Call for papers

Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire

5 June 2014, University of Warwick

Keynote speakers: Tanya Agathocleous (Hunter College, USA)

Priti Joshi (University of Puget Sound, USA)

The nineteenth century saw a proliferation of print culture not just in Britain but also across the Empire and beyond. This conference recognizes a significant shift in nineteenth-century studies towards print culture as an important form of Anglophone responses to various aspects of imperialism and globalization, including the renegotiation of gender relations in imperial and extra-imperial locations. While it has been argued that the colonies and the wider Anglophone world formed a large market (with India being the largest single market) for British publishers, the relationship between imported British periodicals and emerging global print media is still underexamined. The reprinting of materials from metropolitan British newspapers and periodicals offers key insights into how ‘news’ travelled and re-circulated at local and regional levels. Moreover, the British press during this period obsessively returned to colonial subjects, often featuring scenes of colonial life and sketches of particular ‘types’ of imperial subjects.

In this conference, we are keen to open up a space for counter-narratives to such representations, by showing Britain and evolving gender conceptions, such as separate spheres for men and women, through a different perspective. Imperial periodicals emerged as a new medium for expressing the social and political role of colonial peoples and their investment in bourgeois subjectivities in a widening public sphere. They also provided a platform where new Anglophone elites and expatriate Britons could write about their lives and experiences in a multiplicity of ways – in articles, fiction, poetry, and letters. We are especially interested in the role of periodicals in shaping and disseminating literature (fiction, poetry, drama, and travel narratives) so as to broaden our field’s understanding of the global in the long nineteenth century and of the place of women and sexuality within a “Greater Britain” structure.

We invite papers on:

  • Gender and the colonial press
  • The woman’s magazine in the non-metropolitan environment
  • Colonial and extra-colonial responses to the British press
  •  The British and American press in the wider world
  • Feminist and nationalist movements
  • Colonial politics and law
  • English literacy and sub-literacy in the Anglophone press
  • The circulation and dissemination of the British and English-language press inside/outside of Britain andthe ‘settler’ colonies
  • Print technology and graphic design
  • The depiction of same-sex and ‘non-normative’ sexualities in the colonial and extra-colonial press

Please send an abstract of up to 500 words and a brief biographical note (100-150 words) to: Dr Tara Puri ( OR Dr Ross G. Forman (

Deadline for Abstracts: 21 February 2014. Decisions will be announced in early March 2014. 


(Image: Still from Satyajit Ray’s film Charulata.)

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