Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914

Call for Papers: Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914

First World Congress, Singapore, June 19-22, 2023
Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914

Confirmed plenary speakers:

• Joy DAMOUSI (Director, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, ACU), “War,
Refugees, and Displacement in the Global Nineteenth Century: Enduring Aftermaths”
• Robbie GOH (Provost, Singapore University of Social Sciences), “Missionaries,
Mediation, Mobility: The Travels (and Travails) of Protestant Christian Ideas in
South- and Southeast Asian Societies in the Nineteenth Century”
• TAN Tai Yong (President, Yale-NUS College), “Circulations, Connections, and
Networks: Singapore in Maritime Southeast Asia”
• Lily KONG (President, Singapore Management University), Title TBA


By the time the First World War erupted in 1914, most inhabitants of the globe resided within an empire, either as citizens of a colonizing power or as subjects of colonial rule. The preceding “long nineteenth century” had witnessed the rise of various empires with significant overseas colonial possessions—such as Britain, France, the Dutch Republic (subsequently the Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Meiji Japan—to coexist alongside imperial powers contained within contiguous land masses, including the Ottoman, Russian, and Qing empires.

For its first world congress to be held in Singapore from 19 to 22 June 2023, the
Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies is pleased to invite proposals on the theme of
“Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914.” We welcome
proposals for papers and panels that consider forms of interimperial exchanges between
empires during this period. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

• trading, manufacturing, and financial activities between and across empires
• comparative literary undergrounds
• anticolonial aesthetics
• enslavement, exile, displacement, and forced or unforced migration
• microhistorical and biographical comparisons of the experience of empire
• frontiers, borderlands, boundaries
• forms of diplomacy (embassies, consulates, treaties, accords), modes of foreign
relations (bilateral, multilateral)
• oceanic and overland journeys, travel, tourism
• comparative figures of empire (portraiture, sculpture, decorative objects)
• cultures of exploration (botanical, missionary, statistical, cartographic)
• historiographies of empire
• explanations for empire: economic, geopolitical, cultural, institutional
• conceptualizations of empire (the what, how, and why of empire) as well as conceptual
terminology (transimperialism, postcolonialism, and so on)
• colonial propaganda
• cross-cultural literary texts, theories, and practices as well as comparative realisms,
epic, comics/illustrations, etc.
• competition over colonial possessions (wars, conflicts, scrambles) and over
expansionist strategies
• continuities and differences among empires across the long nineteenth century
• evidencing empire (photography, oral history, documentation, archives)
• imperial networking and networks
• literary traffic, circulations, contacts outside the centre–periphery model
• cultural traffic between imperial powers and colonies
• movements of animals, objects, ideas, and knowledge across empires
• responses to the global spread of disease (sharing of medical knowledge, differing
forms of treatment)
• the language(s) of empire and linguistic homogenization and differentiation
• Colonial music institutions, intercultural theater collaborations and performances
• religion and colonialism
• the politics of empire and the practices of anthropology

Although individual paper and panel proposals that confine themselves to the study of a single empire will be considered, we are especially interested in work that encompasses more than one imperial power. In addition to paper and panel proposals related to the conference theme, we also welcome proposals for prearranged special panels on the following two approaches:

Methodology OR Pedagogy Roundtables: Sessions focused on methodological approaches
to studying and practical strategies for teaching the nineteenth century in a global context.

Big Ideas: Sessions focused on a single thought-provoking topic related to the conference
theme. The format may vary from standard panels (three presenters and a moderator) to
lightning roundtables (five to eight presenters delivering short, provocative position papers) to others that may be proposed.

Finally, we welcome proposals for Posters to be displayed in our expo area. Proposals should be on one of five topics: 1) global environments and sustainable development (particularly appropriate for undergraduate submissions); 2) model practices in global nineteenth-century studies (individual instructors and institutional programs); 3) short- and long-term study abroad and the global nineteenth century; 4) intra- and interinstitutional cooperation to advance the study of the global nineteenth century; and 5) facilitating learning among scholars from different fields.


Participants will also have the opportunity to register for workshops on a range of topics,
including several that are designed to lead to publication:

Leah Lui-Chivizhe (University of Technology, Sydney), “Decolonising Museum Collections?
What’s In It for Origin Communities?”

Graham Law (Waseda University), “Global Distribution of Popular Fiction: Forms of
Circulation and Circulation of Forms”

Donna Brunero (National University of Singapore), “Empire and Imperial Identity: Royal
Tours and Pageantry in the Long Nineteenth Century”

Adeline Johns-Putra (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University), “Empire, Climate, and Literature
in the Long Nineteenth Century: Comparative Histories of China and ‘the West’”

Joshua L. Reid (University of Washington), “The Indigenous Pacific in the Age of

Maria Taroutina (Yale-NUS College), “Encounter, Race, and Representation: Painting
Empire in the ‘Long’ Nineteenth Century”


July 25, 2022 Proposals for prearranged panels due
September 25, 2022 Notification of acceptance: prearranged panels
October 1, 2022 Proposals for individual papers and posters due
November 1, 2022 Deadline for some workshops (abstracts/expressions of interest)
November 30, 2022 Notification of acceptance: individual papers and posters
December 1, 2022 Early bird registration begins
December 15, 2022 Draft program published
January 1, 2023 Early bird registration ends, regular registration begins
February 15, 2023 Regular registration ends
March 1, 2023 Late registration for presenters ends


Individual paper proposals should consist of an abstract (200-250 words), brief biography (80- 100 words), and full contact information in a single pdf for Word file. Panel proposals should include abstracts for 3-4 papers, a brief rationale that connects the papers (100-200 words), and biographies of each participant (80-100 words) in a single pdf or Word file. Successful panel proposals will include participants from more than one institution, and, ideally, represent a mix of disciplines/fields and career stages. Panel proposals should also indicate the category for evaluation: general conference program or special session; Methodology or Pedagogy Roundtable; or Big Ideas). Although the working language of the conference is English, a limited number of slots will be available for presentations in Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay.
Presenters, panel chairs, and workshop participants must be current members of the Society
for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies. For more information on membership, visit Proposals and questions should be directed to the Program
Committee: Please visit the 2023 Congress website for the most
up-to-date information:

Program Committee

Convenor: Kevin A. Morrison, Henan University, China
Michael S. Pak, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea
Verónica Uribe, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Gary Chi-hung Luk, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, SAR China
Waiyee Loh, Kanagawa University, Japan
Justin Goh, National University of Singapore (postgraduate representative)