Updated: Jul 6
The SGNCS General Assembly was held at the World Congress in Singapore on 20 June 2023. Presided over by SGNCS Vice-President Radha DALAL (VCUarts Qatar), the meeting included reports by Kevin A. MORRISON (Henan University), President; Winter Jade WERNER (Wheaton College), Awards Committee Chair; and Mark CELESTE (Hampden-Sydney College), Membership Committee Chair.
In his report, Kevin Morrison provided an overview of the work of the executive council. In 2021 and 2022, the council was primarily focused on setting up the administrative infrastructure of the organization. It defined our core values, aims, and objectives; drafted the Society’s Constitution and By-Laws; adopted the Society’s graphic identity; drew up statements on diversity and anti-harassment; and decided on the locations of our world congresses through 2029, adopting the principle that these would occur biennially, rotate by continent, and be inclusive of the languages of the region in which they occur. The council also oversaw the work of the planning committees for the 2023 world congress as well as our 2022 international symposium on the theme of 'The Global / Oceanic / Nineteenth Century', which was held in Los Angeles. The two-day event consisted of in-person panels in Los Angeles as well as live synchronous panels from Hong Kong and Australia.
The Membership Committee is charged with devising means of growing and retaining the Society’s membership. In his report, Mark Celeste shared his ideas for staffing the committee, which will include an email to all members. Because the committee is new, it will have significant leeway in shaping the endeavors the SGNCS undertakes. Mark shared some preliminary ideas, including developing the syllabus bank; expanding the 'In Conversation' reading series; and orchestrating a range of cross-disciplinary writing workshops. Mark emphasized that he is open to a broad range of ideas, and shared his hope that the committee would foster connections and resources that are both personally inclusive and professionally meaningful.
The Awards Committee is responsible for recognizing outstanding work in the field and, as the SGNCS grows its endowment, allocating funds to assist graduate students, contingent faculty, early career researchers, and independent scholars in attending Society events. In her report, Winter Jade Werner shared the results of the committee's deliberations. For the Outstanding PhD Thesis Award, the committee selected Menglu Gao's 'The Lacquered Chinese Box: Opium, Addiction, and the Fantasy of Empire in Nineteenth-Century British Literature'. The committee praised Gao's dissertation for the clarity of its presentation, depth of knowledge of the fields in which it seeks to intervene, and valuable transregional perspective. Readers noted that its 'attention to Anglo-Chinese comparative studies is truly impressive and an important scholarly contribution', and that its ambitious 'multinational and multilingual focus' is complemented by its attention to an 'equally impressive breadth of literary genres ... including autobiographical works, novels, and lesser-known late-century crime/sensation fiction'.
The committee also unanimously selected Leo Hall's dissertation, 'Industrial Gentlemanliness: The fin-de-siecle adventure hero in text and image, 1870-1914', for 'Honorable Mention'. The dissertation was exceptional in the strength and clarity of its presentation, and one reader expressed particular admiration for the 'notable multimodality of primary sources in Hall’s dissertation', which was elegantly 'interwoven with multiple critical conversations on imperialism and orientalism, nineteenth-century science, and gender'.
At the meeting's end, Chong XU (Soochow University) provided an overview of the SGNCS 2024 international symposium on nineteenth-century global cities, which he is co-chairing. Kevin then shared details of the 2025 world congress on the theme of 'Translation, Transposition, and Travel in the Global Nineteenth Century'.
The 2027 world congress will be held in Chile at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago, and the 2029 congress will be held in Austria at the University of Vienna.