American Literature Association 2018 Conference Recap

This post was written by Margaret Fuller Society member and contributing author Michael Schrimper.

From May 24-27, 2018, members of the Fuller Society gathered in San Francisco at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero for the 27th Annual conference of the American Literature Association. Over the course of the four days, the Society held two panels, a successful business meeting, and one dinner with a lovely view of the Bay.

On Friday afternoon’s panel, “Margaret Fuller: In the Classroom and Beyond,” which was chaired by Larry Reynolds (Texas A&M University), the first presenter was Holly Dykstra (Laredo Community College). In her paper “Using Fuller to Teach Fuller: Creating Agency and Security,” Dykstra outlined the ways in which Fuller serves as something of a role model for her students (some of them first generation or undocumented) at her college near the border of Mexico. Dykstra examines the concepts behind Fuller’s Conversations—“immersing others in challenging academic situations, encouraging shared knowledge, and spreading education to those who lack agency”—as a way for her students to not only relate to Fuller, but potentially see Fuller’s will and work as models for their own. Callie Gallo (Fordham University) presented “Teaching Margaret Fuller, Fanny Fern, and the Nineteenth-Century Press in the Wake of #MeToo,” drawing startling connections between nineteenth-century scenes of male aggression and sexual violence and news stories unfolding in our contemporary climate. Lesli Vollrath (University of Houston) presented “Elemental Bodies: Mapping the Materialist Cartographies of Margaret Fuller’s ‘Leila’ and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Classroom,” providing an overview for teaching Fuller’s and Chopin’s texts through critical frameworks ranging from Hélène Cixous’s “The Laugh of the Medusa” (1976) to Stacy Alaimo’s New Materialist concept “trans-corporeality.” These frameworks, Vollrath suggests, create relational possibilities for the female body in its environment. Nanette Rasband Hilton (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) also gave a paper concerned with Fuller’s “Leila,” “Praxis of Duality: The Sisterhood of Fuller’s ‘Leila’ and DuBois’s ‘Atlanta.’” Hilton’s paper demonstrated the potential of a reader’s own ipseity to promote “multiple social identities with awareness of crosscutting memberships.” At this notably well-attended panel, Hilton led a moment of silence to honor the memory of prodigious Fuller scholar Professor Jeffrey Steele.

Out of NE5
Photo courtesy of Katie Kornacki

On Saturday’s panel, “Margaret Fuller: Out of New England,” chaired by Society Treasurer Noelle Baker (Independent scholar), Simone Puelo (University of Connecticut, Storrs) presented “Of Good and Noble Aspect: Margaret Fuller, Catholicism and Pius IX (1847-1850),” tracing Fuller’s ambivalent views of Catholicism and Pius IX, as well as her criticism of theocratic monarchy and the Papal State. Puelo sees many of Fuller’s critiques of the Church as “emancipatory” in nature, exposing the institutional injustices common Catholics faced. Clemens Spahr (Mainz University, Germany) presented “Romantic Revolutions: Cosmopolitan Radicalism in Margaret Fuller’s Dispatches from Europe,” which reads Fuller’s European dispatches for Horace Greeley’s the New-York Tribune as “not a refutation of her earlier Transcendentalism,” nor a “simple continuation” of that project, but, rather, a “rewriting” of her Romanticism. Katie Kornacki (Caldwell University) gave a paper entitled “‘The Morning Star of Margaret Fuller’: The Woman’s Club Movement and the Legacy of Fuller’s Conversations,” outlining Fuller’s continuing influence in women’s clubs across the United States. Michael Schrimper (Independent scholar) presented a transatlantic study, “Who’s Afraid of Margaret Fuller?: Literary and Biographical Connections Between Virginia Woolf and Margaret Fuller,” delineating the ways in which Fuller, in “The Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain” in particular, anticipates the high Modernist feminist narratology of Virginia Woolf’s experimental 1917 sketch, “Kew Gardens.”

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Photo courtesy of Jana L. Argersinger

Prior to Saturday’s panel and business meeting, Fullerites gathered for a Friday evening dinner at Sens, a warmly-lit Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the Bay Bridge. Before partaking in a meal including grilled Spanish octopus and dry-aged rack of lamb, Society members watched as Treasurer Noelle Baker presented the first inaugural Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service to its eponymous original recipient. In giving reasons for her receiving the award, Baker cited Cole’s: forging a relationship between the Society and the Margaret Fuller House of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a non-profit organization propagating Fuller’s social ideals; and her vital role as President of the Society, which, in her three-year tenure, saw Cole expanding membership, increasing funds, generating a Society newsletter, renewing panel status at MLA, establishing a new Society website, and revising Society governance structure, among other feats. Society members watched with admiration as Baker presented Cole with a plaque engraved with Fuller’s words from her 1844 New-York Tribune piece, “Thanksgiving:” “No home can be healthful in which are not cherished seeds of good for the world at large.” A similar plaque will be presented, to quote the speech written by Baker and current Society President Charlene Avallone, “every three years to a Society Member” whom the Executive Council “recognizes as having worked in some significant way to promulgate the social ideals advanced by Margaret Fuller.” In addition to the plaque, the award it is to take the form of a donation to the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House.

To top off the occasion in honor of Professor Phyllis Cole, there were cheers of congratulations, along with heartfelt wine toasts, all around.

Announcing the Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service

At the recent American Literature Association 2018 Conference, Margaret Fuller Society Members Jana L. Argersinger and Noelle A. Baker presented Past President Phyllis Cole with the Inaugural Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service. Read their speech presenting Cole with the award below.

Noelle Baker, Phyllis Cole, and Jana Argersinger
Left to Right: Noelle Baker, Phyllis Cole holding award, and Jana Argersinger; Photo courtesy of Katie Kornacki

“Before we turn to other forward-looking matters, we should acknowledge our Past President for her inspiring leadership and immense drive, which have brought the Fuller Society into its second quarter-century.

As most of you know, Phyllis Cole in her three-year term directed a remarkable renovation of the Society.  She leaves us a notable legacy:  a greatly expanded membership and enhanced bank-account; a new, exciting website; a stimulating newsletter; Society presence on social media; a revised governance structure that reflects the new roles required by all these renovations; and renewed status at the annual MLA Convention.

In what I may hazard is perhaps the achievement dearest to her heart, Phyllis established the Society’s outreach into social action by forging a connection with the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in Cambridge, MA.  You will recall that this community-based nonprofit with a century-old mission is housed in Fuller’s girlhood home.  It serves to provide a wide variety of programs to underprivileged families and individuals in the community, while in the process serving as well to propagate Fuller’s social ideals.

To honor Phyllis‘s achievement and to keep the memory of it alive, the Executive Council has voted to establish the Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service.  The award will be given every three years to a Society Member that the Council recognizes as having worked in some significant way to promulgate the social ideals advanced by Margaret Fuller.  It is to take the form of a donation to the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House and a plaque to the recipient, engraved with one of Phyllis‘s favorite quotes from Fuller, taken from her December 1844 Tribune piece “Thanksgiving”: “No home can be healthful in which are not cherished seeds of good for the world at large.” As Fuller suggests in this article, the authentic spirit of that holiday is embodied in ever-widening acts of kindness and charity; these acts, in Fuller’s words,  “depend upon the great circle” of family, neighbors, friends, and society. We thank Phyllis for setting the standard for our own circle.

It is my great pleasure to announce that the first recipient of this award is Phyllis Cole.”

Phyllis Blum Cole Award for Social Service
Photo courtesy of Katie Kornacki

Featured image of Phyllis Cole holding award courtesy of Jana L. Argersinger.

ALA 2018 in San Francisco, CA

Join us at the 2018 American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco, California, May 24-27, for two panels sponsored by the Margaret Fuller Society.

“Margaret Fuller: In the Classroom and Beyond” on Friday, May 25th, 2:10-3:30 PM

Chair:  Larry Reynolds, Texas A & M University

1.     “Using Fuller to Teach Fuller: Creating Agency and Security,” Holly Dykstra, Laredo Community College

2.     “Teaching Margaret Fuller, Fanny Fern, and the Nineteenth-Century Press in the Wake of #MeToo,” Callie Gallo, Fordham University

3.     “Elemental Bodies: Mapping the Materialist Cartographies of Margaret Fuller’s ‘Leila’ and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Classroom,” Lesli Vollrath, University of Houston

4.     “Praxis of Duality: The Sisterhood of Fuller’s ‘Leila’ and Du Bois’s ‘Atlanta’,” Nanette Rasband Hilton, University of Nevada–Las Vegas. 

[The Margaret Fuller Society Business Meeting will be conducted on Saturday, May 26, at 2:10-3:30 PM.]

“Margaret Fuller:  Out of New England” on Saturday, May 26, at 3:40-5:00 PM

Chair:  Noelle Baker, Independent Scholar

1.     “Of Good and Noble Aspect: Margaret Fuller, Catholicism and Pius IX (1847-1850),” Simone Maria Puleo, University of Connecticut, Storrs

2.     “Romantic Revolutions: Cosmopolitan Radicalism in Margaret Fuller’s Dispatches from Europe,” Clemens Spahr, Mainz University, Germany

3.     “‘The Morning Star of Margaret Fuller’: The Woman’s Club Movement and the Legacy of Fuller’s Conversations,” Katie Kornacki, Caldwell University

4.    “Who’s Afraid of Margaret Fuller?: Literary and Biographical Connections Between Virginia Woolf and Margaret Fuller,” Michael Schrimper, Independent Scholar

You may also be interested in this panels with presentations on Fuller:

“‘A Choir of Resistance’: ‘Unruly’ Voices and ‘Nasty’ Women in American Literature” on Friday, May 25, at 5:10-6:30 PM

Chair: Elif Armbruster

1. “A Choir of Resistance: Margaret Fuller’s Network of Nasty Women in Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” Lesli Vollrath, University of Houston

2. “Nasty Women in the Press: Margaret Fuller, Fanny Fern, and the Pitfalls of Professionalization,” Callie Gallo, Fordham University

3. “‘A Peculiar Case’ of Women’s Writing in Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons,” Ki Yoon Jang, Sogang University (Seoul)

4. “The Unruly, Unmarried Black Woman Mimi Daquin of Walter White’s Flight,” Julie Anne Naviaux, University of Alabama in Huntsville

5. “Wandering Women and Queer Resistance in Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood,” Victoria Chandler, University of South Carolina

6. “Teaching the ‘Nasty Woman’: Facing Resistance in the Classroom,” Elif Armbruster, Suffolk University

The full program draft is available here.

Transcendentalist Intersections Conference Registration

Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion” will be held at the University of Heidelberg, Germany on July 26 – 29, 2018. This conference is sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, the Margaret Fuller Society, and the Anglistisches Seminar and Center for American Studies at the University of Heidelberg.

The conference registration fee is $100 USD (80 euros), which includes the reception. To pay your registration fee using PayPal, please click on the button below.

Reception Only ($20)

Student and Non-Academic Entry ($50)

ALA 2018 Call for Papers

The Margaret Fuller Society invites proposals for two panels at the American Literature Association 29th Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA, May 24-27, 2018.

Margaret Fuller: In the Classroom and Beyond

We invite submissions that address teaching Fuller in any academic context or in venues outside of the traditional classroom.

Margaret Fuller: Out of New England

We invite submissions that address such topics as:

–Fuller and the West

–Fuller and the East

–Fuller and regionalism

–Fuller and New York/Paris/Rome

–Fuller and transnationalism or cosmopolitanism

–Fuller and translation

We especially welcome proposals that approach Fuller along with other writers.

Please send a one-page proposal to Charlene Avallone (avallone000@gmail.com) by 15 January 2018.

Featured photo is of the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, CA via Google Maps.

Fullerians at SSAWW in Bordeaux

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The Place de la Bourse at night

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

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

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Many thanks to Brigitte Bailey (left, next to Sonia Di Loreto) for providing photos from the event!

Welcome to our new website!

We are happy to launch our new website, where you can find resources such as teaching materials and recent paper abstracts on Margaret Fuller’s life and works, see what’s happening in the news, and view upcoming events and calls for papers.

Take some time to read about a new digital humanities archive of Fuller’s travels in Italy and correspondence for the Tribune. Thanks to the hard work of Sonia Di Loreto and her team, this archive is now available and will be a useful teaching tool.

Browse posts about Fuller in recent news, and what Fuller society members have been doing to mark the historic location where Fuller wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

Get to know your Margaret Fuller Society leadership, the valuable community work being done at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, and become a member yourself or donate to the society.