Call for Papers

International Conference on Romanticism (ICR) 2021, “Bonds” 

The deadline has been extended to  May 1, 2021. Please click here for extension details.

The notion of bonds has always had particular significance in Charleston, South Carolina, a city that bears the scars of being the capital of the American slave trade: in fact, forty percent of the enslaved Africans brought into the United States passed through Charleston’s harbor.  For this reason, the International African American museum will open here in 2022, allowing for people across the world to rediscover their own histories and family connections.   

Of course, bonds were also severely tested in 2020 in the wake of COVID-19 and the cancellation of many events, including our own conference; this is a chance for us to reestablish bonds—connections—with one another. We also interrogate our connections to our historical past, connections made clear by the racial trauma brought to light by the murder of George Floyd and subsequent BLM marches all over the world.  Bonds can bring us together but, just as easily, pull us apart, and we look forward to exploring what this might mean to the traditionally termed Romantic era.  The conference theme is intended to accommodate a wide range of papers across such disciplines as art history, cultural history, literary studies, musicology, anthropology, and philosophy. ICR prizes interdisciplinarity and comparatist approaches, and we welcome work in American and global literatures.  

While we encourage a broad interpretation of bonds literal and metaphorical, some possible topics include: 

  • Bonds occasioned by race 
  • Bonds occasioned by gender, ability, ethnicity, etc. 
  • Social or familial bonds 
  • Creative bonds: societies, coteries, etc. 
  • Globalization and imperialism 
  • Political bonds 
  • Bonds between literary periods 
  • Our current-day bonds to the Romantic era 
  • Bonds between disciplines 
  • The bonds of genre conventions 
  • Chemical bonds  
  • Ecological/environmental bonds 
  • Boundaries between health and illness 
  • financial bonds, debt, investment 
  • legal bonds, contracts, wills 
  • spiritual bonds, ritual, links between the metaphysical and the material 
  • material culture and bonds (e.g. binding of books) 

The deadline for presentation abstracts as well as complete panels, roundtables, or other, alternative panel formats has been extended to  May 1, 2021. Please click here for extension details.

The conference will include an interdisciplinary panel presentation about Charleston and slavery, optional tours of the Slave Mart Museum and the Old Exchange and Provost’s Dungeon, and two keynotes: Manu Samriti Chander, Rutgers University and Deborah Jensen, Duke University.

The International Conference on Romanticism was founded in 1991 and aims to further the study of Romanticism across linguistic, national and political disciplines. Conference attendees and participants must be members of ICR.  Please visit to become a member or renew your membership. 

Send questions, panel proposals, and abstracts  (approx. 250 words) to by May 1, 2021. Please click here for more details.


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