of clothing and costume. It will interrogate the cultural afterlives of the Victorian body, both clothed and unclothed. How does contemporary culture, whether literature, art, film, and television, employ costume to shape ideas of Victorian people? What traces of Victorian design have emerged in the clothing cultures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and what meanings are generated by these? Does neo-Victorian fiction rewrite the Victorian body and its clothing in radical ways? How does costume function in theatrical contexts in presenting the Victorians on stage/screen or in performance? Do fashion historians think about Victorians differently to scholars engaging in literary analysis? What ‘newly discovered’ Victorians have emerged in contemporary culture, and how are they dressed?

Papers of 20-minutes length are invited which address these and related questions. The topics the conference hopes to cover include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Costume in screen adaptations of nineteenth-century texts
  • Representations of clothing in neo-Victorian fiction
  • The Victorian body
  • Analyses of the ‘costume drama’ as a genre
  • Visual representations of the Victorians
  • Steampunk culture and costume
  • Dress in Victorian literature
  • Costume collections and the heritage industries
  • Victorians online
  • Retro designs
  • Theatre costume
  • Nostalgia clothing/ fancy dress
  • Bodice-rippers
  • Clothing life cycles and second-hand cultures

Please send 250-word abstracts to by 19th December 2014

Conference organisers: Professor Deborah Wynne, Dr Louisa Yates and Dr Sarah Heaton

Keynote Lecture by Rachel Carroll (Teesside University):

The Sailor’s Return: 

Literary Adaptation and the Black Atlantic 

About the speaker: Dr Rachel Carroll is Principal Lecturer in English at Teesside University where she teaches contemporary fiction, feminist and queer theory, film and television adaptations and African American writing.  Her publications include Rereading Heterosexuality: Feminism, Queer Theory and Contemporary Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2012) and (as editor) Adaptation in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infidelities (Continuum, 2009) and Writing and Popular Music (with Adam Hansen, Ashgate, 2014.   She is currently working on two research projects: Transgender, Feminism and Fiction and Black Britain and Literary Adaptation.

This conference is part of the University of Chester’s Textile Stories Project