Victoria Wiet is a PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature and a specialist in nineteenth-century British literature and theatre. Her dissertation, “Eccentric Conduct: Theatre and the Pleasures of Victorian Fiction,” demonstrates how the ubiquity of theatergoing and theatrical culture in Victorian life helped make the term “conduct” central to Victorian thinking about sexuality. Associated with transgressive practices such as cross-dressing, cruising and women’s sexual willfulness, theatre provided the Victorian novel with both formal strategies and narrative content for representing pleasures dissociated from the hierarchical order of the reproductive home. Combining literary analysis with extensive archival research, this project has been supported by grants from Harvard’s Houghton Library and the Columbia-Glasgow Research Exchange and received the Midwestern Victorian Studies Association’s Walter L. Arnstein Prize for Dissertation Research in 2018.
A fundamentally interdisciplinary thinker and teacher, Victoria served as 2015-2016 Graduate Fellow at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality and is currently a Core Preceptor for Contemporary Civilization, a survey of Western civic and social thought that has incidentally provided her with a conceptual framework for theorizing conduct. As an IRWGS graduate fellow as well as Lead Teaching Fellow and Senior Lead Teaching Fellow at the Center for Teaching and Learning, she has fostered interdisciplinary dialogue about teaching and provided support for graduate students pursuing interdisciplinary scholarship. Victoria’s own teaching has focused on theoretical and interdisciplinary approaches to gender and sexuality, as illustrated by her participation in the Gender and Sexuality working group for University Writing and teaching assistantship for Barnard’s Introduction to Women and Gender Studies course.
Though committed to historical methods, Victoria’s teaching and writing also finds value in moving beyond traditional periodization in order to take a more capacious view of the history of gender and sexuality. Her Teaching Scholars seminar “Melodrama: Race, Gender, Sexuality, 1850-present” combined Victorian melodrama, classic Hollywood cinema and Mad Men. She has also written about David Bowie for Public Books and Tate Britain’s “Queer British Art, 1861-1967” special exhibition for Politics/Letters. She credits her dedication to interdisciplinary and transhistorical work to her training at Brandeis University, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2011 with a major in English (Highest Honors) and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.
19th-century British literature, performance studies, gender and sexuality studies