I recently returned from Knoxville, Tennessee where I presented at the 2015 Dickens Project Winter Conference. This year the annual graduate student conference was co-hosted by the English Departments at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and the University of Kentucky. The graduate student conference is sponsored by Dickens Universe and proceeds as a follow-up opportunity to attendants of the previous summer's week-long conference in Santa Cruz, California.
The conference consisted of five sessions covering fifteen graduate student presentations. I participated in the session titled "The Body Politic," mentored by Dr. Ryan Fong from Kalamazoo College and moderated by Dr. Amy Billone from the University of Tennessee. Her fellow presenters included Mark Celeste from Rice University who spoke on the masculinity, historiography, and genres of Victorian facial hair, and Sophia Hsu from Rice University who addressed the biopolitics of metonymy in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton.
My presentation, "The Weight of Womanhood in George MacDonald's The Light Princess," is an excerpt from my dissertation and will be featured in a forthcoming journal article in North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies. My analysis and argument focuses on George MacDonald's utilization of long-standing cultural beliefs about menopausal women in his depiction of the witch Makemnoit in his fairy tale for children.
I would like to thank all of the departments, organizations, and individuals who supported and hosted the participants at this wonderful conference, with particular thanks to conference organizers Kat Powell and Dr. Nancy Henry from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Ellen Rosenman from the University of Kentucky. She would also like to extend thanks to Dr. Marco Abel, Department Chair in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for supporting the travel for this presentation.