Recent literary studies have generally assumed that regionalism emerged around the turn of the nineteenth century in response to the consolidation of the modern nation-state, imperial expansion, and industrialization, all of which tended to efface cultural, and to some extent geographical, differences among sub-national communities. Yet during the long eighteenth century, various literary and cultural developments—from newspapers, novels, dictionaries, and poems, to antiquarianism, topography, travel writings, and statistical surveys— reflected, and arguably participated in creating, local and regional forms of community. No Place Like Home will explore the idea that regionalism and localism— or, more generally, the aesthetic expressions of sub-national cultural, political, or geographic identities —may have preceded, or at least accompanied, the rise of the nation-state. Our proposed collection aims to challenge “rise of the nation” narratives by exploring forms of regional and local affiliation in British literature and culture in the 150 years preceding the nation-state’s emergence as the paradigmatic form of community in Western Europe. We are therefore soliciting contributions that investigate any of the following topics as they relate to British literature and culture between 1660 and 1830:
– the emergence of regionalism as an aesthetic, cultural, and/ or political category
– the development of the concept of the local (especially in contradistinction to the competing claims of the national and the global or cosmopolitan)
– the evolution of discourses of “rootedness,” “aboriginality” or other forms of sub-national belonging, identification, or community
Please send 500-word abstracts for essays of 5,000 to 7,000 words, along with brief academic CVs, to Evan Gottlieb (evan.gottlieb[at]oregonstate.edu) and Juliet Shields (js37[at]u.washington.edu) by September 1, 2009 .