The Nineteenth Society is an interdisciplinary research group, sponsored by the Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies, that facilitates dialogue about the nineteenth century among faculty and students at Wheaton College and the Chicagoland area.
The Nineteenth Society fosters collaboration and exchange among the numerous faculty members whose teaching and research interests converge on the nineteenth century—in England, the U.S., and beyond.
The group hosts casual conversations over meals (or, more time period appropriate, tea), discussions of readings of broad importance, and more formal events at which a college community member or campus visitor presents recent research.
After hearing a guest lecturer comment on how fortunate Wheaton was to have so many scholars working on nineteenth century studies, Jeffrey Barbeau, a professor of theology, was struck by the idea to start a faculty colloquium.
"It was like a light bulb went off. I always knew that we had a long history scholarship in this field here at Wheaton," Barbeau said. "But when I started to count the number of faculty who write and teach in the period, I was simply astounded." Barbeau shared his idea with Richard Gibson, a professor in the English department at Wheaton, who shared his enthusiasm. And thus began the Nineteenth Society.