Plenary Sessions

Plenary Lectures

Mary Fairclough

Mary Fairclough is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York. She is the author of two monographs: The Romantic Crowd: Sympathy, Controversy and Print Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and Literature Electricity and Politics 1740-1840: Electrick Communication Every Where (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and of essays and articles which investigate the intersection of literature, science and politics in the eighteenth century and Romantic period. She is currently at work on a new book project which investigates elocution and reading aloud in the Romantic period, in particular, works written by Dissenting women writers for reading aloud, and the devotional practices that such reading enables. Her talk for the conference will discuss new work on action at a distance and the practice of simultaneous meetings.

Orrin Wang

Orrin Wang is Professor of English at the University of Maryland. His many publications include Fantastic Modernity: Dialectical Readings in Romanticism and Theory (Johns Hopkins UP, 1996), Romantic Sobriety: Sensation, Revolution, Commodification, History (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011; winner of the Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize), and, most recently, a new essay collection, Frankenstein in Theory: A Critical Anatomy (Bloomsbury, 2021). He is a General Editor of Romantic Circles and the series editor for Romantic Circles Praxis. Earlier this year, he was honoured by the Keats-Shelley Association of America with their Distinguished Scholar Award, in recognition of his transformative scholarship in the field of Romanticism and his impact on its community of scholars. His current research project, on which his talk for the conference will draw, involves the possibility of non-dialectical forms of media in Romantic and post-Romantic writing, examining the concept of media without the idea of mediation. Writings from that project will be published early next year in the Lit Z series of Fordham UP as Techno-Magism: Media, Mediation, and the Cut of Romanticism.

Plenary Roundtables

Everything is Disconnected: Ecocriticism at a Distance

The reputed First Law of Ecology, that ‘everything is connected to everything else,’ belongs to the category of ‘ideas once but no longer liberating,’ or so Graham Harman has argued. This panel will take the opportunity of a physically distanced conference to consider disconnections in Romantic environmental criticism. How were Romantic-period cultures of the nonhuman shaped by borders, walls and enclosures, and by the singular, the unknowable, and the misunderstood? The panel will be convened by Jeremy Davies (Leeds), with Joseph Albernaz (Columbia), Amanda Jo Goldstein (UC Berkeley) and Francesca Mackenney (Bristol).

Heritage and Representation

How the past is represented by scholars and heritage institutions has become an urgent public issue in recent months. This roundtable, convened by Gillian Dow (University of Southampton/Vice President of BARS) and Jeff Cowton (Curator and Head of Learning at the Wordsworth Trust/BARS Executive Member for Outreach and Impact), will bring together academics, curators and heritage stakeholders to discuss the challenges of accurately and sensitively presenting historical events and conditions.