Christina M. Spiker

Christina M. Spiker

Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist

19th Century Workshop: Circulation

California has cooled down a bit, but I would be lying if i said that I didn’t miss Sapporo right now. Every time I sit down to work on my dissertation, I find myself quietly reminiscing about the sweet (and spicy) smell of soup curry, a famous Sapporo dish. I’ve been back in the States for ten days now and I’m already getting ready for my next flight to Rutgers University for the Nineteenth Century Workshop. Excited about the workshop, but not so excited to be back in an airport so soon…

The workshop’s theme is “Circulation” and here are some themes and questions the conference poses:

The nineteenth century was an age of mass circulation of newspapers and magazines; of forced migration and exodus; of developing expertise in networks of trade and colonial exploitation; of the emergence of standardized time for travel by steamship and by rail; of the transnational circulation of theatrical performances, medicine shows, and fraudulent currency; and of new understandings of the movement of languages, species, and cultures. The end of the slave trade and the abolition of slavery in many empires and nations, new forms of colonialism (of both the extractive and settler varieties) as well as massive labor migrations, all radically altered individuals’ sense of place and belonging, and what constituted the local and the global.

How was the movement of commodities, capital, and human bodies governed, promoted, and understood by different groups and organizations?  How did nineteenth-century cultural works orient themselves to new conditions of circulation?  In an age of increasingly coordinated circulation, where were the blockages? What stayed still?

We’ll be discussing actual written pieces provided by each presenter. Although I think there is much to be learned by presenting papers at conferences, I feel like workshops of this variety are a rare opportunity to get feedback on actual written work, and a chance to write something longer than the brief snapshot a conference allows. The workshop brings together people from a variety of different areas and fields, and will surely be an interdisciplinary dialogue! If you have an interest in the nineteenth century, the complete schedule has been posted here.

Bear-Worhisppers of YezoI am presenting on a panel with Edyta Bojanowska and Carla Yanni on October 3rd from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Both of our papers deal with travelogues in different regions of the world, and I’m looking forward to comparing approaches to this kind of material. My essay is about the gradual solidification of the Ainu visual stereotype through image circulation in the nineteenth century through travel works like Philipp Franz von Siebold’s Nippon (1852), Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880), and Edward Greey’s The Bear Worshippers of Yezo (1884). I’m looking at how these travelers cite (and occasionally copy) earlier Ainu-e (images of the Ainu painted by Japanese visitors to Hokkaido). This essay is based on research recently completed in Hokkaido, so I’m thrilled to be getting some feedback. Here is our panel information:

October 3rd, 2:00-3:30pm, Murray Hall 302

Edyta Bojanowska, German, Russian, and Eastern European Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, Rutgers
“Pineapples in Petersburg, Cabbage Soup on the Equator: Circuits of Global Trade in a Mid-Nineteenth Century Russian Travelogue”

Christina Spiker, Visual Studies, UC Irvine
“Constructing the Indigenous: Nineteenth-Century Circulation and Transformation of the Ainu Image in British and American Print Culture”

Moderated by Carla Yanni, Art History, Rutgers

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