2006 Conference at Purdue University
The fourth annual NAVSA conference occurred this year at Purdue University and was distinctive because it ran jointly with the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, which made this year's conference the largest gathering of nineteenth-century folks since, well, the nineteenth century. With over 400 talks, 14 seminars, 14 workshops, two pre-conference workshops, and two plenary talks, the amount of selection available was sometimes daunting. The conference was thoroughly interdisciplinary with talks on art history, history, philosophy, theater, French, German, and the British Commonwealth. The conference also represented a truly joint Midwestern effort, with support coming from Butler U, Indiana U, Loyola U (Chicago), Michigan SU, Northwestern U, the U of Chicago, the U of Illinois at Chicago, the U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the U of Iowa, the U of Michigan, the U of Notre Dame, and, of course, Purdue U.
The conference kicked off Thursday morning, Aug. 31st with two pre-conference workshops, one on nineteenth-century theater and one on digital scholarship. The former workshop was led by Emily Allen and Daniel O'Quinn, with talks and responses by Julie Carlson, Lyndon Dominique, Jeff Cox, Ted Ziter, Jane Moody, Tracy Davis, Lynn Voskuil, and Mark Phelan. The latter workshop was led by Steven Jones and Neil Fraistat, with presentations by Doug Guerra, Laura Mandell, Carl Stahmer, Perry Willett, and Neil Fraistat.
Regular panels began at 2pm on Thursday, and the afternoon included a special lecture by Rosemary Lloyd, Rudy Professor of French at Indiana U. After some libations accompanied by jazz and our Provost's welcome, we proceeded to a tented Indian dinner followed by Catherine Gallagher's opening plenary address. Thanks to Steven Jones and Neil Fraistat at Romantic Circles, the address can still be heard here:
Sessions continued throughout Friday with a change of pace in the early afternoon when we broke up for 14 workshops, a new offering at NAVSA. These workshops were on specific topics, issues, or texts and were run by Alison Booth, Anna Clark, Julie Codell, Kevin Gilmartin, Elaine Hadley, Andrea Henderson, Jon Klancher, John Kucich, Christopher Lane, Celeste Langan, Deidre Lynch, Ghislaine McDayter, Andrew Miller, and Daniel O'Quinn. The day was capped with a buffet dinner and the silent films, Frankenstein (1910) and Nosferatu (1922), accompanied by Ken Double on the organ. The event was a perfect town-and-gown extravaganza: over 900 people, most from town, attended the screenings, which were held in a refurbished silent-movie palace.
Along with regular sessions, Saturday offered attendees a number of seminars run by top scholars in the field, whose papers were circulated in advance. Seminars were run by Timothy Barringer, Alan Bewell, Ross Chambers, Tracy Davis, Mary Favret, Regenia Gagnier, Sonia Hofkosh, Timothy Morton, Judith Pascoe, Thomas Pfau, Adela Pinch, Leah Price, Marjorie Stone, and Martin Wiener. We finished the day with Thomas Laqueur's plenary address, followed by one of the best-attended banquets in recent memory. The address can still be found at Romantic Circles here:
Once the banquet came to a close, the back wall of the ballroom rose to reveal a ten-piece swing band, with Michael Macovski and his wife tripping the light fantastic. After a short dance lesson, the Victorianists in the crowd showed the Romanticists that we're by
far the better swingers--and who can claim to be surprised?
After another series of panels on Sunday, we finished with an intimate dinner Sunday night at a local French eatery.
Let me finish by thanking the chair of the NAVSA side of things, Emily Allen (Purdue), who was also my second in command on all fronts. The other members of the NAVSA committee were Tom Broden (Purdue), Andrew Miller (Indiana U), Chris Vanden Bossche (U Notre Dame), and Whitney Walton (Purdue). Finally, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Purdue graduate student who helped me run various aspects of the conference, thanks to funding from Purdue's Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts: Julie Barst.
Dino Franco Felluga