“The Wars of Peace” Speakers

Cover of <em>The Red Rag</em> by Richard Mounteney Jephson, 1883.
Cover of The Red Rag by Richard Mounteney Jephson, 1883.


Simon Reader (College of Staten Island, CUNY)



Meredith Martin (Princeton University)

Lara Kriegel (Indiana University)

Holly Furneaux (Cardiff University)

Nasser Mufti (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Cornelia Pearsall (Smith College)

Aeron Hunt (Boston College)

Zarena Aslami (Michigan State University)

Anjuli Raza Kolb (Williams College)




Meredith Martin


Meredith Martin is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Princeton University. Martin specializes in anglophone poetry with interests in historical prosody, historical poetics, poetry and public culture, and disciplinary and pedagogical history. She is the Faculty Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton, which started under her leadership in 2014. Her book, The Rise and Fall of Meter, Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1930, was the winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book, the Warren Brooks Prize for Literary Criticism, and co-winner of the Sonya Rudikoff Prize for the Best First Book in Victorian Studies. She has been building and directing, since 2007, the Princeton Prosody Archive, which contains writing on poetics, prosody, rhetoric, grammar, speech, and literary history published between 1570-1923.


Lara Kriegel


Lara Kriegel is an Associate Professor of History and English at Indiana University, Bloomington. At IU, she has served as Director of the Victorian Studies program and Associate Editor of the American Historical Review.  She is also an editor of the journal Victorian Studies.  In her interdisciplinary scholarship, Kriegel seeks to offer new perspectives on the Victorian era that enrich our understandings of the nineteenth century and the current moment.  Her first book, Grand Designs, located material culture and institutional reform at the heart of the Victorian metropolis of London and at the center of debates about historical practice.  Kriegel is now in the final stages of writing a second monograph, The Reason Why: The Crimean War and its Afterlife.  Its six chapters perform acts of historical recovery and acts of cultural reinterpretation.  They address the beloved legends, cultural practices, and social fault lines produced by the War. Taken together, they trace the enduring role of the Crimean War in producing collective identity and social community from the mid-nineteenth century to today.


Holly Furneaux


Holly Furneaux is a Professor in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. Furneaux’s research is in Victorian literature and culture, and Victorian legacies, with an emphasis on gender, forms of family, sexuality, touch and emotion. She is currently building on an AHRC funded project Military Men of Feeling, in partnership with the National Army Museum. Focused on the Crimean War, the project investigated overlooked aspects of soldiers’ felt experience, such as family feeling in regiments, soldier adoptions, the production of trench art, and battlefield nursing. Recognising a widespread cultural emphasis on the gentle soldier, this project desposes persistent ideas about Victorian masculinity as well as enhancing our understanding of the complexities of battlefield feeling. In 2016 her book Military Men of Feeling: Masculinity, Emotion and Tactility in the Crimean War was published by Oxford University Press.


Nasser Mufti


Nasser Mufti is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mufti’s research and teaching focuses on nineteenth century British and postcolonial literature, as well as critical and political theory. He is especially interested in literary approaches to the study of nationalism. His first book, Civilizing War: Imperial Politics and the Poetics of National Rupture, argues that narratives of civil war energized and animated nineteenth-century British imperialism and decolonization in the twentieth century. The conceptual core of the book adapts a famous phrase of Benedict Anderson to ask what it means to “un-imagine” community, while its historical arc tracks the shifts in narratives of civil war from the Victorian period to the age of decolonization to the contemporary refugee crisis. Where once the narratives of civil war were directed internally at metropolitan society, today they are directed exclusively outwards at the Global South and provide the basis for liberal-humanitarian interventionism.


Cornelia Pearsall


Cornelia Pearsall is a Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College. Her book, Tennyson’s Rapture: Transformation in the Victorian Dramatic Monologue (Oxford) is a recipient of the Sonya Rudikoff Prize. Pearsall is currently completing two book projects. The first, Firing Lines: War Poetry and the Force of Form from Tennyson to Plath, studies intersections of measure and the martial from the Crimean War to the Cold War. If at some level physical destruction or its threat is a defining element of war, then its most urgent poetry conveys this, she shows, at the level not only of theme but of form, through the materiality and even brutality of lyric representation. The book’s six chapters focus on a range of poems articulating operations of force, specifically allying technologies of warfare with the technics and ethics of war poetry. Imperial Tennyson, her other current book-length project, works closely with an intricately connected network of poems and political documents spanning the decade of the Laureate’s widest national and global influence, from his elevation to the peerage to his death in 1892. Drawing on substantial archival research in order to read more comprehensively the dense interrelation of these poems to acts of imperial aggression, she situates them within a sequence of pivotal events, including vigorous national debates over Irish Home Rule, the death of General Gordon in Khartoum, and the annexation of Upper Burma.


Aeron Hunt


Aeron Hunt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Boston College. Hunt specializes in Victorian literature and culture, with particular interests in the relationship of literature and economic life, the novel, Victorian popular and mass culture, and gender and sexuality studies. Her current research focuses on the figure of the veteran in Victorian literature and culture. Hunt’s book Personal Business: Character and Commerce in Victorian Literature and Culture was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015 and received an Honorable Mention for the Best Book of the Year award by the North American Victorian Studies Association in 2014.


Zarena Aslami


Zarena Aslami is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University. Aslami’s research and teaching focus on nineteenth-century British literature and culture. Special areas of interest include empire, history and theory of the novel, feminism, psychoanalysis, and the digital humanities. She is the author of The Dream Life of Citizens: Late Victorian Novels and the Fantasy of the State, which explores how novels dramatized the feelings and fantasies of a liberal culture that was increasingly optimistic, as well as anxious, about the state’s capacity to “step in” and help its citizens achieve the good life. Examining works by Thomas Hardy, George Gissing, and Sarah Grand, among others, The Dream Life of Citizens shows how this ambivalence about state power lies at the heart of liberal subjectivity. Her current book project, Sovereign Anxieties: Victorian Afghanistan and the Literatures of Empire, continues this line of inquiry, examining the affective content of political forms in a transnational context. Broadly, a study of the British Empire, Sovereign Anxieties focuses on the case of Afghanistan, tracking how and why nineteenth-century British discourse cast it as vague and inassimilable. The project gathers Victorian representations, including military memoirs, photographs, and fiction, of the three Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839 to 1919) and pays particular attention to how the British imagined Afghan political authority. Her articles have appeared in Victorian Studies and Novel: A Forum on Fiction.


Anjuli Raza Kolb


Anjuli Raza Kolb is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Williams College. Raza Kolb specializes in Colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, science and literature, Gothic novel and horror, disease narratives, comparative literature (French, Urdu), poetics and poetry, gender and sexuality, literary and critical theory, and globalization and sovereignty. She is currently working on an academic book and a set of articles about terrorism and the epidemic imaginary in colonial letters and a poetry collection called Janaab-e Shikva (Watchqueen) after the Urdu poet Iqbal. Raza Kolb is writing a number of pieces about the life sciences in the colonies, and an essay/garden project on the cruising, queer form, and the social and design history of the Central Park Ramble. She has published work on literature, science, popular music, fashion, art, and politics in The Boston Review, Fence, The Bennington Review, Poetry, Syndicate Lit, Reality Beach, Discourse, The Los Angeles Review of Books, BookForum, Guernica, and more.


Simon Reader


Simon Reader is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. Reader regularly teaches Victorian and British literature as well as Queer Studies in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. His research focuses on the aesthetic dimensions of minor genres, such as writers’ notebooks, literary and philosophical fragments, and aphorisms. His current book project is Notework: The Labor of Nonlinear Style, which explores the Victorian writers’ notebook as a genre, and he has also begun a second project, #barthes: Mythologies of the Fragment, which considers Roland Barthes’s obsession with fragmentary writing (i.e. writing in short prose bursts) in terms of the aesthetics and ethics of social media.


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