Here are my notes for my orals lists:

Temporality and the Victorian Novel

Right now, I’m working on finishing up coursework while thinking about coming up with orals lists and doing some research and brainstorming on a possible dissertation project. For this, I’m approaching Victorian lit (primary texts still to be decided) from three perspectives:

  1. China and world history–in particular, revisionist work started by Roy Bin Wong, Andre Gunder Frank, and Kenneth Pomeranz arguing that until 1800, China and Western Europe, in economic terms, were at similar levels of development, and the “great divergence” only happened in the nineteenth century.
  2. Thing theory–in particular, “Freedgoodian readings” of the forgotten social histories embedded in fictional things such as mahogany furniture and calico curtains.
  3. Temporality–in particular, an investigation of Victorian “chronopolitical” constructions of China which “denied coevalness” (the terms of Johannes Fabian) by maintaining that China had reached a high degree of civilization but remained stuck in temporal stasis.

So, I’m looking at relations between China and Britain in the mid-nineteenth century (when the Opium Wars were fought) through the medium of material culture.

One Response to “Mia’s Project”

  1. Kiran Mascarenhas Says:

    Hi Mia, am just reading Elizabeth Langland’s Nobody’s Angels and found a passage that might interest you, but which probably won’t be news to you: “Benjamin interprets the great urban exhibitions of the nineteenth century, such as the London Exhibition of 1851, as “folk festivals of Capitalism,” which worked to deny the very existence of class antagonisms: ‘The message of the world exhibitions as fairylands was the promise of social progress for the masses without revolution.'” (Langland 6)

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