The Wars of Peace: The Mundane Violence of the Victorians

Cover of First Love and Last Love by James Grant, 1868. Public Domain.

Friday, May 3, 2019


The title of our conference is taken from Kipling’s White Man’s Burden, and both the source and the word we have cut, “savage” hangs over the whole conference. The unspoken idea of savagery, which Kipling meant to define the targets of British colonial despoilment, can of course speak to British policies and military actions, but also to the daily experience of bodily pain felt by so many Victorians, who endured domestic violence, substandard living conditions, and untreated illnesses. Yet the spectacular claims of the word “savage” can make us expect to see violence as a spectacle. Instead, this conference wants to see violence as the everyday way of life in the nineteenth century: the wars that constituted nineteenth century peacetime, the daily wars at home and the endless wars abroad.


Organized  by
Tanya Agathocleous               Caroline Reitz
Richard Kaye                        Talia Schaffer

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