“Art in strange places” – March 17-18, 2022

CLIMAS EA 4196 – Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Art, in the sense of canonical works, is frequently seen overflowing from its recognised loci (art gallery, concert hall, literary festival, poetry reading…) into everyday culture. This may be a deliberate strategy to make the canon more accessible to a wider public – e.g. the “Proms” – but is very often commercially motivated. Unlike “pop art” whose own aesthetic codes limited its appeal to a new élite, or the structured popularisation/vulgarisation of high culture which aims to sustain the canon and educate the public in its ways, “high” art frequently appears in “low” places. One of the most famous examples from the Victorian period is Sir John Everett Millais’ 1886 A Child’s World – more familiar as Bubbles – being used to advertise Pears’ soap. With the development of reproduction technologies and the consumerism (as explored, for example, in Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) – whether in Britain or the US –, later periods developed this relationship between high culture and advertising: classical art, but also classical music – from the use of Bach’s Air on a G-string to promote cigar-smoking to British Airways’ use of part of the Flower Duet from Delibes’ Lakmé, and many others. The exploitation of art by the communication industry as a tool is not restricted, however, to advertising. The first contact of an end-user with a private or public organisation is often via a loop of classical music while on “hold”.

From coffee mugs to chocolate box lids, T-shirts to tailgates, the pressing into service of high culture, sometimes with, but very often without recourse to any ironical strategy, means that references to the canon are a regular occurrence of everyday life, sometimes in the most unexpected places. But what exactly do these practices aim to achieve? How do the artistic community, authors or composers, collectors, critics and commentators react to this? What does the general public think? In what ways is the perception of art affected by its commoditization?

The organisers invite proposals for papers treating any aspect of the use of canonical art in an everyday context from the 19th century to the present time. Proposals may address, but need not be limited to:

  • the intentions and objectives of those who use or appropriate art in this way;
  • the opinions and reactions this generates;
  • public perceptions and reactions, especially any changes in attitudes to art which may be prompted;
  • links which can be demonstrated between the use of art in this way and policy regarding the subject and timing of exhibitions or other artistic events, or the level of public funding and politicians’ attitudes to art;
  • links between such uses of art and definitions of what constitutes “heritage”;
  • links between such uses of art and the representations or projections of Britain, or other parts of the English-speaking world.    

Proposals (c.300 words) and a short biographical note (c.150 words) should be sent to Béatrice Laurent ( and Trevor Harris ( by October 7, 2021.



VICTORIAN & EDWARDIAN INTERIORS (Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, 27-28 January 2022)

        An international conference organized by the C.A.S (EA 801) with the support of the SFEVE (Société Française d’Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes)

        Confirmed Keynote speakers:
                Claudia Kinmonth (independent cultural historian, former researcher in the Furniture Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum)
                Charlotte Ribeyrol (Université Paris Sorbonne, VALE)
                Penny Sparke (Director of the Modern Interiors Research Centre, Kingston University)

As we gradually come out of a long period of enforced global confinement which has challenged us, amongst other things, to take a ‘journey round [our] room[s]’ (Xavier de Maistre) and reconsider our assumptions about inside and outside, the 2022 SFEVE conference invites scholars to look afresh at the historical emergence, material manifestations and cultural significance of the interior in the long nineteenth century. Building on recent interdisciplinary research in material studies, architectural design theory, the Victorian architectural imaginary and the poetics, politics and phenomenology of dwelling, this conference seeks to explore the multiple facets of the interior from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the end of the Edwardian era.

Central to the concept of ‘interior’ is the imbrication of the word’s spatial, physical, emotional, mystical and political meanings. ‘Interior’ came into use in the English language in the sixteenth century to mean inside as divided from outside, but also more specifically to describe the deeper, more spiritual nature of the soul within the body. Derived from the Latin ‘intus’ (i.e. ‘within’), ‘interior’ is a comparative form, whose meaning is accentuated in the superlative ‘intimus’ (i.e. innermost, deepest, most secret, most private). From the early eighteenth century, ‘interiority’ was used to evoke inner character and individual subjectivity. But from the middle of the eighteenth century the ‘interior’ was also a geo-political term used to refer to the domestic affairs of a state and to the territory that belongs to a country. It was only at the beginning of the nineteenth century that, according to the _Oxford English Dictionary_, the ‘interior’ came to mean ‘the inside of a building or room especially in reference to the artistic effect; also a picture or representation of the inside of a building. Also, in a theatre, a “set” consisting of the inside of a building or room.’

Thus, as Charles Rice notes, the nineteenth-century interior is inherently double, both a physical three-dimensional space and at the same time an image—a painting, print, theatrical backdrop—which can ‘be imagined and dreamed, and inhabited as such’ (2). While nineteenth-century conceptualizations of the interior were clearly linked to important questions of public health, territorial expansion, historical knowledge and the exploration of the body, subjectivity and the unconscious, the Victorians thus foregrounded the idea of the interior’s deliberate and artful constructedness. In some of the commemorative colour prints of colonial interiors on display at the Crystal Palace in 1851, for example, the theatricality of the interior is regularly emphasized through the presence of visitors/spectators peering through drawn curtains.

In fact, the notion of ‘interior decoration’, appearing for the first time in Thomas Hope’s 1807 _Household Furniture and Interior Decoration_ —and popularized through countless Victorian and Edwardian periodicals and manuals—firmly articulated the idea of the interior through decor. This new preoccupation led to the founding in 1837 of the London School of Design, rebranded in 1853 as the Museum of Ornamental Art (today known as the Victoria & Albert Museum). The interior became understood as the creation of a scenography, complete with adornments and furnishings which served to soften, conceal or transform—however fleetingly—the architectural structure, in order to make it livable, hospitable and culturally legible. In Vlad Ionescu’s words, the interior can thus be seen as the ‘moment when a building receives its cultural significance [and] “speaks” to its users’ (2). Such a dynamic, dialogic, relational approach to the interior is particularly striking in the nineteenth-century print culture through which a great variety of interiors were depicted and shaped. The idea of the interior as relational is also poignantly captured in numerous works of literature. One memorable example (among many) can be found in Charles Dickens’ _Hard Times_ , in the following exchange between Louisa and her dying mother: “‘Are you in pain, dear mother?’ ‘I think there’s a pain somewhere in the room,’ said Mrs. Gradgrind, ‘but I couldn’t positively say that I have got it.’” (chap.9).

If, as Walter Benjamin famously put it in the 1930s, ‘[t]he nineteenth century, like no other century, was addicted to dwelling,’ this conference, however, will attempt to qualify and/or revise Benjamin’s conceptualization of the Victorian interior as ‘the étui of the private individual’ (9), as well as his rather sinister notion that the nineteenth century encased the person ‘so deeply in the dwelling’s interior that one might be reminded of the inside of a compass case, where the instrument with all its accessories lies embedded in deep, usually violet folds of velvet’ (220). Instead, we wish to broaden the scope of attention to Victorian and Edwardian interiors not limited to the bourgeois, domestic and urban. Participants are therefore encouraged to consider a diverse array of interiors. Proposals may for example consider:

        *interiors which enabled a renewed critical engagement with the exterior rather than an anti-historical retreat from the world
        *complex or problematic interiors (such as public interiors, utopian/political/militant interiors, transparent interiors, gendered interiors, queer interiors, working-class interiors, cosmopolitan interiors, colonial interiors, natural interiors, etc.)
        *the aesthetic experiences, cultural practices, or socio-economic transformations made possible through the decorating/designing of interior spaces/rooms
        *how interiors and interiorities were staged, mediated and/or marketed, and the role played by new visual technologies (stereoscope, photography, museum displays etc.)
        *how the interior was represented across political, scientific, medical and architectural discourses
        *the poetics, aesthetics, politics and economics of the interior in literature, art, magazines, book design and material culture
        *the articulation between interiors and subjectivity, objects and people, the material and the immaterial
        *various forms of dwelling, as well as the allied notions of ‘home’, homelessness and homesickness
        *issues of preservation, renovation and re-use of nineteenth-century interiors
        *contemporary re-interpretations of the nineteenth-century interior in neo-Victorian fiction, heritage cinema, etc. 

Please send a 300-500-word abstract (for a 20-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of question/discussion) with a short bio-bibliography to Catherine Delyfer ( AND Amélie Dochy (amé

Deadline for submissions: 10 July 2021
Notification of acceptance: 30 July 2021

Publication: a selection of peer-reviewed articles will be published in a special issue of _Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens_

Languages of the conference: English and French

Bauer, Dominique. The Imagery of Interior Spaces. Punctum Books, 2019.
Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project. Translated by Howard Eiland, Kevin McLaughlin. Harvard 1999.
Berstein, Susan. Roomscape. Edinburgh UP, 2013.
Cohen, Deborah. Household Gods: The British and their Possessions. Yale UP, 2006.
Dillon, Steve. ‘Victorian Interior’, Modern Language Quarterly 62.2 (2001): 83-115.
Edwards, Clive. Turning Houses into Homes. Routledge, 2015.
Edwards, Jason and Imogen Hart eds. Rethinking the Interior, 1867-1896: Aestheticism and Arts and Crafts. Routledge, 2011.
Fisher, Fiona, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Victoria Kelley & Penny Sparke eds. ‘Complex Interior Spaces in London, 1850-1930,’ The London Journal 45.2 (2020): 177-188.
Gilbert, Pamela. Victorian Skin: Surface, Self, History. Cornell UP, 2019.
Hayes, Richard. ‘The Aesthetic Interior as Incubator of Health and Well-Being’. Architectural History 60 (2017): 277-301.
Heidegger, Martin. ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’ [1954], Poetry, Language, Thought, translated and introduced by Albert Hofstadter, Harper Collins, 1971, pp. 141-160.
Hoberman, Ruth. Museum Trouble. University of Virginia Press, 2011.
Ionescu, Vlad. ‘The interior as interiority’. Palgrave Communications. 4.1 (2018): 1-6.
Leckie, Barbara. Open Houses: Poverty, the Novel, and the Architectural Idea in Nineteenth-Century Britain, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.
Logan, Thad. The Victorian Parlour: a Cultural Study. Cambridge UP, 2001.
Maistre, Xavier de. Voyage autour de ma chambre [1794]. Flammarion, 2003.
Marcus, Sharon. Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. University of California Press, 1999.
McNeil, Peter. ‘Designing Women: Gender, Sexuality and the Interior Decorator, 1890-1940’. Art History 17.4 (1994): 631-657.
Morrison, Kevin. Victorian Liberalism, Material Culture: Synergies of Thought & Place, Palgrave 2018.
Muthesius, S. The Poetic Home: Designing the 19th-Century Domestic Interior. Thames & Hudson, 2009.
Neiswander, Judith. The Cosmopolitan Interior: Liberalism & the British Home 1870-1914. Yale 2008.
Pimlott, Mark. The Public Interior as Idea and Project. Ram Publications, 2016.
Plotz, John. Portable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move. Princeton UP, 2008.
Rice, Charles. The Emergence of the Interior: Architecture, Modernity, Domesticity. Routledge, 2007.
Sparke, Penny. Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior. Yale UP, 2021.

Organising committee: Catherine Delyfer, Amélie Dochy, Alice Guerrin, Leslie C. Howard, Lilia Louati

Scientific committee:

Philippe Birgy (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Catherine Delyfer (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Amélie Dochy (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Isabelle Keller-Privat (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Laurent Mellet (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Fabienne Moine (Université Paris Est Créteil)
Christine Reynier (Université Paul Valéry Montpellier)
Laurence Roussillon-Constanty (Université de Pau Pays de l’Adour)
Laurence Talairach (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Gilles Teulié (Aix-Marseille Université)
Nathalie Vanfasse (Aix-Marseille Université)


Journées d’étude. Appel à communication  21 et 22 octobre 2021
Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme 54 Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

Plus d’un millier de sociétés savantes sont créées en France au cours du XIXe siècle (Chaline, 1995 ; Fox, Weisz, 1980). Environ un tiers pratiquent l’histoire naturelle, souvent dans un cadre pluridisciplinaire (sciences, lettres, histoire, archéologie, arts, etc.). Des sociétés spécialisées dans différents domaines de l’histoire naturelle sont fondées, surtout à partir de la seconde moitié du siècle (entomologie, mycologie, malacologie, géologie, botanique, zoologie, minéralogie, etc.). Leurs publications répondent aux attentes d’un lectorat hétérogène. Elles sont animées par des « amateurs », une catégorie dont les contours sont difficiles à saisir. Jusqu’à aujourd’hui, « amateurs » ou « profanes » pratiquent des sciences de « plein air », nécessitant du temps mais peu de matériel et de prérequis. On peut alors se demander comment se négocient les rapports entre profanes et scientifiques, avec la montée en puissance des professionnels (Charvolin, Micoud, Nyhard, 2007).

Au XIXe siècle, les naturalistes arpentent leur « petite patrie locale », ceux des plaines découvrent la montagne (Pont, Lacki, 2000). Les excursions laissent une place importante à la collecte et la collection, à l’observation et à l’érudition. Les données s’accumulent, publiées dans des bulletins périodiques, des catalogues, des monographies, des guides, des Flores et des Faunes. Des travaux sont impulsés et diffusés par le Comité des Travaux Historiques et scientifiques (fondé en 1834), circulent au sein du réseau des sociétés locales, nationales et des colonies, parfois des sociétés étrangères.

Les comptes rendus d’activités, les séances publiques, les célébrations et autres rituels académiques assurent aussi la promotion d’une forme de sociabilité à dominante masculine, d’un certain mode de vie français (gastronomie, convivialité, humour, exploits sportifs, etc.). Les querelles à propos de découvertes locales, la valorisation excessive du singulier, l’accumulation et la confiscation de données, la culture de l’entre soi, seraient symptomatiques d’une forme d’idiosyncrasie propre à ces groupes constitués, tantôt courtisés, tantôt dévalorisés par des savants professionnels (Claude Bernard par exemple) et par les institutions centralisées. Ces représentations ont longtemps fait considérer leurs productions comme indigentes, sur le plan scientifique.

La prise en compte de la diversité des productions et des activités des sociétés savantes : littérature naturaliste, participations à des manifestations scientifiques, gestion et création de jardins botaniques, musées, bibliothèques, conduit à interroger leur caractère savant, leur visibilité dans l’espace public, leur ancrage culturel local. Si leurs productions sont importantes, les institutions centralisées les ont longtemps considérées comme indigentes, sur le plan scientifique. Elles suscitent pourtant l’intérêt d’écrivains, plus ou moins célèbres, comme Hector Malot, Ernest Cotty ou encore Maurice Maindron.

Dans les sciences du vivant, des sociétés savantes manifestent l’appropriation de concepts scientifiques : fixisme de Cuvier, transformisme de Lamarck, évolutionnisme de Darwin, concepts taxinomiques, phytogéographiques, zoogéographiques et écologiques, etc. En phytogéographie, elles construisent des programmes qui développent des problématiques écologiques ancrées dans des territoires (Matagne, 1999).

Au XIXe siècle, les données relatives à la faune et la flore rurale et sylvestre sont abondantes. À la fin du siècle naît une tradition naturaliste qui s’intéresse à la nature en ville. Il semblerait que pour la France les recherches les plus nombreuses concernent la capitale. En Province, des sociétés savantes contribuent à introduire ou à maintenir la nature en ville par le biais de jardins botaniques, qui présentent des espèces indigènes, exotiques, cultivées. Ce sont des terrains d’expérimentations (acclimatation, sélection, hybridation), qui rendent visible les références des concepteurs dans les domaines de la systématique (système de Linné, méthode de Jussieu, etc.), de la géographie botanique et de l’écologie (Fischer, 1999). Ouverts au public, les jardins de ville ont un rôle scientifique, culturel, pédagogique (visites-conférences, leçons pour les enfants des écoles, pour les étudiants en médecine et pharmacie), économique (pour les agriculteurs, agronomes et industriels). Ils s’inscrivent dans un plan d’urbanisme marqué par le courant hygiéniste, par le modèle des cités jardins à l’anglaise pensées en réaction à une forte urbanisation et industrialisation. […]

Les questionnements pourront s’organiser autour de plusieurs thématiques :

– L’évolution de la figure de l’amateur, de ses terrains et pratiques naturalistes, en lien avec les transformations du modèle historique de sociabilité construit autour des sociétés savantes. La négociation des rapports entre amateurs/profanes et scientifiques, avec la montée en puissance des professionnels. La présence des femmes et leurs catégories socio-professionnelles.

– L’émergence de nouveaux centres d’intérêt et de nouveaux territoires pour l’étude de la nature. La naissance et l’évolution d’une tradition des excursions naturalistes urbaines. L’introduction, la conservation et la gestion de la nature en ville. Les naturalistes à l’épreuve de la ville : enjeux scientifiques, culturels, démocratiques, sociétaux.

– La nouvelle image de modernité, le renouveau des inventaires de la biodiversité lié à l’utilisation de technologies numériques et à l’implication des amateurs ou profanes dans des programmes de recherche collaborative ou participative. Légitimité, expertise.

– Les acteurs de la médiation scientifique, pédagogique et culturelle. Pratiques et discours, inclusion sociale et culturelle. Les relations entre les réseaux associatifs, les pouvoirs politiques, les décideurs, les professionnels et les profanes. Interactions avec le monde littéraire ; participation aux travaux des sociétés ; réception de l’action des sociétés savantes.

Les réponses à l’appel prendront la forme de propositions (titre, 20 lignes, mots-clés) adressées avant le 7 juin 2021 à, pour une annonce du programme début juillet et la tenue de journées d’étude l’après-midi du 21 et le 22 octobre 2021.

L’appel à communication complet ICI.


Call for contributions for Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens n°98, Fall 2023.

“Victorian and Edwardian Autobiographies”

A 400-word abstract and brief biography should be sent to Aude Haffen ( by November 10th, 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by December 18th, 2021. Full articles (up to 7,000 words) will be due by June 10th, 2022.

This issue of Les Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens aims to shed new light on Victorian and Edwardian self-narratives and self-representations (autobiographies, letters, travelogues, diaries etc.) by focussing on their connection to the period’s mainstream as well as minor or marginal literary tropes, political ideas, ethical principles, epistemological frameworks and religious beliefs. Subaltern forms of life-writing will be of particular interest, but also literary endeavours which challenge dominant views of the subject from within their own hegemonic or canonical status. Postmodern, feminist, queer, Marxist and Foucauldian theories have fruitfully engaged with how modern subjectivities were fashioned by 19th century capitalist, patriarchal, scientific discourses and archetypal narratives like the Bildungsroman. However, the actual autobiographical practices of the time might also involve forms of self-representation and self-understanding which elude such ideological patterns and frameworks of subjectivation. From the cultural centre epitomized by John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography to less prominent and even marginal positions (those, for example, held by female, queer, working-class, radical or Black autobiographers or diarists), Victorian and Edwardian life-writing practices might indeed resist the liberal paradigm of universal male agents developing individual selfhood along a linear course leading to wholeness, self-discipline and self-knowledge. 

International Conference

University of Lorraine – Nancy (France)

21st-22nd October 2021

Liberalism and/or socialism: tensions, exchanges and convergences from the 19th century to today

Click here to download the full version of the call for paper.

Papers may discuss, but are not limited to:

 – Transfers of concepts and the blurring of systems: new liberalism, liberal socialism, libertarian socialism and market socialism in theory and practice

– Interpretations and reappropriations of liberal thinkers by socialists, of socialist thinkers by liberals

– Philosophies of history common to the two ideologies

– Socialism, liberalism and the theories of value

– Methodological individualism and holism

– Socialism and liberalism faced with questions of identity and the influence of communitarians

– Liberal and socialist roots of working-class and radical movements: cooperatism, chartism, syndicalism, etc

– Questioning of the socialist-liberal divide by conservative, anarchist, populist trends

– Theoretical and practical overlapping between socialism and liberalism in times of crisis (environmental, health, economic, political…)

 Organising committee

 Vanessa Boullet, Stéphane Guy, Peterson Nnajiofor, Ecem Okan, Jeremy Tranmer


 Please send proposals (300 words maximum) and a short biography to and by 10th May 2021.

You will be notified by 30th May if your paper is accepted.

Appel à candidature – contrat doctoral

Vacancy Name: Doctoral contract in 19th century English literature and/or art history within the ERC-funded project CHROMOTOPE 

Host: Sorbonne Université (Paris)

Vacancy specifications: 

‘You ought to love colour, and to think 
nothing quite beautiful or perfect without it’ (John Ruskin)

The ERC-funded project CHROMOTOPE hosted by Sorbonne Université in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) is inviting applications for a 3-year doctoral contract to work on the central role played by colour in the work of the Victorian critic John Ruskin. 

A member of CHROMOTOPE and the VALE research group (Voix Anglophones, Littérature et Esthétique EA 4085), the doctoral candidate will be primarily based in Paris. He/She will work under the supervision of the Principal Investigator of the project, Charlotte Ribeyrol and his/her degree will be delivered by Sorbonne Université.

In keeping with the scientific objectives of CHROMOTOPE which explores the literary and artistic impact of the 19th century ‘chromatic turn’, the doctoral candidate will investigate how Ruskin’s understanding of colour in his writings and teaching shaped aesthetic debates throughout the second half of the 19th century. To this end, he/she will carry out extensive archival research at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, which holds Ruskin’s unique teaching collection. When in Oxford, the candidate will be mentored by Stefano Evangelista (English Faculty/Trinity College) and Colin Harrison (Ashmolean Museum).

The doctoral student will join an existing interdisciplinary team of international researchers with whom he/she will liaise regularly. He/She will be expected to complete his/her doctoral thesis (in English) within three years, to communicate his/her results widely to academic and non-academic audiences, and to take part in the events convened by the team, including the Finaly Summer school in 2022 (Florence) and the major exhibition on ‘The Colour Revolution, from Turner to Whistler’ which will open at the Ashmolean Museum in May 2023. He/She will also be responsible for co-organising the closing conference of the project which will take place at Sorbonne Université in 2024. 

The candidate chosen for this position should hold a Master’s degree in English literature and/or art history, preferably with a specialist knowledge of colour and/or the 19th century. 

Required documents:

1.  Cover letter in English addressed to the project’s principal investigator explaining the candidate’s interest in the project and presenting what skills he/she will contribute to ensure its successful completion

2.     CV containing detailed information about the candidate’s academic career

3.   A copy of the document confirming the candidate’s Master’s degree (or evidence of its imminent completion: date of viva, composition of committee etc.)

4.     A sample of written work, on a relevant topic, of maximum 8,000 words (this may be, for example, a part of their Masters’ dissertation or an article)

5.     The names and email addresses of two referees 

Selection criteria:

1.       A master’s degree or equivalent in English literature or art history to be completed before October 2021

2.       A specialist knowledge of colour history and/or of the 19th century 

3.       Excellent communication skills

4.       Excellent written and spoken English and a working knowledge of French 

5.       High level of organisational skills and of time management

Terms and conditions of employment:

– workplace: Sorbonne Université (Paris) 

– start date: October 2021

– type of contract: full-time, fixed term contract (36 months)

– salary: 23 872,80 euros per year

Selection process:

The required documents should be submitted electronically to the email address of the project as well as to its PI: and mentioning ‘Application for Chromotope doctoral contract’ in the object of the email. 

All documents should be submitted by May 9, 2021.

Required documents should be attached in PDF format. Incomplete applications that do not meet the formal requirements and/or submitted after the deadline will not be considered. 

Candidates will be informed by email of the outcome of their application by May 30, 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to take part in interviews held in Paris (or remotely) in early July 2021. 

For more information about the CHROMOTOPE project and the VALE research group: and