RSVP Annual Conference

Join us for an RSVP Digital Salon!
September 10-12, 2020

In lieu of an in-person conference this year, we’re pleased to host a series of free online events designed to meet your need for periodical-related intellectual stimulation and chat. The RSVP Digital Salon consists of four sessions scheduled on the original conference dates, September 10-12, 2020.

Registration is now open! Register for the Digital Salon on EventBrite here.

Thursday, 10 September

Interview with the 2020 Colby Book Prize Winner, Dr. Thomas Smits
1:00-2:00 pm EDT / 6:00-7:00 pm UK Time

Book cover of "The European Illustrated Press and the Emergence of a Transnational Visual Culture of the News, 1842-1870" by Thomas SmitsEmeritus Professor Brian Maidment (Liverpool John Moores University) interviews our 2020 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize winner, Dr. Thomas Smits (researcher at Utrecht University), about his new book The European Illustrated Press and the Emergence of a Transnational Visual Culture of the News, 1842-1870 (Routledge). The event will be chaired by Andrew Hobbs, with a welcome from RSVP President Natalie Houston. The 30-minute interview will be followed by time for Q&A with the panelists.

Friday, 11 September

RSVP Annual General Meeting
12:00-1:00 pm EDT / 5:00-6:00 pm UK Time

Please join us for a celebration of our 2020 award winners and an annual report on the year’s activities. Please note the AGM is open to paid-up RSVP members only. A Zoom link will be sent to all current RSVP members before the meeting.

Roundtable on Practicing Digital Humanities and Periodical Scholarship
1:15-2:45 pm EDT / 6:15-7:45 pm UK Time

We are all digital humanists to some extent these days. But the panelists in this session have devoted an abundance of time and energy to developing projects rooted in nineteenth-century periodicals in all their abundance, cultural richness, and geographical diversity. They will discuss their archives, the research questions they and their users are asking, and respond to participants’ questions about technical skills, funding opportunities, institutional recognition at different career stages, and much more. Rather than focusing on DH as a “new” phenomenon or getting embroiled in methodological debates, we will focus on digital projects as an integral part of our scholarly lives. Our panelists include:

Saturday, 12 September

RSVP Twitter Taster
11:00am-1:00 pm EDT / 4:00-6:00 pm UK Time

Calling all Victorian Periodical Tweets! Would you like a tasty morsel of what you can expect at next year’s conference? If so, join us on Twitter for a “teaser” of several presentations ahead of the 2021 RSVP conference. RSVP scholars will present a snapshot of their research in a thread of 6 tweets (prepared in advance) every 15 minutes throughout the event. You’re invited to then engage in a Twitter conversation about each presentation.

Follow the conversation at #TasteofRSVP! Participants include:

    • 11:00 am EDT/4:00 pm UK – Helena Goodwyn @HelenaGoodwyn: The Author Evolution: Walter Besant’s Pellucid Prose
    • 11:15 am EDT/4:15 pm UK – Andrew King @BLT19Project: Circulating Rhythms: Victorian Trade Periodicals and Everyday Myths
    • 11:30 am EDT/4:30 pm UK – Laura Fiss, Andrew Fiss & Michelle Jarvie-Eggart @LKFiss: ‘Pioneer of the Technical and Trade Press of the World’: Mining Periodicals in the Holdings of Michigan Technological University
    • 11:45 am EDT/4:45 pm UK – Justin Gilbert & Marie Léger-St-Jean @Marie_LSJ: Gabriel Alexander and G.W.M. Reynolds: Changing Bylines and the Transatlantic Circulation of Penny-Number Revolutionary William Wallace
    • 12:00 pm EDT/5:00 pm UK – Alexis Easley @marieeasley: The Reprinting of the Brontës’ Poetry in the Periodical Press, 1846-99
    • 12:15 pm EDT/5:15 pm UK – Kirstie Blair @PistonPenFactory Times
    • 12:30 pm EDT/5:30 pm UK – Alison Hedley @HedleyAlison: The Evolution of Data Visualization in Popular Victorian Print: Findings of the Graphical Materials Project
    • 12:45 pm EDT/5:45 pm UK – Kaari Newman @k_newman17: Circulations of Civil War: The American Civil War According to the Preston Chronicle

RSVP Social Hour
1:15-2:15 pm EDT / 6:15-7:15 pm UK Time

We’ve all been inside for far too long! It’s time to safely/virtually get out of the house. Since most of us cannot travel through space, we are inviting you to travel through time in our RSVP Zoom portal — a Victorian Periodicals Tardis of sorts — for a social event that begins with small group discussions of Victorian authors, journalists, and editors, and then go wherever you wish to take it.

Remember the Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Lockdown House meme from earlier this year, which asked us to choose a set of historical figures to join for the duration of the pandemic? The RSVP Social Hour is inspired by the lively conversations that ensued on social media following Ann M. Hale’s creation of these lockdown house scenarios — where we could never escape the inimitable Dickens!

This is your opportunity to chat with colleagues and mingle with a select group of Victorians in an imaginary social space. Catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Prior to the gathering, registrants will receive information about the spaces that will be represented by different Zoom break-out rooms, along with a list of Victorian guests visiting each space. Pour yourself a refreshing post-conference beverage, log into Zoom, and join us. No masks required.


The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals holds its annual conference each summer or early fall at a different location in North America or Europe, on a theme relating to Victorian culture and society as reflected in its periodicals. RSVP offers a limited number of travel awards for graduate students and independent or retired scholars to assist with the costs of presenting at the conference. All those giving a paper at the RSVP conference are required to be members of the Society.

Due to concerns about safe travel, the 2020 conference, “Revolution(s), Evolution(s), Circulation(s)” to be held at Temple University has been postponed to September 2021. The program committee had already completed their review of submitted abstracts when the decision was made to postpone the conference. Applicants have been notified and the program committee expects to include already accepted papers as well as new submissions in the 2021 program. Further details, including the conference dates and CFP information for 2021, will be posted later this year.