Earlier this summer, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Professor Nancy Henry and PhD student Alli Clymer presented at the 2017 NAVSA/AVSA Supernumerary Conference in Florence, Italy from May 17-20.
The supernumerary conference, organized by professors Dino Franco Felluga (Purdue) and Catherine Robson (NYU), was held at Sir Harold Acton’s La Pietra and featured a plenary lecture titled “Viewereader” by James O. Freedman Professor of Letters Garrett Stewart (Iowa), “material culture” workshops led by scholars on Florence and aspects of the La Pietra collection, as well as panels on a range of topics related to Victorian literature and culture, including a three-part panel series on Charles Darwin led by distinguished Darwinist George Levine (Rutgers).
Nancy Henry and Alli Clymer participated at NAVSA Florence in many ways. On Thursday, May 18, Henry presented a paper titled “‘It was all over with Wildfire’: Horse Accidents in George Eliot” as part of a panel on “The Accidental and the Unexpected in Trollope and Eliot.” Moderated by Clymer, this panel also featured professors Elsie Michie (LSU) and Ellen Rosenman (Univ. of Kentucky), both of whom recently gave lectures at the University of Tennessee through The Nineteenth-Century British Research Seminar.
Later that day, Clymer also participated in a position-paper seminar on “Science, Technology and Animals,” led by professors Deborah Denenholz Morse (The College of William and Mary) and Matthew Rubery (Queen Mary, University of London). At this seminar, Clymer received encouraging feedback about where to next take her research on “Victorian Ghostbusters” and conversed with fellow Victorianists about their current projects.
On Saturday, May 20, Clymer presented a paper titled “Global Telecommunication and the Shocking Ideas of Edward Bulwer Lytton” as part of a panel moderated by Christopher Keirstead (Auburn University) on “Cosmopolitanism and Globalism.”
In addition to the conference, Henry and Clymer also took part in a series of professionalization workshops before and after the conference designed to help graduate students think critically and strategically about the academic profession, from grants and publications, to jobs and tenure. Henry, alongside professors Robson and Emily Allen (Purdue), led a session titled “Conferences” aimed at helping graduate students succeed at conference proposal writing and making the most of conferences once accepted.