The Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship in Nineteenth-Century Media

The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) is pleased to announce that the eighth annual Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship is now open for applications. Made possible by the generosity of publisher Gale, part of Cengage Learning, the award is in support of dissertation research that makes substantial use of full-text digitized collections of 19th-century British magazines and newspapers. A prize of $1500 will be awarded, together with one year’s passworded subscription to selected digital collections from Gale, including 19th Century UK Periodicals and 19th Century British Library Newspapers.

Deadline:  February 1, 2017, for awards beginning in 2017
Award notification:  Not later than April 1, 2017.

Purpose: The purpose of the Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship is two-fold: (1) to support historical and literary research that deepens our understanding of the 19th-century British press in all its rich variety, and (2) to encourage the scholarly use of collections of full-text digital facsimiles of these primary sources in aid of that research.


In order to be eligible for the award applicants must be enrolled as a postgraduate student at the time of entering the competition. They may be based in any academic discipline, but must be working on a doctoral dissertation or thesis that centrally involves investigation into one or more aspects of the British magazine and newspaper press of the 19th century. Preference will be given to projects that are interdisciplinary in approach, and that propose to use innovative methods of exploration that are uniquely possible with online collections. The digitized collections used in this research may include those created by any publishers or projects, whether commercial or non-commercial. Applicants who were unsuccessful in previous years are encouraged to apply again if they continue to meet the above criteria.

This year’s winner: RSVP is delighted to announce that the Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship for research to be undertaken in 2016 has been awarded to Amelia Joulain-Jay, a PhD. student in History at Lancaster University, for her work on using Geographical Information Systems and Corpus Linguistics methods to investigate how places were represented in nineteenth-century British newspapers.
Applications: Applicants should send a c.v. and the names and contact information of two scholars who are familiar with the applicant and his or her dissertation project; it is expected that one of these will be the student’s dissertation director. The project description (approx. 500-800 words) should concisely explain the aims of the proposed research and the key importance of the role of full-text digitized collections in that research. Applications for the Gale Fellowship for dissertation research to be undertaken in 2017 must be submitted in electronic form and sent to by February 1, 2017. Any queries about the application may be sent to the same address. Notification will take place by email not later than April 1, 2017. The successful applicant will be expected to submit a brief report to RSVP at the conclusion of the funded portion of the project, describing the results of the research.

Michael Wolff

It is with enormous sorrow that we announce the death of Michael Wolff. He was of course a founding figure of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, and a crucial figure in the successful development of the Society over the past fifty years. His commitment to what is now Victorian Periodicals Review has been a major factor in the journal’s success. Beyond the Society, he has been a visionary and effective presence in the field of Victorian Studies more widely. His work with Jim Dyos on the magisterial volumes of The Victorian City  (1973), for example, gave direction and inspiration to a whole generation of cross disciplinary scholars working at a time when Victorian Studies was still finding its way. He has also been a consistent presence within theVICTORIA discussion list throughout its long history.

There will be many future occasions when we will want to mark and celebrate Michael’s work and his long association with the Society, and this short announcement is not the place to begin to do so. I feel his loss personally – I first met Michael in Leicester over forty years ago, and his quirky and occasionally mischievous support and advice throughout my career has meant much to me. I am sure that I was not the only young scholar who benefited from his kindness, knowledge and wisdom over the years. He will be much missed.

Brian Maidment
President, RSVP.

Call for Papers – Special Issue of Victorian Periodicals Review: “The Material Culture of Victorian Domestic Life and the Press”

Guest Editor, Julie Codell

The Victorian press actively shaped Victorians’ notions of domestic life around several topics: material culture, architecture, interior design, and the gendering of domestic space. Deborah Cohen’s Household Gods (2009) and Thad Logan’s The Victorian Parlour (2006) both articulate a critical analysis of Victorian domestic life joined with material culture studies to go beyond the stereotypes of cluttered rooms and gendered “separate” spaces. Recently Jane Hamlett’s Material Relations (2010) continues the exploration of how people lived at home through a study of their material goods. Scholars such as John Potvin have explored interior design in relation to orientalism, sexual orientation, and modernity in a flood of now well-established material culture studies sparked by Daniel Miller, Judith Attfield, and others. In addition to the many coffee table books on Victorian interiors and furnishings are new readings of Victorian authors Isabella Beeton, Charles Eastlake, and Mary Eliza Haweis on domestic taste and furnishings, as well as a neo-Victorian fascination with Victorian design, food, cooking culture, and household management.

Despite this literature, there are still many understudied areas in the periodical press:

  • working-class domestic lives,
  • rural home decoration and furnishing in relation to urban design and furnishings,
  • the ways Britons recreated British domestic life in the colonies,
  • prescriptions of family roles,
  • the home as both private and public,
  • the changing role of the manor house in the development of national cultural identity,
  • the physical organization of domestic space,
  • changes in laws, aesthetics, and gender and class relations (e.g., the 1882 Married Women’s Property Act, the 1870 Education Act, Aestheticism, the department store, the New Woman) that introduced new objects, designs, family relations, gender roles and spatial structures in the home,
  • advertising and illustrations of furnishings and the material page.

This list is not meant to restrict but to suggest topics. This CFP seeks to elicit essays on the press’s role in the production of domestic life as an ideal and a set of practices functioning across class and the geography of Britain and the colonies. We encourage authors to address the texture of conflicting views on how to conduct and represent domestic life within individual periodicals and across periodicals that contained different ideologies, intentions, and readerships. We welcome proposals on the structures and spaces of domestic life examined and prescribed in a range of periodicals—the women’s press, architecture journals, general periodicals, the art press and other specialized or trade periodicals.

Please submit a 300-word abstract outlining your proposed contribution by December 1, 2016, to Final drafts of essays selected for inclusion in the special issue will be due July 1, 2017. These essays should be 5,000–9,000 words in length (including notes and bibliography) and should be formatted in Chicago style.