Monthly Archives: January 2016

New Book: Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-century American Letters and Letter-Writing

The Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing

Edited by Celeste-Marie Bernier and Judie Newman
Edited by Matthew Pethers

Published by Edinburgh University Press

This comprehensive study by leading scholars in an important new field – the history of letters and letter writing – is essential reading for anyone interested in nineteenth-century American politics, history or literature. Because of its mass literacy, population mobility, and extensive postal system, nineteenth-century America is a crucial site for the exploration of letters and their meanings, whether they be written by presidents and statesmen, scientists and philosophers, novelists and poets, feminists and reformers, immigrants, Native Americans, or African Americans. This book breaks new ground by mapping the voluminous correspondence of these figures and other important American writers and thinkers. Rather than treating the letter as a spontaneous private document, the contributors understand it as a self-conscious artefact, circulating between friends and strangers and across multiple genres in ways that both make and break social ties.

New Book: Writing for Justice: Victor Séjour, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, and the Age of Transatlantic Emancipations

Transatlantic Emancipations (Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies) Paperback – November 3, 2015


In Writing for Justice, Elèna Mortara presents a richly layered study of the cultural and intellectual atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, through close readings of the life and work of Victor Séjour, an expat American Creole from New Orleans living in Paris. In addition to writing The Mulatto, an early story on slavery in Saint-Domingue, Séjour penned La Tireuse de cartes (The Fortune-Teller, 1859), a popular play based on the famed Mortara case. In this historical incident, Pope Pius IX kidnapped Edgardo Mortara, the child of a Jewish family living in the Papal States. The details of the play’s production—and its reception on both sides of the Atlantic—are intertwined with the events of the Italian Risorgimento and of pre–Civil War America. Writing for Justice is full of surprising encounters with French and American writers and historical figures, including Hugo, Hawthorne, Twain, Napoleon III, Garibaldi, and Lincoln. As Elèna Mortara passionately argues, the enormous amount of public attention received by the case reveals an era of underappreciated transatlantic intellectual exchange, in which an African American writer used notions of emancipation in religious as well as racial terms, linking the plight of blacks in America to that of Jews in Europe, and to the larger battles for freedom and nationhood advancing across the continent.
This book will appeal both to general readers and to scholars, including historians, literary critics, and specialists in African American studies, Jewish, Catholic, or religious studies, multilingual American literature, francophone literature, theatrical life, nineteenth-century European politics, and cross-cultural encounters.

New Book: New World Courtships: Transatlantic Alternatives to Companionate Marriage

New World Courtships: Transatlantic Alternatives to Companionate Marriage (Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies) Paperback – November 3, 2015

Feminist literary critics have long recognized that the novel’s marriage plot can shape the lives of women readers; however, they have largely traced the effects of this influence through a monolithic understanding of marriage. New World Courtships is the first scholarly study to recover a geographically diverse array of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels that actively compare marriage practices from the Atlantic world. These texts trouble Enlightenment claims that companionate marriage leads to women’s progress by comparing alternative systems for arranging marriage and sexual relations in the Americas. Attending to representations of marital diversity in early transatlantic novels disrupts nation-based accounts of the rise of the novel and its relation to “the” marriage plot. It also illuminates how and why cultural differences in marriage mattered in the Atlantic world—and shows how these differences might help us to reimagine marital diversity today.

This book will appeal to scholars of literature, women’s studies, and early American history.

New Book: Transatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Revolution: An International History of Anti-slavery, c.1787-1820

Transatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Revolution offers a fresh exploration of anti-slavery debates in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It challenges traditional perceptions of early anti-slavery activity as an entirely parochial British, European or American affair, and instead reframes the abolition movement as a broad international network of activists across a range of metropolitan centres and remote outposts. Interdisciplinary in approach, this book explores the dynamics of transatlantic abolitionism, along with its structure, mechanisms and business methods, and in doing so, highlights the delicate balance that existed between national and international interests in an age of massive political upheaval throughout the Atlantic world. By setting slave trade debates within a wider international context, Professor Oldfield reveals how popular abolitionism emerged as a political force in the 1780s, and how it adapted itself to the tumultuous events of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


Conference: Romanticism on Edge / Edgy Romanticism’ – a one day symposium on 9th April 2016

‘Romanticism on Edge / Edgy Romanticism’ – a one day symposium on 9th April 2016

full name / name of organization:
Dr Andrew McInnes, Edge Hill University
contact email:

The traditional boundaries of Romanticism – six male poets; the definite articles of Romantic image, imagination and ideology; an implicit focus on Englishness – have been comprehensively contested to transform the discipline into the study of Romanticisms, including novels, plays, polemic, periodicals and print culture alongside a widening canon of poetry; questioning the ideology of the Romantic Ideology; and expanding borders spatially, to include Four Nations, archipelagic, Europe-wide, transatlantic and postcolonial approaches, and temporally, beyond the 1790s and early nineteenth century to imagine a Romantic century running from ca. 1750-1850.

This one-day symposium, hosted by Romanticism @ Edge Hill University, asks: where are the edges of Romanticism now? How do we define the boundaries of the discipline today? What is happening at the edges and borders of Romanticism, whether that be in the margins of the page; inscribed on the body, at nervous, physical or psychological limits; regionally – broadly defined – away from the metropolitan centre; or aesthetically, at the avant garde?

Proposals for individual papers, panels of 3 speakers and a chair, or innovative presentation formats, are invited on the following topics (although they are certainly not limited to them):

– Romanticism and changing conceptions of canonicity, spatiality and / or temporality
– shifting definitions of genre and generic boundaries
– Romanticism on the edges of the page
– the nervous Romantic body
– regional, archipelagic, transatlantic, or postcolonial Romanticisms and their borders
– Romanticism and the avant garde
– the limits of Romanticism

Please submit abstracts of 250 words for individual papers, or panel proposals / innovative presentation formats of 500 words (including a brief introduction and details of each paper), along with a short biography of presenters, to by 29th February 2016.

There is an opportunity for selected papers from the symposium to be revised for a special edition of the journal Romanticism.

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Nick Groom, University of Exeter

Dr. Susan Civale, Canterbury Christ Church University

Conference: “Flows and Undercurrents: Dimensions of (Im)mobility in North America”, June 2-4, 2016 [Deadline: February 7, 2016]

“Flows and Undercurrents: Dimensions of (Im)mobility in North America”, June 2-4, 2016 [Deadline: February 7, 2016]

full name / name of organization:
Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
contact email:

From lived realities to theoretical discourses, issues of mobility are at the core of many contemporary debates both within North America and globally. (Im)mobility transcends disciplinary boundaries and topics, generating disparate perspectives surrounding movements of people, capital and ideas. Migration, in particular, has become the focus of much recent analytical attention. As movements of people continue to gain focus, practices of immobility and exclusion are underscored.

This conference, hosted by the Graduate School of North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, will examine mobility and explore its relevance across numerous disciplines. How is mobility framed in various discourses? How does mobility manifest itself in the context of North America and transnationally? What are the determinants and barriers to mobility in its various iterations? What are the counternarratives to notions of mobility? What kinds of analysis are opened up through the lens of (im)mobility?

We welcome abstracts from graduate (M.A. and Ph.D.) students, post-docs and other scholars of political science, economics, literature, cultural studies, sociology and history as well as related fields. Papers may explore, but are not limited to, the concept of mobility in the following contexts:

-Im)mobility as a spatial, historical and conceptual phenomenon
-Immigration, migration, refugees
-Transatlantic and transnational movements
-Travel culture, tourism and travel narratives
-Transportation and communication infrastructures
-Illegal movements of goods and people
-Flows of labor, currency, capital and investments
-Urban and rural mobility and transformation
-Race, class, gender mobility
-Socio-economic mobility
-Movement of ideas
-Militarism and prison systems as mobilizing/immobilizing
-Censorship and hidden forms of cultural mobility
-Translation and interstitial spaces
-Manifestations of mobility across various media

Abstracts should be limited to 300 words and be accompanied by the author’s name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation, discipline(s) and a short CV. The deadline for submissions is February 7, 2016. A confirmation e-mail will be sent upon receipt of your abstract. Those selected to present will be notified by late February 2016. Please submit all abstracts and questions to:

The conference will be held in English.

Call for Proposals: NACBS November 11-13

NACBS November 11-13: Call for Proposals

full name / name of organization:
The North American Conference for British Studies
contact email:

Call for Presenters: The North American Conference for British Studies

Where: Washington, D.C.

When: November 11-13, 2016

Abstract due: January 30, 2016

Panel Topic: The Eighteenth-Century Transatlantic Britain

As part of the NACBS protocol, I’m soliciting for paper proposals to be submitted as a full panel to this year’s conference in Washington. The panel will give focus to new scholarship on transatlantic Britain in the eighteenth century. As it strives to be interdisciplinary, scholars from all fields may submit an abstract.

The eighteenth-century British Atlantic is a dynamic space and time, when the formation of the modern world evolved though colonization, displacement, enslavement, and revolution. In understanding the British metropole in the eighteenth century, it is important to contextualize it by the flows and counterflows generated by its trade and social networks with its North American and Caribbean colonies. The following topics will be of special interest to the formation of this panel:

• Piracy and Privateering
• The Rise of the Novel
• Slavery and Emancipation
• Hemispheric Connections
• Revolutions (American, Haitian)
• Empire and the Social Imagination
• Commercial Trade, Consumable Goods (coffee, tea, chocolate)
• Commercial Trade, Non-consumable Goods (Mahogany)
• Plantation Life
• Art and Architecture
• Medical Discourse and Sciences

This is just a brief listing of possible topics, and by no means excludes other paper proposals related to the eighteenth-century Transatlantic Britain.

For more information or to send your 250-300 word abstracts, please email Victoria Barnett-Woods at Abstract deadline is January 30th, 2016. You will be informed of your acceptance by February 12th. Should your paper be selected for this panel, it will then be forwarded to the NACBS committee members as a part of a full panel proposal. Unfortunately, your acceptance in the panel does not guarantee your acceptance into the conference. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Conference: Border Crossings:Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific (5–8 July 2017))

Border Crossings:Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific (5–8 July 2017))

full name / name of organization:
Society for the Study of American Women Writers and Université Bordeaux Montaigne
contact email:

Border Crossings:Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific

Society for the Study of American Women Writers & Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Dates: 5th – 8th July 2017

Venue: Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France

Conference director: Stéphanie Durrans

To maintain a continuity with our previous conference (in Philadelphia, November 2015) on liminality and hybrid lives, we would like this first SSAWW conference in Europe to address the significance of “border crossing[s]” in the lives and works of American women writers.

Such experiences have always been important to American women. Early diaries and travel notes left by 17th– and 18th-century women provide us with valuable records of and about their migratory experience to the New World and their lives and experiences in America. Besides offering more records of such experiences, the 19th century also witnessed an explosion in travel writing, fiction, and poetry treating with travel, as growing numbers of American women writers could afford to travel across Europe and more widely. Throughout the 20th century, more American women writers found in foreign lands a source of inspiration and creativity (e.g. Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Kay Boyle, and Djuna Barnes in France, Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil, Katherine Anne Porter in Mexico) and some of them even made the choice to write from abroad. Meanwhile, women writers originating from other countries drew on their first-hand experience of migration, border-crossing, and uprooting to add to the growing canon of American literature (e.g. Jumpa Lahiri, Bharati Mukherjee, Shirley Geok-lin Lim).

No study of border-crossing can afford to neglect the rich mine of writing contributed by Chicana writers throughout the 20th century. As pointed out by Carmen Tafolla, “[Chicanos] did not cross the border; the border crossed [them].” This was also true of many other women, moving into or across America. From such a perspective, crossing borders lends itself to the most radical strategies of subversion and defamiliarization. Last but not least, such writers as Toni Morrison explored the darker side of border-crossing by seeking to express and represent the trauma of the Middle Passage for whole generations of Africans, and the multiple dilemmas facing African American women down the decades.

The conference theme invites participants to explore the broad spectrum of possibilities generated by such cross-cultural interactions, as well as the challenge consequently posed to literary canons. How has this experience affected women writers’ worldview and conception of language? To what extent do their modes of exploration differ from that of their male counterparts? How important were such contacts in allowing women writers to develop a consciousness of otherness and/or forge a community of feeling and experience transcending national and/or cultural barriers? “Chroniclers bind the inner and outward history of isolated humanity, but travellers connect all humanity together,” stated Grace King in one of the first entries to her diary. More often than not, indeed, geographical borders assume an ontological dimension, and crossing them amounts to an exploration of the self as much as to a confrontation with otherness.

Crossings have always involved a necessary stage of transition, transformation, and consequent redefinition of the self that questions the very stability and permanence traditionally associated with women’s conventionalized roles. Thus we are very happy to consider writers using the idea of border crossing and travel symbolically or metaphorically as well as literally: early female travellers, explorers, and adventurers crossed borders in more ways than one, often by transgressing gender expectations, using this experience or awareness to reshape the conventions of many genres. One might also approach the topic by focusing on what happens when literary works cross national borders to reach foreign readers in translation. In this respect, translation studies and studies of American women writers’ reception abroad constitute another potentially fruitful arena.

As a multiethnic, multilingual society, the U.S. undoubtedly provides fertile terrain for the development of a transnational consciousness that will be pivotal to our questioning on the topic. Possible approaches to the conference theme may include but are not limited to such keywords and ideas as:

Women writers and travel writing
The migratory experience
Expatriate American women writers
Expatriate women writers in Paris
The Lost Generation
Redefining the national canon
Transatlantic studies
Transcontinental/Transpacific/Transatlantic literary relationships
Geographical borders/ontological issues
Representations of otherness
Cross-cultural interactions
Cross-linguistic perceptions/living between two languages
Women and frontier experiences
Translation studies
American women writers’ reception in foreign countries
Women writers’ reception in America and Europe

Submission Instructions
Deadline: August 31, 2016 (Individual Papers)

Submissions are electronic. Submit individual proposals and completed panel proposals to both attached in Word or rtf, and pasted into the body of the message.

The conference organizers welcome and encourage complete session submissions as well as individual paper abstract submissions. Affiliate associations and regional groups should follow the submission guidelines for complete session submissions.

Conference participants may appear on the program twice as presenters: once on a panel presenting a formal academic paper, and once in an additional way (for example, on a roundtable, as a respondent, or in a “professionalization” session).