Landing : Athabascau University

NASSR Conference 2025 (Online): Romanticism’s Commons

“…Who shall say / The love of genius is a common thing...?”–Letitia Elizabeth
Landon, “A Summer Evening’s Tale,” The Venetian Bracelet (1828)

The North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) is pleased to announce the theme of--and call for contributions to--our 2025 conference, which will be held wholly and accessibly online, and hosted by Athabasca University, Canada's open university, in August 2025 (dates and keynote speakers TBA).

Romanticism's Commons names a field for which we hope to solicit contributions to current studies in Romanticism from a transdisciplinary array of scholarly approaches and perspectives. This theme also resonates with and builds on those of previous NASSR conferences, like those focusing on mediations, openness, and technology, among others.

In everyday speech, "common" connotes something of sharing, and something of averageness; in the everyday speech of the period, the word also familiarly confers pejorative judgment on sharing or averageness deemed inappropriate, promiscuous, and conspicuously gender-coded (as in patriarchy's figure of a "common woman”). In legal discourse, the commons names territory or space that is publicly shared and accessed, de-propertized, or otherwise not privately enclosed. During the Romantic period, common lands continued to be enclosed or privatized by the ever-encroaching and -expanding private interests of industrial capital. Analogously, scholars and critics of intellectual property (IP) in the digital age argue that a new wave of enclosures now proceeds by way of increasingly strict and punitive copyright and other IP laws; these new enclosures threaten other kinds of cultural and archival commons, like the "public domain"--the cultural commons comprised of works whose copyrights have expired, forming a shared heritage and repertoire for new cultural production.

"Common" also means a myriad things for other discourses, etymologically, historically, and interculturally. NASSR invites scholars of Romantic-period literature and culture to consider our theme's keywords in relation to your own researches, and to come together for a conversation about Romanticism's commons, however theorized or reimagined.

A fuller call for contributions (including conference dates, website URL, etc.) will go out before June 30, 2024. To submit work for inclusion in these proceedings, the deadline for special session proposals is October 31, 2024, and the deadline for individual papers (or contributions in other presentation formats) is January 31, 2025. For session and/or paper submissions: please send a 500-word proposal, 100-word abstract, and 50-word biographical note to NASSR2025[at]proton[dot]me

The NASSR Con ’25 organizing committee at Athabasca U is chaired by Prof. Mark A. McCutcheon (Literary Studies) and includes Profs. Jolene Armstrong (Comparative Literature), David Buchanan (Literary Studies) and Frits Pannekoek (History).