IAS Fellows' Seminar - Border and Border Crossing: writing contagion in Victorian England
Professor Sambudha Sen’sproject probes a powerful and discursively productive tension generated by the ways in which infectious disease was understood through most of the 19th century.Two factors made the representations of contagion in Victorian England both all-encompassing and inherently unstable. First, contagion was, as Roberto Esposito argues “located always on the border”, “ between the inside and the outside the self and the other”.Second, unlike most scientific categories, contagion had not, until the advent of bacteriology in the last quarter of the 19th century, freed itself from the possibility of metaphoric elaboration.
His IAS seminar hopes to uncover the ways in which this tension plays out in middle class representations - embodied in novels, sanitary committee reports and visual prints – of the worst victims of infectious disease: those compelled to live in the slums of England’s great cities and especially London.
Places are limited and so any academic colleagues or students interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability). Alternatively please contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.
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