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The Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies

Moralities in the Long Nineteenth Century

Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies One-Day Conference
Saturday 18 February 2017
Durham University, UK
CFP Deadline: 5pm, 1 September 2016

Keynote Address

‘Alternative moralities in the long nineteenth century’
Paul Watt, Monash University, Australia

Call for Papers

‘We do not look in our great cities for our best morality’
—Jane Austen

‘Conventionality is not morality’
—Charlotte Brontë

Austen and Brontë are just two of myriad examples reflecting the complexity of moral discourses of the long nineteenth century. Morality was not fixed in time and place but subject to change often driven by public opinion. Although moral and social reformers tried to regulate morality and construct narratives to universalize attitudes and behavior moral codes were varied, contested and constantly changing.

This conference aims to explore the extremely varied nature and meanings of morality in the long nineteenth century and contest the usual top-down moral discourses defined by institutions such as the monarchy and social reformers. We seek papers proposing new and pluralist readings of long nineteenth-century morality from the widest possible range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives including history, philosophy, socio-legal studies, urban studies, cultural studies, musicology, anthropology, sociology and gender and queer studies.

Suggested research questions include:

• What did it mean to be moral in the long nineteenth century?
• Who defined morality and who questioned that definition?
• How was morality pursued, promoted and resisted?
• On what scale was morality measured and controlled in public and private spheres?
• Were morals measured absolutely and equally across class, religion and region?
• How was language—oral and print forms—used to describe depravity, humiliation, shame and remorse?
• What role did the State, the monarch, publishers and social reformers play in the advancement of morality in an age of unprecedented parliamentary intervention and social reconstruction?
• What agency did people, of all classes, have in framing their own notions of morality?
• What status and meaning does morality hold in different disciplines: the arts, social sciences, legal studies and sciences

Abstract Submission Information

Abstracts are invited for individual papers of 20 minutes as well as panel presentation of 3 speakers (90 minutes) or four speakers (120 minutes).

Abstracts must be no longer than 300 words, be formatted in a single paragraph, and not include footnotes or be accompanied by keywords. They should be saved and named by using the presenter’s last name.

All papers accepted for the conference will be considered for expansion into an edited book collection and / or a number of special-issue journals.

Abstracts should be emailed to with the subject heading ‘Moralities Conference Abstract Submission’ by 5pm on 1 September 2016. A decision will be made on acceptance by 1 November 2016.

This conference is supported by:

Registration is now open and we look forward to welcoming you to Durham University Music Department, Palace Green on the 18th of February 2017.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our event organiser, Paul Watt or the Administrator for the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Enya on

The full conference programme can be found here

CNCS International 

Registration Now Open!
CNCS International Deadline for Registration 12pm, Monday 4 June 2018

e.g. Durham University


If no dietary requirements, please write 'none.'  A buffet lunch will be provided.