Deadline for Submissions: 10 January 2023
The Margaret Fuller Society will sponsor two panels at the 34th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association, to be held 25–28 May 2023 at The Westin Copley Place in Boston. Please send 250-word proposals (indicating AV needs), along with brief biographical statements, to Jana Argersinger, First Vice President, at email@example.com. Submissions from graduate students are most welcome.
For conference details, click here (opens in new window).
Foundations for the “World at Large”: Women Authors and Their Homes
“No home can be healthful in which are not cherished seeds of good for the world at large.”— Margaret Fuller, New-York Tribune, 12 December 1844
The Fuller Society invites ideas for a panel that will explore the historic residences of female US authors and leaders of thought. Our author’s childhood home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has for 120 years served as a neighborhood center that provides empowering community services (https://margaretfullerhouse.org/), a mission in close keeping with Fuller’s own commitments—and one that also invites us to study how her contemporaries and inheritors have worked toward antiracist justice in ways her writing only begins to imagine.
What, we would like to ask, are the possible meanings and uses of the former dwelling places of women authors and intellectuals—whether maintained as museums, recognized with historic markers or street names, preserved as National Historic Landmarks and run as active public institutions like the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, held in private ownership, or still standing only in text and memory? How does lack of property rights for married women and people of color in the nineteenth century bear on the matter? What of indigenous and enslaved or formerly enslaved writers for whom habitation could be troubled, impermanent, or simply modeled on a different—non-Western—concept of home?
We welcome proposals from folks associated in any way with an author’s house in any region of the US: directors and staff of houses themselves, members of societies that honor the authors who lived there—or who left only textual traces of home—and others with scholarly interest in the subject. Scholars and society members might team up with house representatives for joint presentations. Indeed, as part of our antiracist work, the Fuller Society is learning how to partner with other author societies and institutions that honor the legacies of nineteenth-century women intellectuals and reformers. Houses of interest include those of Anna Julia Cooper, Charlotte Forten Grimke, Louisa May Alcott, Frances E. W. Harper, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, Jane Addams, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Laura Ingalls Wilder—and of course Margaret Fuller—among numerous others.
- the public-facing work undertaken by historic author houses, and its relation, if any, to the work of the author
- factors influencing whether an author’s house is preserved as such or not
- the work of recovering houses and places associated with women intellectuals, in relation to literary scholarship
- the meanings of home to writers for whom experiences of residence are troubled
- archaeological recoveries associated with enslaved women’s homes or places of refuge
- threats to home and neighborhood (e.g., Africatown, Alabama, and its preservation foundation)
- the diversity of forms that habitation can take, and how that can inform, enable, or inhibit writers’ work (e.g., boardinghouses, shelters, asylums, orphanages)
- personal places of residence memorialized in authors’ texts, whether treated autobiographically or fictionally
Original image was contributed to Wikimedia Commons by Boston Public Library as part of a cooperation project. The donation was facilitated by the Digital Public Library of America, via its partner Digital Commonwealth. DPLA identifier: 11f2d8aa0c9e86a401387524f30f986aBoston Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98785749