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Intimacies of the Nineteenth Century


This course will situate nineteenth-century British literature as the site of various critical intimacies: both the psychic landscape of desires—unseen and unknown—that psychoanalytic, narrative, and queer and feminist critics have theorized, and a vital archive for thinking about colonial, migratory, and enslaved movement. We will build off recent theorizations of the nineteenth century that cast off a “center / periphery” model and instead point to the multiple crossings of empire, enslavement, and forced migration that structured the British imaginary, such as Jodi Byrd’s “colonial cacophony” and Lisa Lowe’s “intimacies of four continents.” We will think about how reading canonical Victorian texts with scholarship from other fields—postcolonial, but also Black studies, Caribbean studies, and Asian diaspora studies—may open this work to new approaches. Primary authors may include Mary Prince, Dickens, Eliot, Brontë, Naidu, and Schreiner. Secondary readings by Byrd, Lowe, Anjuli Raza Kolb, Caroline Bressey, Ankhi Mukherjee, Tim Watson, Ashley Cohen, Ann Cheng, Alicia Christoff, and others.

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.