“Unprecedented Disruptions”: Special Issue of Nineteenth-Century Contexts

Due Date: 03-01-2021

Academia was already “in crisis” when we hit 2020, a year of disruption, anxiety, and uncomfortable self-reflection. A global pandemic forced us back into our homes at the very moment Black Lives Matter demanded that we take to the streets. These twinned events gave us occasion to reflect on our pedagogy and research goals and our intellectual commitment to studying the nineteenth century as we were roiled by a forced reengagement with some of the most regressive aspects of the twenty-first.

This issue of Nineteenth-Century Contexts is devoted to the disruptions and dislocations of 2020, and also to the possibility that this moment may offer an opportunity to rebuild our fields of study. We invite short essays in the personal voice (2,000–4,000 words) that reflect and engage with our teaching and research at this moment of crisis and reinvention.

We encourage contributors to address a wide range of pedagogical and ethical issues related to inclusivity, diversity, and the (ir)relevance of nineteenth-century studies in “this moment”:

  • Synchronicity: the challenges of remote learning
  • Does remote instruction exacerbate racial inequalities?
  • Confronting pandemic denial and racism in the classroom
  • Rethinking traditional disciplines in response to Black Lives Matter
  • Can nineteenth-century legacies illuminate current uncertainties?
  • Nineteenth-century upheavals and unrest: lessons for today
  • Academic doomscrolling
  • “Abundance of Caution”
  • “No Words”
  • F2F
  • Zoom apnea
  • “I think you’re muted”

We especially welcome contributors from diverse backgrounds and career stages, including graduate students, contingent faculty members, and independent scholars.

Deadline for article submissions: 1 March 2021. The special issue will appear fall 2021.

For more information about the journal, please see To submit your essay, send a MS Word document and brief cover note to George Robb ( and Narin Hassan ( with the subject heading “Unprecedented Disruptions.” Feel free to contact them with questions.