The DRC is based in the Departments of English and Creative Writing and Theatre and Performance. It is home to the interdisciplinary online journal, Volupté, and the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS), providing intellectual anchorage for an international community of decadence scholars.
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Decadence has different meanings depending on context. The moral conception of decadence relates mainly to personal behaviour (hedonism, over-indulgence, ‘sinfulness’, etc.); the historical conception focuses on imperial decline (Rome is not the only empire to have ‘fallen’); the philosophical conception involves questions of both morality and history (as in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche); the social conception considers the moral, historical, and philosophical issues that arise with the development of modernity in the nineteenth century (growth of cities, technological progress, emergence of the bourgeoisie, etc.); the cultural conception includes literary and artistic responses to all of the foregoing moral, historical, philosophical, and social developments. Such responses may have begun in the nineteenth century with seminal decadent figures like Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde, but cultures of decadence continue—in one form or another—to this day.
Studies of decadence extend beyond the nineteenth-century European tradition to transnational cultures of decadence, such as the 'Dekadanlar' controversy in the Ottoman Empire during the 1890s to Japan’s twentieth-century ‘Schools of Decadence’. Connections between contemporary and historical decadence and other fields of research currently thrive across the arts and humanities, including gender and sexuality studies, queer theory and radical feminisms.
Our researchers explore the field of decadence in the broadest sense, from the perspective of various cultures and multiple disciplines, from antiquity to the present day. We embrace the field’s increasing internationalism and interdisciplinarity, cutting across literature, visual art, theatre, dance, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, political science, live art, spoken word, and music.
The Decadence Research Centre at Goldsmiths University is based in the Departments of English and Creative Writing and Theatre and Performance. It is home to the interdisciplinary online journal, Volupté, and the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS), providing intellectual anchorage for an international community of scholars and a platform for events, international research collaborations, and funding bids. We run an exciting schedule of events each year, ranging from academic conferences and seminars to salon-style talks and club nights. Current projects are funded by ACE, AHRC, and ESSE.
The Centre’s aims are:
- to be a world-leading centre for research in decadence studies
- to involve a diverse cohort of scholars at PhD and postdoctoral level
- to engage with the widest possible demographic
- to pioneer research projects with external funders and partners
- to bring together academics, creators, and performers in order to explore the transcultural, transnational, and translational phenomenon of decadence
Goldsmiths is part of the CHASE AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership. We welcome proposals for MPhil/PhD or post-doctoral research and from externally funded researchers who would benefit from being associated with the DRC, its resources and networks. Enquiries should be directed to Professor Jane Desmarais.