The Nineteenth Century Studies Association (NCSA), formerly known as the Southeastern Nineteenth Century Studies Association, is an interdisciplinary Association for the study of nineteenth-century world cultures. Founded in 1979 as a forum to encourage interdisciplinary exchange, the membership has grown to include scholars whose disciplinary focus ranges from art, architecture, and literature to religious, scientific, and legal writing, to social, political, and economic debate.
A Brief History
The idea for an interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies association, later to develop into the national Nineteenth Century Studies Association (NCSA), dates to 1979, when Sara Putzell of Georgia Tech and Linda Zatlin of Morehouse College began discussions. With additional assistance from Annibel Jenkins of Georgia Tech, Bob Detweiler of Emory University, and an NEH grant, Georgia Tech hosted the first annual conference on May 10, 1980, with Ward Hellstrom of the University of Kentucky as the keynote speaker. The second meeting in Atlanta at Emory University again attracted an NEH grant which helped us to have as principal speakers author Morse Peckham and George Levine (Rutgers University), Avrom Fleishman (Johns Hopkins University), Nina Auerbach (University of Pennsylvania), and Coral Lansbury (Camden College). The 1981 conference introduced the idea of thematic conferences, selecting Heroes and Heroism as the general topic around which papers, sessions, and discussions were oriented. William Scheuerle invited the Southeastern Nineteenth Century Studies Association (SENCSA) to Tampa in 1982 to debate, through scholarly papers and discussion, the issue of Dichotomies (from Rossetti to Darwin), the relationships of art and science, and other ideas stimulated by such concepts as C. P. Snow’s “Two Cultures.” Annually, nineteenth-century scholars have gathered in the spring to present papers and discuss themes ranging from children to Utopianism; from color to propriety; from the ordinary to spectacles; and from the body to visions, dreams, and nightmares.
During the years when the society was a southeastern regional organization, annual meetings were held in various cities throughout the South including Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, Birmingham, Charleston, Lexington (VA and KY), and other sites. In the mid-1980s, discussions began which resulted in the publication in 1987 of the first issue of the society’s scholarly journal, Nineteenth Century Studies, edited for nine years by Suzanne (Edwards) Ozment of The Citadel in Charleston. In 1993, Jadviga M. da Costa Nunes began her series of art exhibition reviews in the journal. Patricia O’Hara of Franklin and Marshall served ably as journal editor for Volumes 10-14, introducing during her tenure a review section on electronic sources for nineteenth-century studies. In 2000, David Hanson of Southeastern Louisiana University was selected Editor.
In the mid 1990s, discussions began regarding the expansion of SENSCA from a regional to a national society, and the name change to NCSA was formally adopted in 1996. After conferences in the Mid-Atlantic region from 1998-2000, NCSA has increasingly attracted national and international scholars. Conference sites for the past two decades have spanned the continental USA. Members’ disciplines include English and American literature, history (including art history and architectural history), music, philosophy, political science, foreign languages and literatures, and other fields. At these annual meetings, and through its scholarly journal, NCSA scholars share interdisciplinary research on selected topics of nineteenth-century studies.
Nineteenth Century Studies
Nineteenth Century Studies is an interdisciplinary journal published annually by the Nineteenth Century Studies Association. The journal is coedited by David Hanson, Department of English, Southeastern Louisiana University; Kim Stern, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Sarah Wadsworth, Department of English, Marquette University; and Jennifer Hayward, Department of English, Wooster College. The journal publishes studies of interest to scholars of the nineteenth century in all humanistic fields. Although our contributors most frequently write on American, British, and Continental topics, we place no geographical limitations on potential contributions. Topics include, but are not limited to, literature, art history, history, music, and the history of science and the social sciences.
At the NCSA Board Meeting in March 2020, NCSA’s Officers, Board of Directors, and Senior Advisory Council agreed to several adjustments to NCSA’s Constitution and By-Laws, regarding modifications to the Conference Organizer section (previously Local Arrangements Director and Program Director) and the addition of a Graduate Committee Chair. Members may read the in-text modifications (highlighted in yellow) to the Constitution and By-Laws by downloading the updated file below. NCSA members will vote on these changes at the March 2021 Business Meeting during this year’s conference.