CFP: Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914 (Singapore, June 2023)

Kevin Morrison's picture

Dear colleagues,

The Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies is pleased to announce that we will be holding our world congress simultaneously with the International Society for Cultural History annual conference, which will be meeting at the same site in Singapore on the theme of Cultural Histories of Empire. Registered SGNCS World Congress participants will be free to attend any session of the ISCH conference. Attendees of both events will gather together for plenaries and cultural activities. Two conferences at one location for a single registration fee! Because of this significant development, we are recirculating the cfp with a revised deadline of 20 October


The Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies ( invites individual paper proposals on any aspect of nineteenth-century empire for its world congress, “Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914,”  to be held in Singapore, 19-22 June 2023.

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. Individual papers may wish to explore (but are not limited to) the following:  

-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

When appropriate and to facilitate new insights into the period, proposals that confine themselves to the study of a single empire will be assigned to broad panels that cover more than one imperial power.

Participants will also have the opportunity to register for workshops on a range of topics, including several that are designed to lead to publication. You can read the descriptions for each workshop at

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 Colonialism”

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


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. 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, at the time of the congress, 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:


The revised deadline for proposals is 20 October 2022.