On October 5th, 2017, the 18/19 Graduate Reading Group at CU Boulder hosted our first event of the year: a research colloquium featuring Evan Gottlieb of Oregon State University alongside our own Rebecca Schneider and Paul Youngquist. Our group has moved to this new panel-style model (as opposed to the individual 40-minute talk) over the past year for a couple of reasons: it gives our graduate students the opportunity to present their research alongside faculty, and the diversity of topics attracts a larger audience. Using the same model, I presented my work on Romantic harlequinades alongside Thora Brylowe and Julia Carlson back in April, and it went so well that we decided to do it again with Evan, Rebecca, and Paul! Stay tuned for more events of this type.
Our theme for the 10/5 colloquium was “Territory, Narrative, Causality: Rethinking Romanticism’s Disciplinary Assumptions,” and in retrospect a better theme might have been “negative knowledge.” In asking the audience to rethink the perspectives and methods from which we traditionally approach Romanticism, each panelist showed us how we might glean knowledge of the period from what isn’t in available archives: we can read against the intended purpose of what’s there in order to reveal something else. This approach works especially well for those Romantic-era voices, especially the enslaved, who were prevented from recording themselves in print and other available media.