VSAWCThe Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada conference, Victorian Humanity and its Others, has come to a close. It was held at Coast Hotel in Vancouver, a location that has, ladies and gents, left me feeling a little nostalgic. I attended my first VSAWC meeting at the Coast in 2009 — my first visit to Vancouver. Fellow Floating Academician Daniel Martin gave me a tour of Stanley Park over a lunch hour and was kind enough to introduce me to the Victorian Studies who’s who of Western Canada.

Since then Daniel has moved east and I’ve moved west. It was great to have mini FA reunion at the conference: Daniel, Jennifer Esmail, and I all gave papers this year. Daniel shared his most recent work on speech disfluency. Victorian culture, he argued, created a double bind for stutters: either accept the annihilation of self demanded by quack physicians’ regimes or accept the melancholic disposition of the stutterer who refused to accept such spurious interventions. Jennifer shared her work on assistive companion animals, situating blind men’s dogs in the context of the different kinds of assistive, economic and affective work they performed and using Ivan Krielkamp’s notion of “anthroprosthesis” to show how Victorian descriptions of blind men’s dogs often elevated the non-human animal over the human. I had the pleasure of sharing my students’ collaborative encoding of Dracula and (with great pride) their editorial interventions in the text at the level of code. Textual editing and data modelling, I’d argue, are the on each side of the same proverbial coin and thus the humanities is perfectly situated to train thoughtful future curators of our cultural heritage.

The Western Canadian focus notwithstanding, VSAWC has become quite international. With luck we’ll be able to reunite with even our farthest flung Floating Academy member at the next VSAWC meeting in Banff.

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10 thoughts on “VSAWC

  1. These all sound like fascinating papers, Connie! I do wish I could have gone this year as it was such a great theme. Any idea when the Banff conference will be and on what topic?

  2. Thanks so much for posting Connie! I too wish I could have been there with you all… But it’s great to have a post that allows those of us who couldn’t be there to share!

  3. Hi! I am wracking my brains to remember whether next year’s conference topic was announced at the annual general meeting. I can’t recall — Jen, Daniel, do you remember?

    I hope that the theme is good fit for the whole FA team (and for our readers — it would be great to meet in person).

  4. Thanks for writing about this terrific conference, Connie! I saw so many thought-provoking and wonderful papers over the course of the weekend — including your own, which has motivated me to consider designing new kinds of assignments in my courses. There was no conference topic announced at the AGM but there was an invitation to pass along conference topic ideas to the VSAWC executive. Any ideas?

  5. This is an entirely lovely description of your VSAWC experience, Connie – I love the entanglement of Connie past and present here. I’d be very interested in hearing more about your students’ collaborative encoding experience. ACCUTE meetup, maybe?!

  6. VSAWC was fantastic this year! There’s no theme for next year’s conference yet. Any suggestions???? Perhaps we could put together a few ideas here and then I’ll pass them on to next year’s conference organizers.

    1. I know that NVSA next year is on “Victorian Senses”–perfect for Jen Esmail and maybe others among us as well. The key to a good conference theme seems to be to make it broad enough that a lot of people can fit their work in, but narrow enough that you actually get cross-pollination among papers. Not sure that I have any ideas along those lines, though!

      1. Thanks for sharing the NVSA theme, Karen — “Victorian Senses” will be really interesting! Do you know where and when?

  7. I will think on conference topics for next year.

    I hope to lure the VSAWC crowd out to the Okanagan one of these days. Let me reserve “Victorian Spirits” as a theme for our winery-filled valley.

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