Margaret Fuller Panel at ASA

Margaret Fuller scholars and society members will be at the American Studies Association conference this weekend in Chicago, IL.

Margaret Fuller’s Politics of Dissent

Sat, November 11, 8:00 to 9:45am, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Burnham, Third Floor West Tower

Chair: Sonia Di Loreto (University of Torino, Italy)

Panelists:

William Bond (Northeastern University)

Dorri Beam (Syracuse University)

Johnatan D. Fitzgerald (Northeastern University)

Sarah Payne (Northeastern University)

Abstract

In the light of this year’s theme, “Pedagogies of Dissent”, for ASA 2017 we would like to propose a round-table on the conjuncture of politics, intellectual activity, and education in the work of Margaret Fuller and some of her friends and collaborators (especially Giuseppe Mazzini and Cristina di Belgiojoso) in the revolutionary Europe of the 1840s.

Centering the roundtable on our collaborative, multilingual Digital Humanities project, the Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive, we would like to address the intellectual genealogies of revolutionary thought. These intellectual networks of exchange became visible in our research and in the construction of the archive. By portraying networks and clusters of publications involving Margaret Fuller and some of her correspondents in Europe, the archive helps to uncover how the intellectual militancy of these public figures was deeply invested in creating oppositional pedagogies. We will concentrate on specific articles published in the People’s Journal (London) in 1847 and in the New York Tribune in 1847-50, to reflect on educational models outside of well established educational institutions, such as, for example, Mazzini’s evening school for Italian boys founded in London in 1841, as well as Fuller’s observation that educational opportunities in England are increasingly “extended to girls,” as she writes, they “ought to be.”

While focusing on Fuller’s role in the exchange and circulation of revolutionary theory in mid-nineteenth-century Europe, we also aim to engage with Fuller’s transformation of genre-conventions in her letters to the Tribune. In particular, we will be examining Fuller’s breaking with the conventions of travel-writing and with the politics and aesthetics of landscape- writing in her accounts of travelling through Europe. In so doing, it is possible to consider Fuller a forerunner to the genre that would come to be called literary journalism.

We also intend to discuss different possibilities offered by digital platforms and archives, since the digital format is ideally suited to document, map, and visualize the scope and significance of networks across politically contested space and through time. Added to this, the digital platform decentralizes modern scholarship, reaching scholars who work in the U.S. and in Europe, as well as elsewhere. By using the collaborative and inclusive nature of our project (a transnational archive where scholars from different countries, and at different stages of their career work together), we would also like to engage in new models of political pedagogies, outside of national borders and institutional limitations.

Thank you to Sonia Di Loreto for providing the information for this post!

Image via TripAdvisor

Fullerians at SSAWW in Bordeaux

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The Place de la Bourse at night

This post was written by Margaret Fuller Society First Vice President and contributing author Charlene Avallone. 

Conference director Stéphanie Durrans and her coworkers welcomed us this July to the Université Bordeaux Montaigne for the first international conference organized by the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, a gathering characterized by the hospitality and intellectual stimulation traditionally associated with the host nation.  Not surprisingly, Margaret Fuller was much in evidence–for among American writers, Fuller stands out as paradigmatic of the conference theme: Border Crossings.

Notorious in her own time for transgressing and confounding boundaries in her life and work, Fuller remains recognized for transcending confines.  She evaded restrictions on education and library access, preparing herself for an exceptional career that amalgamated roles as educator, public intellectual, translator, journalist, frontier and transnational travel writer, and theorist of (trans)gender.  Born into New England elite, she represented causes of immigrants and the poor and championed claims of human rights against state and social constraints.  A female pioneer in transnational cultural and political journalism, Fuller explored the possibilities of literary and political connections in her European travels.  Her writings, now issued in several nations and languages, often blur conventional boundaries between oral/literary discourse, male/female spheres, or popular/high genres of literature and philosophy.

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Panelists on the roundtable sponsored by the Fuller Society highlighted this liminal figure, examining:  Fuller’s literal and political translations of European writers (Kathleen Lawrence); her redefinition in her pedagogy and literary canon of the boundaries between women’s conversational culture/Socratic dialogue and imitative/original learning and writing (Christa Vogelius); her participation in multilingual epistolary networks that cross national, ideological, private/public, and genre boundaries (Sonia Di Loreto); her transformation of nationalist travelogue through her transatlantic reading and travel, deviation from normative masculine perspectives, and translation (Brigitte Bailey); and transnational reception history of her life and work (Marina Kizima).

On another panel, speakers analyzed Fuller’s self-conscious rhetorical strategies of revisioning as she confronted changing national borderlines and internal divisions, including over slavery (Mollie Barnes), and directed attention from Fuller’s connection to socialism to consideration of her thinking about property and its relation to revolution (Abigail Fagan). Together, they conveyed a nuanced sense of Fuller’s journalistic negotiations with radical political positions.

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The panel, 19th-Century Women Crossing Borders between Literature, Science, Politics and Welfare Issues: Margaret Jay Jessee, Abigail Fagan, and Mollie Barnes
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Many thanks to Brigitte Bailey (left, next to Sonia Di Loreto) for providing photos from the event!

12th Annual Sweet Soul Supper

This post was written by Margaret Fuller Society member and contributing author Michael Schrimper, who also provided the photos from the event.

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MIT’s Morss Hall, decorated for the event

On the evening of Thursday, June 15, the President of the Margaret Fuller Society, Phyllis Cole, was joined by three society members, Leslie Eckel, Megan Marshall, and Michael Schrimper, for the Twelfth Annual Sweet Soul Supper, held to benefit the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House of Cambridge. The event took place at MIT’s Morss Hall, featured live music, a silent auction, and a buffet.

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Phyllis Cole introduces Ellen Semonoff, winner of the Inaugural Margaret Fuller Women’s Leadership Award. Since the evening was packed with awards and speeches, Cole shared only one Margaret Fuller quote with the audience during her introduction, “If you ask me what offices [women] may fill, I reply–any….Let them be sea-captains, if you will.” Cole then pointed out that Ellen Semonoff hasn’t been a sea-captain, but instead a leader in responding to the needs of others–a vocation in fact closer to Margaret Fuller’s heart.
Halfway through the event, Phyllis Cole presented Ellen Semonoff with the Inaugural Margaret Fuller Women’s Leadership Award, for Semonoff’s lifelong contributions to the public. Semonoff has been Cambridge’s Assistant City Manager for Human Services; she leads a staff of 600 in providing child care, family support, youth programs, workforce development, adult basic education, recreation, fuel and nutrition assistance, homeless programs, and services to the elderly and disabled. She started her career as a lawyer in Washington, working as an assistant to Joseph Califano in Heath, Education, and Welfare and a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Semonoff was selected by the Margaret Fuller House for her contributions, and the House asked Cole to present the award in honor of Fuller, whose advocacy of women’s leadership they were also recognizing. Following Cole’s introduction, Semonoff received a standing ovation from the whole house.

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From left to right: Leslie Eckel, Michael Schrimper, Phyllis Cole, and Megan Marshall smile for a photo after enjoying a buffet of soul food. Dishes served include stuffed chicken breasts, roast beef, macaroni and cheese, and fried plantains. The silent auction featured a chance to bid on ice-cream-making sessions at a popular Cambridge ice cream shop and a session with a personal trainer at a Cambridge fitness center, among other items.

Michael Schrimper teaches in the Writing, Literature & Publishing department at Emerson College in Boston.

Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive

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A textual map of Fuller’s writings in the Tribune

The Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive is a digital humanities project housed in Northeastern University’s NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks (NULabTMN). The aim of the project is to digitally map networks of publication involving Margaret Fuller and the circles of European and American political and cultural figures, including Horace Greeley, and Giuseppe Mazzini and Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso with whom she came into contact during the years 1846-1850, when she lived in Europe.

Between 1846 and 1850, Margaret Fuller was a foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune, based at different times in Italy, France and England. The archive collects all of Fuller’s Tribune correspondence written between August 1846 and January 1850, as well as the Tribune Correspondence of Christina di Belgiojoso from 1850 and 1851. Browse the archive here.

Using Neatline exhibits, the creators have been able to spatially and temporally visualize both Margaret Fuller’s and Cristina Belgiojoso’s travels and writing. The textual and geographic maps demonstrate broader trajectories of writing to highlighting specific texts in conjunction with contemporary social and political events. View the travel and writing maps here.

Many thanks to Sonia Di Loreto, William Bond, and Sarah Payne for presenting this work at the ALA 2017 Conference.

Project Team & Advisory Board

Sonia Di Loreto, Università di Torino (Italy)

Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Northeastern University

Ryan Cordell, Northeastern University

Molly O’Hagan Hardy, Director of Digital and Book History Initiatives, AAS

William Bond, PhD student, Norheastern University

Sarah Payne, PhD student, Northeastern University

Leslie Eckel, Suffolk University

Noelle A. Baker, independent scholar

Margaret Fuller Society Celebrates 25 Years

IMG_20170527_162010“I remembered how, a little child, I had stopped myself one day on the stairs, and asked, how came I here? How is it that I seem to be this Margaret Fuller? What does it mean? What shall I do about it?” — Margaret Fuller

In celebration of the society’s 25th Anniversary, society members gathered at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House on Saturday, May 27. Margaret Fuller Society President Phyllis Cole began our meeting up the stairs in the Margaret Fuller House reading attendees this quotation from Fuller’s reflections on her childhood. Members who gathered in Boston for the American Literature Association 2017 annual conference traveled by bus to Fuller’s birth home, now a community center, on 71 Cherry Street in Cambridge, MA. We climbed the those same stairs that Fuller herself had stopped on many years ago, and celebrated the life and work of Margaret Fuller as well as the tremendous community support the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House provides today.

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The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (MFNH) offers emergency food services to 16,000 unique individuals each year. Serving approximately 300 people a day, the work of 25 volunteers each morning is invaluable to the local Port community. The House also provides nurturing and educational child and teen programs in partnership with local schools to foster the social and emotional development of youth in need. It was delightful to hear the voices of children playing outside and in the house throughout the afternoon we spent with Christina Alexis, the Executive Director on the left in the photo above.

IMG_20170527_162620The MFNH has a community advancement program that works to build community and provide education, resources, and information to help lift individuals out of poverty and become successful and self-sustaining. Using their Margaret Fuller Method, a holistic model made up of four interconnected pillars, their mission is to strengthen and empower individuals of all ages and to address the economic, social, and political inequities that shape the lives and futures of Port residents. Make a donation.

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ALA 2017 Conference & the 25th Anniversary of the Society

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Yoshiko Ito presents at ALA 2017

We gathered in Boston, MA for the American Literature Association 2017 conference May 25-28, where the Margaret Fuller Society organized two panels and celebrated its 25th Anniversary. On Thursday, Wesley Mott presented “‘Testifying of that Unseen World within’: ‘The Dial’ and Transcendentalist Music Criticism” on a “Musical Intelligence in Antebellum Boston” panel.

On Friday, the first of the Fuller Society panels, “Presenting Margaret Fuller I: Touring, Film, and Digital Humanities,” was chaired by First Vice President Charlene Avallone. Reverend Jenny Rankin discussed her walks “On the Road in Fuller’s Footsteps” in Italy. Fuller Society Board Member Sonia Di Loreto, with William Bond and Sarah Payne, presented their Digital Humanities project and incredibly useful teaching tool, The Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive, which you can read more about here. Finally, Jonathan Schwartz presented a preview of a documentary film on Margaret Fuller. Many members who participated in the film making were present. Fuller Society President Phyllis Cole moderated a Ralph Waldo Emerson Society panel in the afternoon called “Beautiful Foes: A Roundtable Discussion of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Affiliations with Women,” on which Sarah Ann Wider, Kate Culkin, Fuller Society Treasurer Noelle Baker, Christopher Hanlon, and Andrea Knutson presented.

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Phyllis Cole addresses Fuller Society members at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House

On Saturday, the day began early with the second Fuller Society panel, “Presenting Margaret Fuller II: Writing Activism,” chaired by Charlene Avallone. Yoshiko Ito began the presentations talking about her work teaching Fuller in Japan in her paper, “Rhetorical Strategies of Margaret Fuller and Hiratsuka Raicho.” Then Katie Kornacki presented on Fuller as satirist in “Margaret Fuller’s New York Journalism: Anti-Capital Punishment Reform, Evolution, and the Role of the Public Intellectual.” Finally, Christina Katopodis concluded the panel with her paper arguing for Fuller as a forerunner of William James in her paper “Margaret Fuller’s Early Feminist Pragmatic Method.” Full abstracts are available in Past ALA Convention Paper Titles in the society archives.

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To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Margaret Fuller Society, after a successful business meeting Fuller Society members visited the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House for refreshments, cake, and a tour of the community center, through the child care rooms, food services kitchen, and the shady playground outside. You can read more about the House and our visit here and make a donation to the house on their website. The community center is a symbol of love in Cambridge. You can read more about what volunteers do here. The day concluded with the American Literature Association 2017 conference reception.

 

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Christina Alexis, Executive Director of MFNH with Charlene Avallone

Thank you to all the members who made these thought-provoking panels, visit to the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, and overall wonderful weekend possible!

Margaret Fuller Featured in “American Spirit”

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In the March/April 2017 issue of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s American Spirit, Margaret Fuller’s historic writing of Woman in the Nineteenth Century is featured in an article about the new historical marker commemorating her visit to Fishkill Landing, now Beacon, NY. The article, “Margaret Fuller: A Beacon for Women” was written by Margaret Fuller Society member Michael Barnett, who spearheaded the event. You can read more from American Spirit here.

Michael Barnett earned his master’s in divinity at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethelehem, PA and his master’s in education at Gwynedd Mercy University, where he wrote his history seminar paper, “Margaret Fuller Shapes the Consciousness of America through the New York Tribune.”

Dedication of Margaret Fuller Historical Marker

On Saturday, May 21, 2016, a marker honoring Margaret Fuller was unveiled in Polhill Park in Beacon, NY. Margaret Fuller Society member, scholar, theologian, and educator Michael Barnett spearheaded the effort to commemorate Fuller’s historic visit in the fall of 1844 to what was then Fishkill Landing. She lived here for seven weeks, writing Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a foundational work in the American women’s rights movement. Its publication profoundly impacted women in America and in Europe, and it inspired the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. Many thanks go to Michael Barnett, who made this commemoration and event possible by applying to the Pomeroy Foundation for the grant to fund the marker.

Organizing Secretary General of the DAR, and Past President of the Beacon and the Dutchess County Historical Societies Denise Doring VanBuren was the mistress of ceremonies. Mayor of the City of Beacon Randy Casale and Former Beacon Mayor Clara Lou Gould were present at the unveiling.

To commemorate this event, Beacon Arts commissioned a new piece of music for voice and violin by Beacon resident and composer, Debra Kaye. The piece is a setting of Fuller’s poem “Freedom and Truth” (1859). There was a performance of this piece by Vice President of Beacon Arts and soprano Kelly Ellenwood, and violinist Kathleen Bosman.

Many thanks to all who helped make the event possible: Michael Barnett, Kathleen Bosman, Randy Casale, Elizabeth Evans, Kelly Ellenwood, Clara Lou Gould, Carley Hughes, Ella’s Bellas, Carmen Johnson, Debra Kaye, Diane Lapis, Kristine Marino, Bob Meeker, Bob Murphy, Terri Pahucki, Amy Raff, Anthony Thomaselli, The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Denise Doring VanBuren, Mary Kay Vrba, and the staff of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.

Watch the unveiling here.