King's English Professor speaks at international and interdisciplinary conference on solitude
August 18, 2015
King's Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Coby Dowdell, was invited speaker at Cultures of Solitude: Representations of Hermits and Recluses, an international and interdisciplinary Conference at the University of Würzburg, Germany (30-31 July 2015), where he presented a paper titled “Rethinking Ascetic Deferral in an Age of Deliberative Democracy.” In speaking specifically about traditions of urban asceticism during the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, Dr. Dowdell highlighted the extent to which the hermit's isolation from society is primarily epistemological rather than spatial in nature. Through a consideration of late eighteenth-century discourses of coquetry, contemporary accounts of female hermits, and Locke's notions of consent and passive power, Dr. Dowdell considered the relevance of the hermit’s characteristic epistemology for single women negotiating the fraught economy of the marriage market.
Dr. Dowdell teaches courses in eighteenth-century British literature, narrative theory, and psychology and literature. Most recently, he has published papers on asceticism and hermitic culture in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Early American Literature, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. Dr. Dowdell is the winner of the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS)/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award (2010) for his work on asceticism and political crisis during the eighteenth century.