MFS Exec Council Endorses MLA’s Statement Deploring Racism

The Executive Council of the Margaret Fuller Society, as an affiliated society of the Modern Language Association (MLA), endorses the Association’s Statement Deploring Racism.

The MLA’s statement reads:

“The Executive Council of the Modern Language Association condemns in the strongest possible terms the wanton destruction of Black life in the United States. We deplore the horrific murders of Black people by the police and the systemic racism in police forces, in educational institutions, and throughout society. It has never been more important for educational institutions to support and expand Black and Africana studies, Latinx and ethnic studies, and Native American studies and to teach the literatures born of struggle against racist violence. During the time of pandemic, Black Americans are disproportionately at risk of illness and death because of a historical and ongoing deprivation of adequate health care. Whether Black lives are extinguished by police forces or by a broken and unjust health care system, it is clear that they are treated as dispensable lives. We call for an opposition to racism throughout society and for an understanding of the history of racism and lynching as it assumes a freshly brutal form in the present. We urge departments of language and literature to engage with the art and criticism that reflects on history and envisions another future. We call on educational institutions to renew their commitment to actively undo structures that limit access by and hinder the full participation of Black Americans and other nonwhite people at all levels. We stand in solidarity with all those who are trying to make a world of racial equality and justice. We oppose the lethal ignorance and hatred that animates racism, and we affirm educational projects that expose (and seek to overcome) the scourge of white supremacy.”

Margaret Fuller at MLA 2020 in Seattle

On Saturday, January 11, 2020, we gathered at the MLA Convention in Seattle, WA, for a panel on “Margaret Fuller’s Ecologies,” presided by Margaret Fuller Society Vice President, Jana L. Argersinger. Below is the list of presenters and their paper titles.

“The Ecological Spirituality of Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes
Lucas Nossaman, U of Tennessee, Knoxville

“Traveling West through Womanhood: Indigenous Women and the Landscape of Developmental Time in Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes
E S Dean, Rutgers U, New Brunswick

“From Genial to Daemonic: Margaret Fuller’s Early Theories of Relationality”
William Bond, Northeastern U

Abstracts are available here.

 

Margaret Fuller at ASLE 2019

This post was authored by Guest Contributor and Margaret Fuller Society Member Nanette Hilton.

The 2019 Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) Conference uncannily presaged the November 2018 Camp Fire which destroyed the town of Paradise, California. The unsettling “resonance” between the conference theme, “Paradise On Fire,” and the affected California host communities prompted planners to issue an October 31, 2018 explanation that “the title was intended to be metaphorical” and drew “from the long literary imagining of California as another world” (ASLE).

June 26th through 30th, 2019 conference attendees came together to mourn “the loss of life, home and habitat in that fire” as a group “dedicated to grappling with difficult, long-term and often irresolvable issues,” not just in present-day California but since the Anthropocene’s impact on the global environment. Such exigencies were familiar to Margaret Fuller who likewise struggled to make sense of challenging concerns.

For this reason, Nanette Hilton organized an ASLE panel entitled “Margaret Fuller: Preserving Paradise in the 19th Century” in which she asked how Fuller champions, appropriates, and interacts with ecology in her texts? To what end, then and now? In what ways might Fuller’s personal struggles, or the struggles of those she represents in her texts, mirror socio-ecological struggles, past and present? Is Fuller’s a universal or microcosmic ecological awareness? How does Fuller resist or cross metaphorical or literal boundaries and in what ways might this impact Earth’s environment? The panel explored how Fuller was on the vanguard of form and genre hybridization and how she championed inclusivity long before it was politically correct. The panel hoped to mine the ecocriticism of Fuller’s heterogeneous works for models of rhetorical strategy as patterns for us, nearly two centuries later, in our efforts to preserve Paradise.

The response to this call for papers gave heartening evidence that Margaret Fuller is taking a front seat in literary studies, even in environmental humanities. Ultimately, four papers were chosen to be presented, including:

  • “The Book to the Reader”: Affect and Bioregion in Summer on the Lakes, by Jake McGinnis of University of Notre Dame;
  • Amalgamation of Sensibilities: Margaret Fuller Prophesying Paradise, by Nanette Hilton of University of Nevada, Las Vegas;
  • Ecology, Difference, and Boundary-Crossing, by Emily York of James Madison University; and
  • Troubling Paradise: Racialized Violence in Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, by Katie Simon of Georgia College.

By coincidence, all four panelists centered their papers on Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes (Summer) to create a serendipitously cohesive analysis of her text.

Jake McGinnis observed how Fuller’s personal anxieties were juxtaposed with “the environmental, social, and gender crises that shaped the frontier of 1843” and provide a “crucially important model for our own processes of working through the growing problems of American regionality—from the urban/rural political divide to brain drain and pervasive gender inequality.”

Nanette Hilton focused on Fuller’s rhetorical choices in creating a mash-up of genres thereby foregrounding what feminist theorists today term Invitational Rhetoric which advances “equality, immanent value, and self-determination” amongst actors, human and nonhuman. Hilton explicated the first two poems in Summer, providing proof that Fuller invites her readers to participate in preserving Paradise.

Emily York provided an auto-ethnographic account of her re-engagement with Fuller’s work nearly twenty years after writing her BA thesis on Fuller. She explained her “current efforts to reflexively reconsider Science and Technology Studies” with the aim to cross “boundaries of discipline and genre” to “build solidarity toward a socially and ecologically inclusive future.”

Katie Simon discussed how Fuller “encounters a landscape haunted with racialized violence” and through her “hybrid forms and textual assemblages” created a model for us to “engage with both nonhuman nature, and humans who have been ghosted from the category of the human” to “appreciate its sublime effects.”

The session enjoyed an audience of about twenty people. After the session, the panelists and their guests got better acquainted and continued their conversation over a marvelous dinner at Seasons restaurant.

In keeping with the prescient nature of ASLE’s conference theme, it was unanimously agreed that Fuller foreshadowed in Summer rhetorical strategies for confronting the ecojustice challenges we face today and prophesied a future wherein all actors have a voice in preserving Paradise.

______________________________________________________________________________

Works Cited:

ASLE. asle.org/stay-informed/asle-news/2019-conference-call-papers/

Updating Margaret Fuller’s Wikipedia Article in an Ongoing Edit-a-Thon

This post was written by Website Manager and contributing author, Christina Katopodis.

On February 28, 2019, Wikipedians new and old, expert and novice, met at The Graduate Center, CUNY, for “Revolutionizing Wikipedia: A Queer and Feminist Edit-a-Thon,” organized by Christina Katopodis. The event was sponsored by the Futures Initiative, GC Digital Initiatives, Teaching and Learning Center, and HASTAC at The Graduate Center, CUNY, as well as Wikimedia NYC.

The idea behind the event was to support greater inclusion in Wikipedia editing both in terms of who contributes, and in terms of what topics are covered. Currently, Wikipedia contributors are overwhelmingly male—about 90 percent. Only nine percent of Wikipedia editors surveyed in 2018 by the Wikimedia Foundation identified as “female,” and only one percent identified as “other.” Who contributes has a major impact on the topics and people considered noteworthy—so join us as we expand the range of both voices and subject matter.

In the first hour of the event, Megan Wacha from Wikimedia NYC led a workshop on Wikipedia, how to edit articles, and best practices for contributing to the Wikipedia community. In case you missed it, I made a slide deck that goes over the basics to help you get started.

After the workshop, we drank coffee, ate lunch and snacks, and worked on Wikipedia articles. Katie Kornacki, who edits the Conversations newsletter with Mollie Barnes, and I realized that Caroline Sturgis, Fuller’s friend and fellow Transcendentalist, didn’t have a Wikipedia article in English so I created my first new Wikipedia article from scratch. If you have updates or additions you would like to make, please contact me directly at ckatopodis [at] gradcenter [dot] cuny [dot] edu.

rev-wikipediaMore than 20 editors participated in our edit-a-thon, editing 18 articles and creating two new ones in the last 24 hours, and adding 1.76K words to Wikipedia. A total of 116 edits have been made thus far, and we look forward to seeing the impact these editors make in Wikipedia over time. Yes, we are still editing! Even if you couldn’t make it, take a look at our slide decks, set yourself up on Wikipedia, pick a stub article, and start editing!

Using what we learned from Megan Wacha and this edit-a-thon, we continue to edit and update Margaret Fuller’s Wikipedia article. Since Wikipedia is open to public editing, crowd-sourcing information about authors like Fuller, it’s important that we continue this work. While the article was already in good shape when we started, there were some parts of it that needed updating to really reflect Margaret Fuller’s intellectual contributions (e.g., her translations of Goethe, her Conversations with a capital “C”). Take a look at the article and contribute! Or, drop me a line at the email address above for help editing Wikipedia articles.

Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive

Screenshot 2017-05-28 at 7.34.17 PM
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.

IMG_20170527_145909

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.

IMG_20170527_151603