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!

Mark Your Calendar for MLA – January 4-7, 2018

Margaret Fuller Society members will be at the MLA 2018 Convention in New York City on January 4-7. The society is sponsoring the panel “Margaret Fuller: New Critical Approaches,” organized and chaired by Executive Secretary Jeffrey Steele.

“Critique as Affect in Margaret Fuller’s Transcendentalist Writings”
by Mark Russell Gallagher

“The Trouble with Gender for Margaret Fuller”
by Christina Katopodis

“Haunting Affect in Fuller and Thoreau”
by Katie Simon

These papers take innovative approaches to Margaret Fuller and gender fluidity, queer theory, environmental criticism, affect and public feeling, transnational mobility, critical race studies, new feminist materialism, and new aesthetics.

The presidential theme this year is States of Insecurity. Sessions will be held in the New York Hilton Midtown, the Sheraton New York Times Square, and the New York Marriott Marquis. Click here for more information.

Featured photo courtesy of Christina Katopodis.

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!

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.

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.