Organization: The Dickens Society
CFP: "Dickens and Empathy"
When characters demonstrate empathy towards others in the literature of Charles Dickens, what are the implications or results of this emotional and active movement in human, social, and personal terms? Can the practice of empathy ever be harmful, in Dickens’s interpretation, or is it always benign or productive? Does lack of empathy, or apathy in certain characters gesture beyond the individual towards larger systemic issues in British society that require expressions of care to achieve resolution?
This Dickens Society-sponsored panel invites proposals on the theme of Dickens and Empathy, broadly interpreted. Topics on empathy, its lack, or apathy, may include, but are not limited to the following; examining these themes as demonstrated in novels and minor works of Charles Dickens, nineteenth-century reform, Victorian social and industrial movements, and philanthropy in relation to Dickens, expressions of empathy in journalism and articles in Household Words, All the Year Round, and other publications by Dickens, empathetic gestures in person or correspondence between Dickens and friends or associates, relations between religion and empathy as understood by Dickens, the author’s thoughts on British class dynamics in operation, benevolence and exploitation by civic authorities, and the plight of the British poor, his concern for or neglect of the other in various cultures, and his portrayal of the practical impact of active individual empathy/apathy in society.
Keynote speakers at the 2022 NeMLA will include Valeria Luiselli and Judith Butler. For consideration, submit 200–300-word abstracts to Lydia Craig through the NeMLA portal by September 15, 2021. Authors will be notified of decisions by October 10, 2021.