Friday 17 June: ‘Embarrassing Bodies: Feeling Self-Conscious in the Nineteenth Century’

When: Friday 17 June 2016, 9.30 – 17.30

Where: Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 46 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Registration is now open for ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, a one-day symposium on ‘Feeling Self-Conscious in the Nineteenth Century’. This event is funded by a Wellcome Trust ISSF Grant and is free to attend, but spaces are limited. To secure your place, please register.



9.00 – 9.30
Registration and refreshments

9.30 – 11.00
Welcome and Keynote Panel
Dr Paul White (University of Cambridge)
Dr Philippa Lewis (University of Bristol)
Chair: Dr Emma Curry

11.00 – 11.25
Break and refreshments

11.25 – 12.40
Panel 1: Embarrassment and the Sciences
Alison Moulds (University of Oxford): ‘From awkwardness to impropriety: conceptualising the male doctor’s embarrassing body in Victorian medical literature’
Dr Royce Mahawatte (Central St Martins): ‘”A ghost of what he was”: Dr R J Culverwell, the Gothicized Foreskin, and Muscular Christianity’
Ryan Sweet (University of Exeter): ‘Wigs’ Worst Enemies: Representations of Animals Embarrassing Artificial Hair Users in Late Victorian Britain’
Rosalind White (Royal Holloway, University of London): ‘Caught “with all your implements about you”: Spider-Stuffers, Hay Botanists and Embarrassment in Nineteenth-Century Natural History’
Chair: Dr Heather Tilley

12.40 – 13.30

13.30 – 14.45
Panel 2: Literary Self-Consciousness
Dr Amelia Worsley (Amherst College): ‘The Embarrassment of Autobiographical Verse’
Dr Michael Davis (University of the West of England): ‘”Above her darker-flowing thoughts”: The Possibilities of Self-Consciousness in George Meredith’s The Egoist’
Dr Hao Li (University of Toronto): ‘”A Self-Conscious Nerve in Pain”: Self-Consciousness and Ethical Affect in The Picture of Dorian Gray’
Katherine Parker-Hay (University of Oxford): ‘Saving Face in the Realist Novel: Politeness Against a Backdrop of Furniture’

14.45 – 15.05
Break and refreshments

15.05 – 16.20
Panel 3: Embarrassment and Visual Culture
Dr Stephanie O’Rourke (University of St Andrews): ‘Tissot’s Self-Consciousness’
Eva M. Kenny (Princeton University): ‘Neither Expression nor Emotion: Darwin and the Art of Blushing’
Dr David Russell (University of Oxford): ‘Embarrassing Ruskin’

16.20 – 16.30

16.30 – 17.30
Discussion Panel: ‘Awkward Academics: Embarrassment, Anxiety, and Modernity’
Professor Francis O’Gorman (University of Leeds)
Professor Joe Moran (Liverpool John Moores University)

Wine reception

For more information, contact the organiser, Emma Curry (, or see the conference blog:


sitemanagerFriday 17 June: ‘Embarrassing Bodies: Feeling Self-Conscious in the Nineteenth Century’

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