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"A spectacular conference"

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

From 19 to 22 June, more than 240 delegates representing 35 countries and six continents gathered in Singapore to attend the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies' World Congress on the theme of 'Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914' and the parallel International Society for Cultural History's annual conference on 'Cultural Histories of Empire.' We are grateful for the overwhelmingly positive attendee feedback: 'This is the best academic conference I have ever attended!'; 'It was a great experience'; 'I particularly like the interdisciplinarity you have created, which is missing in many parts of academia'; 'It was so well-run with amazing papers!'; 'I really enjoyed it, meeting some scholars . . . [from] across the world to discuss 19th-century studies'; 'I am already looking forward to the next world congress!' We are too! Thank you to our plenary speakers and workshop leaders as well as to all presenters for sharing your time and knowledge.


Scenes from the congress


Carlos F. NOREÑA (University of California, Berkeley)

presents an ISCH plenary lecture on ‘Cultural Integration in Ancient Eurasian Empires’

TAN Tai Yong (Singapore University of Social Sciences) delivers an SGNCS plenary lecture on

‘Circulations, Connections, and Networks: Singapore in Maritime Southeast Asia’


Jane LYDON (University of Western Australia), an SGNCS member, presents an ISCH plenary lecture on ‘Imperial Subjects to Global Citizens? A Visual Language of Australian Citizenship’

Robbie GOH (Singapore University of Social Sciences) delivers an SGNCS plenary lecture titled ‘Missionaries, Mediation, Mobility: The Travels (and Travails) of Protestant Christian Ideas in South- and Southeast Asian Societies in the Nineteenth Century’


Chris HOLDRIDGE (North-West University, South Africa), a member of the SGNCS executive council, introduces Joy DAMOUSI (Australian Catholic University), who, owing to personal reasons, delivered her plenary lecture, ‘War, Refugees, and Displacement in the Global Nineteenth Century: Enduring Aftermaths’, virtually


Some of the many delegates in attendance (great thanks to Yvonne Liao for the photo!)


SGNCS and ISCH members participated in two collective book launches to celebrate recent publications. Maria TAROUTINA (Yale-NUS College), pictured here, introduces Russian Orientalism in a Global Context: Hybridity, Encounter, and Representation, 1740–1940, a volume she edited with Allison LEIGH


Winter Jade WERNER, SGNCS Awards Committee Chair, and Kevin A. MORRISON, SGNCS President, present Menglu GAO (graduate of Northwestern University, now teaching at University of Denver) with the SGNCS Outstanding PhD Thesis Award for 'The Lacquered Chinese Box: Opium, Addiction, and the Fantasy of Empire in Nineteenth-Century British Literature.' The Awards committee was also pleased to single out a dissertation by Leo HALL (University of Chester), titled 'Industrial Gentlemanliness: The fin-de-siecle adventure hero in text and image, 1870-1914', for honorable mention.


Most congress activities took place at the Singapore Management University, located in the central business district within the arts and heritage precinct. On the final night, however, delegates gathered for a gala dinner at the Masons Table, an English Renaissance building dating to 1879 and once home to nineteenth-century Freemasons. The evening program included Berny SÈBE (University of Birmingham, UK) in conversation with John M. MACKENZIE (Lancaster University, UK) about the latter's new book, A Cultural History of the British Empire (Yale University Press)


The SGNCS executive council offers its thanks to the 2023 World Congress Program Committee for putting together such a rich schedule of plenaries and panels:

Chair: Kevin A. Morrison, Henan University (China) Gary Chi-hung Luk, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (SAR China) Waiyee Loh, Kanagawa University (Japan) Justin Goh, National University of Singapore (Singapore)

Michael S. Pak, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea) Verónica Uribe, Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)

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