4th Annual V21 Collective Summer Reading Groups
V21 is delighted to announce our fourth (!) annual Summer Reading Group series. This year’s topics are Work, Blackness, and Sex. As is traditional for our summer syllabi, each cluster mixes primary Victorian, secondary critical, and theoretical/philosophical texts.
The Chicago area group will meet June 21, July 20, and August 21, 3pm-5pm at the DePaul Library Rosati Room.
Join us in person or host one in your region! Satellite groups are worldwide! Use the 21 date or any day that works! Interested parties for whom travel would be required for in-person groups are also encouraged to use Zoom.
We’ll gladly advertise satellite groups here and through twitter. If you want to host a group and aren’t sure with whom you might collaborate, we can help facilitate connections. Satellite groups are welcome to use our syllabus from this year, from 2017, 2016, 2015, or from your own desires.
Use #v21summer for discussion prompts and simul-reading.
Contact us for details on satellites in locations such as:
(write v21collective at gmail for PDFs of the readings)
WORK (June 21)
What are the challenges and opportunities of aesthetically representing work? Are all media equally equipped in facing these challenges? How do the radical transformations in work wrought by the industrial revolution, urbanization, and enclosure materialize in Victorian literature? Do equally radical transformations separate Victorian work from C21 work? Can work be theorized?
Ford Maddox Brown, Work (painting)
Karl Marx, “The Working Day”
Carolyn Lesjak Working Fictions intro and conclusion
Kathi Weeks The Problem with Work Intro and Epilogue
BLACKNESS (July 20)
What are the challenges and opportunities of aesthetically or sociologically representing blackness in the Victorian era? How do different genres respond to, or take shape from, these challenges? Why is work on race more common in romanticist and modernist literary criticism than in Victorian studies? Why have South Asian intellectuals pointedly taken up the African American question? How does the Victorian history of blackness illuminate or confound the political-economic determinants and theoretical promise of C21 blackness? How should Victorianists teach and write in the wake of Black Lives Matter? Why does the study of blackness necessitate transnational, transtemporal work?
Mary Seacole, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacoale in Many Lands excerpt
Daniel Hack, Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature intro
Lisa Lowe, The Intimacies of Four Continents intro
SEX (AUG 21)
What are the challenges and opportunities of aesthetically representing sex? Do these challenges change across media, genres, centuries? What distinguishes erotic aesthetics from pornography? How does Victorian expertise specifically contribute pedagogically, theoretically, and politically to #metoo? How do groundbreaking works of queer theory such as Sedgwick’s read upon their 25th anniversary? What is the place of queer theory in Victorian studies today?
Danny Wright, Bad Logic: Reasoning about Desire in the Victorian Novel Intro
Eve Sedgwick, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl”; “Queer& Now”