SF State’s English Language and Literature Department hosted the 33rd annual Interdisciplinary 19th-Century Studies (INCS) conference, attracting 300 scholars from 120 institutions nationwide as well as 20 international presenters from 10 countries. It was held March 1 – March 4 at San Francisco’s Hotel Whitcomb, a perfect venue that matched the conference of “Serials, Cycles, and Suspensions” because of its Victorian architecture.
The conference opened with the naming of the Richard Stein Essay prize, in honor of INCS founder Richard Stein. The INCS committee chose to host this year’s event in San Francisco because it is a city known for its “vivid Victorian buildings (painted in serial layers over decades), its dramatic suspension bridges and from the Gold Rush to today’s cryptocurrencies, its vigorous boom-and-bust cycles,” as stated in the conference program.
The panel sessions had a variety of paper selections from faculty and graduate students, as well as breakout plenary sessions and two keynote talks. On March 2, Shelley Fisher Fishkin’s “Listening to Silence, Seeing Absence: The Challenge of Reconstructing Chinese Railroad Workers’ Lives” and Barbara Voss’ “Material Traces, Transnational Spaces: The Archaeology of Chinese Railroad Workers in China and the United States” offered insights into the Chinese Railroad Workers project.
On March 3, Professor Beverly Voloshin introduced Catherine Gallagher’s keynote, “A Tale of Two Cities, or The History of Revenge,” while INCS 2018 lead event organizer, Associate Professor Sara Hackenberg, moderated the question and answer sessions.
Later that evening, SF State quartet-in-residence the Alexander String Quartet performed and discussed “Beethoven’s String Quartet Cycle: A Musical Diary for Posterity.”
— Ufuoma Umusu
Photo by Ufuoma Umusu