The keynote speaker for VI 2016 is Alison Byerly. As a Victorianist, Professor Byerly has authored numerous scholarly works including Realism, Representation, and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Cambridge UP, 1998) and Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism (U Michigan P, 2013). Formerly provost and executive Vice President at Middlebury College, since 2013 Byerly has served as President of Lafayette College in Easton, PA.
Dr. Byerly’s keynote lecture is titled Victorian STEAM to Digital Humanities: Mediations of Art and Technology. Why were the Victorians obsessed with the aesthetics of technology? How does the development of Victorian art reflect the rapid pace of technological change in the period? How do today’s academic disciplines respond to Victorian conceptualizations of the proper relationship between art and science? The contemporary discourse of “STEAM” valorizes the role of arts and humanities at a time when science, technology, engineering and math seem to dominate the disciplines. At the same time, this talk will suggest, it engages a continuing dialogue between art and technology as parallel forms of mediating reality, a dialogue that has its origins in the nineteenth century.