2018 Conference — "Victorian Health & Wellness"  |  Saint Louis University, April 20-22

Interior of Samuel Cupples House — Saint Louis University
What did it mean to be healthy in nineteenth-century Britain and its empire? What practices and policies shaped soundness of body, mind, and spirit? Just how well (or unwell) were the Victorians? The Program Committee for the 2018 MVSA conference invites proposals for papers and panels on the subject of Victorian health and wellness. Submissions are welcome from scholars working in art history, musicology, history, science, philosophy, theater, literature, and other fields of scholarly endeavor. We encourage proposals that will contribute to cross-disciplinary discussion, which is a special feature of MVSA conferences. Topics might include:
  • The relationship between health and space, e.g. through “wellness tourism” in gardens and parks; representations of public spaces as (un-) sanitary; or mapping health onto British cities or spaces in the empire
  • The role of age, gender, sex, and sexuality in representing or theorizing health; or how other forms of identity like family, class, race, and nation were pathologized
  • The science of wellness, particularly in connection with professionalized medicine, nursing, psychology, pharmacy, and epidemiology
  • State policy and regulation concerning health and morality
  • The “others” of Victorian health and wellness, including the study of disability, madness, or heresy
  • Cultivating ideal bodies through exercise and athletics
  • Ideas about intellectual and artistic wellness, including the curative powers of the arts versus the ways art, criticism, or schools of thought could function as contagion
  • Health consumerism, including hygiene propaganda; the marketing of health products and services; or the practice of non-western forms of healing
The Jane Stedman Plenary Speaker will be Dr. Carolyn Day of the Department of History at Furman University. Professor Day is an expert on perceptions and experiences of disease in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, and is the author of Consumptive Chic: A History of Beauty, Fashion, and Disease.

The 2018 conference will feature seminars led by Dr. Carolyn Day, Dr. Christopher Ferguson, and Dr. Anne Stiles; download the seminar CFP for more information about each session and instructions for submitting proposals.

MVSA is an interdisciplinary organization welcoming scholars from all disciplines who share an interest in nineteenth-century British history, literature, and culture. For individual papers or panels, send a 300-word abstract and 1-page vita (as MWord documents) by September 30, 2017, to

For information on past MVSA conferences, visit the Archives section of the website.