Thresholds | 19th Century Studies Association Conference – CALL FOR PAPERS

Date / time: 30 September, All day

Thresholds | 19th Century Studies Association Conference - CALL FOR PAPERS


45th Annual Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference: ‘Thresholds’

Louisville, Kentucky | March 14-16, 2024

Proposal Deadline: September 30, 2023


From its early history as an important trading hub along the Ohio River, Louisville, Kentucky stood as an important gateway between the south and the north as well as between the east and west. As the city grew rapidly throughout the nineteenth century due to its favorable geography, it served as a threshold to nearby Indiana enslaved people longing for freedom and simultaneously as one of the largest centers for the trade and trafficking of enslaved individuals. Despite Kentucky remaining within the Union, many in the state sympathized with the Confederacy, and the political clout of Confederate soldiers returning after the Civil War earned Louisville its reputation as the city that joined the Confederacy after the war was over. During reconstruction and into the twentieth century, the city continued to wrestle with its history while also creating opportunities for those newly freed. Thus, the image of Louisville as a threshold offers fruitful ground for considering the individuals, institutions, conditions, and movements that shape the nineteenth century.

As an interdisciplinary organization, we welcome (15-20 minute) papers and submissions that explore thresholds from a broad range of perspectives, especially diverse national and international frameworks. In discussing physical manifestations of thresholds, papers may explore thresholds in nineteenth-century art, architecture, geography, history, literature, and material culture. Papers may address temporal thresholds into and from the long nineteenth century, including events, figures, and perspectives from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Since thresholds also imply the midpoint from one state of existence to another or from one social status to another, we also welcome broader interpretations of the conference theme such as: thresholds between wilderness and civilization, ecological thresholds, threshold states (e.g. vampirism), visual thresholds, economic thresholds, musical thresholds, and ontological thresholds. Submissions may also address the abundant scientific and technological thresholds in the nineteenth century and the ways they shaped our modes of existence and understanding, e.g. electricity, the phonograph, atomic particles, and the standardization of time. While thresholds often imply advancing through a transition, papers may also conceptualize them as limits that are not transgressed. Topics on the state of nineteenth-century studies might also include thresholds of teaching and scholarship, academic labor practices, or innovative approaches to humanities education.

Please send 250-word abstracts with one-page CVs to by September 30, 2023.

Abstracts should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and paper title in the heading. The organizers welcome individual proposals, panel proposals with four presenters and a moderator, or larger roundtable sessions. Note that submission of a proposal constitutes a commitment to attend if accepted. Presenters will be notified in November 2023. The organizers encourage submissions from graduate students, and those whose proposals have been accepted may submit complete papers to apply for a travel grant to help cover transportation and lodging expenses. See the sidebar at right for more information about conference grants. Questions about submissions or the conference may also be directed to:

Award Submission Deadline July 1, 2023

Submissions to the Emerging Scholars Award and the Article Prize are due July 1, 2023. Winners will each receive a cash award of $500 to be presented at the Annual NCSA Conference.

Emerging Scholars Award:
Article Prize:

The work of emerging scholars represents the promise and long-term future of interdisciplinary scholarship in nineteenth-century studies. In recognition of the excellent publications of this constituency of emerging scholars, this award recognizes an outstanding article or essay published within six years of the author’s doctorate or other terminal professional degree. Entrants must have less than seven years of experience either in an academic career, or as a post-terminal-degree independent scholar or practicing professional. For more information, visit:

Emerging Scholars Award Contact: Dr. Claudia Martin, Chair of the Emerging Scholars Committee OR

The Nineteenth Century Studies Association (NCSA) Article Prize recognizes excellence in scholarly studies from any discipline focusing on any aspect of the long nineteenth century (French Revolution to World War I). For more information, visit:

To submit a paper for consideration for the 2024 NCSA Article prize, please go to this Google Form.

Article Prize Contact: Dr. Scott Moore, Chair of the Article Prize /

2024 CFP LINK:

Image: Wiki Commons