2021 SSAWW Triennial Conference – Theme and Call

SSAWW 2021 Conference November 4-7, 2021

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland

American Women Writers: Ecologies, Survival, Change

“Ecologies, Survival, Change” celebrates the many women across the Americas whose creative work fosters survival and envisions change by exploring the systems in which we live, labor and love. Toni Morrison is our touchstone: her works powerfully remind us that humans, however implicated in damaging structures, can also resist them through networks that sustain and transform.

We offer the term “ecologies” to signify the dynamic, interlocking systems that make up our world, from networks of family and friends to entrenched processes of environmental exploitation to hierarchies of race and gender.  Material and discursive, natural and human created, entrenched and emergent – ecologies integrate diverse, even conflicting, values and effects.  As the novel coronavirus demonstrates, global pandemics and other crises make many ecologies hyper-visible, calling attention to the sustenance which some provide while exacerbating the destructiveness of others.  

Our conference embraces the capacity of creative work to represent existing ecologies and to imagine alternative ones. While we encourage papers, panels, roundtables, and workshops that explore our theme, however, our 2021 conference is not restricted to them. As always, we encourage panel proposals from affiliated societies. As we meet in Baltimore for the first time, we also welcome contributions that highlight the city’s women writers and artists, organizers and organizations.

In the spirit of creating ecologies that sustain us, the 2021 conference will offer numerous opportunities for community-building and personal and professional flourishing: workshops, mentoring, and brainstorming sessions for colleagues at all stages, from graduate students to retirees; opportunities for meditation and exercise; meetings with journal editors; roundtables and discussions about distance teaching and learning. We will also unveil the SSAWW Digital Recovery Hub, a network of scholars grounded in diverse feminist methods which provides resources for digital project consultation and technical assistance for scholars engaged in the recovery work of American women writers.

While we’re planning a face-to-face conference for November 2021, we are monitoring the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and will prepare contingencies as the situation continues to evolve

Proposals for panels, roundtables, and individual papers are to be submitted no later than February 1, 2021.  Details on proposal submissions will be forthcoming.  Please check our website and the SSAWW listserv for future updates on our 2021 Triennial Conference.

CFP: Past Futures – Thinking in Crisis (Charles Brockden Brown Society) Deadline: 3.15.2021


Past Futures: Thinking in Crisis

October 14-16, 2021

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island

A conference sponsored by the Charles Brockden Brown Society


Crisis! As we write this CFP, in the midst of a global pandemic that has brought conditions supposedly unprecedented in this century, it is difficult to predict our future circumstances and concerns in October 2021. This prompts us to ask: How do we think in the midst of crisis? How will our thinking change once the crisis has passed? If, as Thomas Paine argued in 1776, “the mind soon grows through” the short duration of a crisis, what is gained and what is lost as we process the uncertainties of crisis? Drawing on our scholarly engagements with the long eighteenth century, alongside our varied roles as teachers, humanities scholars, and community members in the twenty-first century, we invite proposals that consider the role critical thinking and reflection play in contending with crisis.

The temporal mood of crisis is an opportunity to consider historicist and presentist approaches to our past futures. While the urgent immediacy of crisis forcefully anchors us in the present, with hindsight, crisis is often re-framed as an outcome that should have been anticipated. As we examine the conditions that lead to crisis, we look to the missed opportunities and foreclosed possibilities of the past to imagine viable futures.

The long eighteenth century provides rich historical parallels, critical comparisons, and anachronisms that can inform our current crises. Brown and his intellectual circle debated the merits of historical and fictional genres for capturing the sensation of crisis and tracing its probable causes and effects. Heightening the pressures and violent contradictions of national affiliation, crisis was often invoked to justify the oppression and dispossession of indigenous, enslaved, free Black, and immigrant people. The competing responses to the Haitian Revolution from the United States signal that crisis, as a breaking point or a turning point, is a matter of perspective and interpretation. The age of social contract produced debates about the reformative and corrupting effects of solitary confinement and voluntary retreat, and many argued over whether nations should be imagined in terms of isolated independence or global interdependencies. 

The Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the Charles Brockden Brown Society invites papers on all aspects of crisis in the Atlantic World of the long eighteenth century and their resonances today.

Topics might include:

–Social distance: expatriation, dis/affiliation, hermits, domestic and natural retreat, solitary confinement, deportation

–Presentist and historicist approaches to crisis

–The aesthetics of crisis: visual and narrative forms, styles, and genres that represent crisis

–Role of reading, writing, reflection during crisis

–Role of communities during crisis: racial, ethnic, professional, regional, political, academic  

–Dystopia and utopia

–C18/C21 crises: constitutional crisis, climate change, settler colonialism, Atlantic slave trade, systemic racism, labor crises

–Yellow fever, epidemics, and crises of public health

–France, Haiti and the “contagion” of revolutionary ideals

–Pedagogical approaches to the C18 classroom in times of crisis

–How crisis changes our understanding of institutions, particularly institutions of learning

–How crisis is used to define, reinforce, limit, challenge, or transform communities

–The relationship between activism and reflection during a crisis

Though we are an author society, we solicit proposals from a broad range of texts and practices beyond those associated with Brown and his writings alone. We also encourage interdisciplinary scholarship, work emphasizing non-U.S. literatures, and presentations on teaching practices. Our conference culture aims to create a space of egalitarian consideration free from career-oriented and competitive attitudes, a place for new work to flourish. Thus we have no concurrent sessions, so that all may be heard by all. Due to time and space constraints, we may ask you to reframe your proposed talk as a brief (5-10 minute) presentation for inclusion within a roundtable format.

Mentoring for Graduate Students

Graduate students who are interested in receiving feedback on their abstracts before the submission deadline may submit their abstracts for revision suggestions by March 1, 2021. Review does not guarantee acceptance. Graduate students will also have the option to be paired with a faculty mentor during the weekend of the conference.

Public Health Contingencies

As conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to impact travel, safety, and funding through the next year, we remain committed to organizing an event that stays true to the egalitarian principles of the CBBS. We will support remote presentations and ask that you indicate your preference for an in-person or remote presentation in your submission. These preferences will have no bearing on the status of your submission. Should conditions favor a fully remote conference, we will adopt new formats, including pre-circulated papers, workshops, and roundtables organized around common readings and teaching practices. We ask that you remain flexible about presentation format should the need arise, and we welcome submissions that include ideas for innovative hybrid presentation formats.

Travel Support

Some travel support will be available to those with limited institutional funding. Applicants requesting travel funding should indicate their interest and need in a cover letter. Graduate students should provide information about whether or not they are ABD.

250-word proposal deadline: March 15, 2021. Please send a proposal in .docx format to lhankins@umassd.edu.

Webinar: Revisiting Muriel Rukeyser’s Elegies in Times Like These, Feb 19-20, 2021 (Registration deadline: 11.1.2020)

Webinar: Revisiting Muriel Rukeyser’s Elegies in Times Like These, Feb 19-20, 2021

Format: This two-day webinar, scheduled for February 19-20, 2020, centers on Muriel Rukeyser’s critically neglected cycle of ten Elegies, published over the span of a decade, from 1939-1948, and recently republished by New Directions. The webinar will include keynote speeches, panels, workshops, and creative responses.

Description: Rukeyser’s Elegies offer a personal reckoning with failure, both personal and collective. They lament the defeat of liberatory struggles in Spain, the advance of fascism, the devastations of World War II and the Shoah, as well as heart-wrenching personal losses, among them the death of a beloved and the betrayal by friends and co-travelers. But more than poems of loss, Rukeyser’s Elegies engage readers in the arduous emotional and imaginative work required to face defeat, in all its magnitude, and find in it the seeds of possibility, the foundation for a new consciousness and a way of living “of almost unimagined value.” As meditations on “multi-memoried America,” a “nation of refugees that will not learn its name,” molded by the dreams, wishes, and fears of its inhabitants, from indigenous populations to migrants and refugees, these elegies prove especially relevant to the present historical moment, in the US and across the globe.  Indeed, the time is ripe for taking an in-depth look at this understudied body of poems, in the context of its time and our continuing struggle for racial and social justice. 

Keynote Speakers: The event will feature keynote speeches by Louise Kertesz and Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, as well as panels, workshops, and creative responses. 

Proposals: We are especially interested in proposals that 

  • Incorporate archival work on Rukeyser and the social-historical context of Elegies
  • Explore the aesthetic, political, historical, environmental, or identitarian concerns addressed within Elegies
  • Study Rukeyser’s attention to children, refugees, migrants, indigenous cultures in Elegies
  • Explore Rukeyser’s visionary imagination, paying special attention to Elegies
  • Examine Elegies in the context of other literary and artistic works (e.g., Rilke’s Duino Elegies, Picasso’s Guernica)
  • Offer original close readings of specific Elegies
  • Discuss approaches to teaching Elegies
  • Study the work of writers/artists impacted by Rukeyser 
  • Offer creative responses to Elegies 
  • Read Elegies within the contemporary struggle for racial and social justice and resistance to authoritarianism in all of its forms
  • Analyze the emotional work performed within, or envisioned by, Rukeyser’s Elegies, and the Elegy form in general

Submit proposals, by November 1, 2020. For more information, contact murielrukeyseremu@gmail.com.​

Call for Submissions: 2021 Scholarly Editing

Editors in Chief Noelle Baker and Kathryn Tomasek invite submissions for the 2021 publication of Scholarly Editing, Issue 39. We welcome essays on the theory, practice, and pedagogy of scholarly editing, reviews of print and digital editions, and small-scale editions of understudied authors and texts that reflect our diverse and multifaceted cultural heritage.

The journal intends to represent contributions from all countries and cultures and across disciplines, including but not restricted to educators, researchers, scholars, historians, archivists, curators, editors, information professionals, students, and digital humanists. We particularly welcome submissions from and about the Global South, Black people, Indigenous people, People of Color, women, and other marginalized and underrepresented groups within the field of scholarly editing.

Virtual Launch: The Winnifred Eaton Archive (9.16.2020 at 12pm PDT)

Today (August 21) is the birthday of the author best known for writing as “Onoto Watanna”! In honour of her 145th birthday, we are officially launching the Winnifred Eaton Archive https://winnifredeatonarchive.org.

The Winnifred Eaton Archive (WEA) is an accessible, fully searchable, digital scholarly edition of the collected works of Asian North American novelist, journalist, playwright, and Hollywood screenwriter Winnifred Eaton Babcock Reeve (1875-1954), best known for the bestselling Japanese romances she signed “Onoto Watanna”. It comprises page images and transcriptions of 150+ located publications and manuscripts, as well as supplemental materials—photographs, a biographical timeline, secondary sources–that will aid students and scholars of Eaton’s work. Ultimately, it aims to collect all known publications, manuscripts, and films by Eaton in one location.

The younger sister of Edith Maude Eaton (1865-1914) who wrote sympathetic portraits of diasporic Chinese signed “Sui Sin Far”, Winnifred Eaton is often referred to as the “bad” Eaton sister because of her sustained masquerade as a Japanese author beginning in 1897. But as texts collected at https://winnifredeatonarchive.org show, Winnifred Eaton did much more than this over her 50-year career! Winnifred Eaton wrote one of the earliest short stories about Montreal’s Chinatown. She was a dogged woman journalist in 1890s Jamaica and 1900s New York City. In the 1920s, she authored screenplays, including an early draft of Showboat, and ran Universal’s script department. And from her home in Alberta ranch country, she championed Canadian literature and community theatre until her death in 1954. 

Please join us for a virtual launch at 12pm (PDT) on Wednesday, September 16th by registering here:  https://forms.gle/Xb2PHQyhz3g5orAF6

At the WEA launch, we will demonstrate the many ways you can use the archive for research, how the archive can be used in the classroom, and how researchers and students can become more involved in Phase Two of the project. We will also have a few remarks and a Q&A session with the current WEA team and special guest Diana Birchall (Eaton’s grand-daughter).

Please join us on September 16th!

Mary Chapman (Director)

Jean Lee Cole (Senior Consultant)

Joey Takeda (Technical Director)

Sydney Lines (Project Manager)

and the team of research assistants, past and present

Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society – Summer Webinars (July 31st, August 14th, and August 28th)

The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society announces a series of webinars featuring new works of Sedgwick scholarship. Invited scholars will discuss their recent monographs and address Sedgwick, her career, and her place in contemporary literary studies.

Webinars are open to the public but registration is required; click the links below to register for each individual event. For more information or to join the Sedgwick Society, visit cmsedgwicksociety.org.

We hope you’ll join us!

Friday, July 31, 2 pm ET

Lydia Fash, author of The Sketch, The Tale, and the Beginnings of American Literature (University of Virginia Press, 2020)

Joe Shapiro, author of The Illiberal Imagination: Class and the Rise of the U.S. Novel (University of Virginia Press, 2017)

Hosted by Melissa Homestead

Register: https://unl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dN07qBmJQ0m2clm7ytYHsA

Friday, August 14, 3 pm ET

Brigitte Bailey, author of American Travel Literature, Gendered Aesthetics and the Italian Tour, 1824-62 (Edinburgh University Press, 2018)

Sandra Wilson Smith, author of The Action-Adventure Heroine: Rediscovering an American Literary Character, 1697-1895 (University of Tennessee Press, 2018)

Hosted by Jenifer Elmore

Register: https://unl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dLGWoloFQ-2wrPRuH4rwoA

Friday, August 28, 3 pm ET

Martin Holtz, author of Constructions of Agency in American Literature on the War of Independence: War as Action, 1775-1860 (Routledge, 2019)

Ashley Reed, author of Heaven’s Interpreters: Women Writers and Religious Agency in Nineteenth-Century America (Cornell University Press, 2020)

Hosted by Jordan Von Cannon

Register: https://unl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_v3Uw9omHQNWMS8cBRQny4w

CFP: The Legacy of Julia Ward Howe (June 11-12, 2021)

“To learn, to teach, to serve, to enjoy”:

The Legacy of Julia Ward Howe

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of our founding by Julia Ward Howe, the Saturday Morning Club will host a dinner and keynote address by Professor Megan Marshall on Friday evening, June 11, 2021, and a one-day symposium of papers on Saturday, June 12, 2021.

Co-sponsored by Boston University’s College of General Studies, the College of General Studies Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society.

College of General Studies, Boston University, Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12, 2021

Visit: http://meetatbu.com/juliawardhowe/

Affordable overnight on-campus accommodations will be available for reservation in early 2021. Please email stay@bu.edu if you have initial questions.

Details about registration fees, accommodations, and conference sessions will be forthcoming.

Save the Date: 2021 SSAWW Triennial Conference

SSAWW 2021 Triennial Conference in Baltimore, Maryland

Conference Theme

American Women Writers: Ecologies, Survival, Change

November 3-7, 2021 | Royal Sonesta Harbor Court

Additional information will be shared on our site in the coming months with the call for papers made available at the end of August.

SSAWW Statement of Support

Dear Colleagues,

The Society for the Study of American Women Writers joins with the academic community to express our heartbreak and our outrage at the acts of racist violence and police brutality being perpetrated against Black and people of color in many areas of the nation. We recognize that this type of violence is not a recent phenomenon but has been commonly experienced by Black and Brown communities throughout American history. We also condemn the violence of rhetorical “domination” and the vigilantism it legitimates. We recognize that the use of institutional force against protests, whether by the military, the National Guard, or the police, are violations of civil rights, liberties, and human rights.

We stand with the protestors, insisting that perpetrators of racist and related brutality be held to account. We call for the structural changes which alone can put an end to the interlocking forms of oppression of which this brutality is a manifestation. We repeat the names of those most recently killed by acts of police murder and other forms of racist violence—including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Monika Diamond, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Pamela Turner, and Tamir Rice—because to remember the names is to remember the individuals, and to keep them alive in our hearts and minds.  As an organization especially committed to women’s works, histories, and lives, we amplify a call to #SayHerName, and we recognize police violence as a crime that disproportionately affects women and men of color. Black Lives Matter.

As educators and scholars, we are dedicated to understanding the roots and histories of racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and related forms of oppression. We also know that exploration and comprehension cannot be ends in themselves; they must inform behavior and action. In that spirit—and in the spirit of many of the women writers we read, study and teach, including Ida B. Wells-Burnett, Frances E. W. Harper, Toni Morrison, and Cherie Moraga-—we commit ourselves to action and we urge others to do so. To that end, we list on our website names and descriptions of some of the organizations committed to creating change. If you would like to add to that list, please send your suggestion to the SSAWW Vice President of Publications, Jordan Von Cannon, at ssaww.vppublications@gmail.com

We wish to acknowledge the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, whose letter was an inspiration for ours and whose list of organizations we have adopted.  We invite you to circulate this letter and ask you to urge organizations and societies of which you are a member to issue statements as well.

For justice and peace,

Executive Officers and Advisory Board

Society for the Study of American Women Writers

Partial List of Organizations with brief descriptions

(We invite you to view the list from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars here)

  • Center for Black Equity – The vision of this organization is to “build a global network of LGBTQ+ individuals, allies, community-based organizations and Prides dedicated to achieving equality and social justice for Black LGBTQ+ communities through Economic Equity, Health Equity, and Social Equity.”
  •  Color of Change— “We design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real.”
  • Circle of Mothers— “Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, created the Circle of Mothers as a way to empower women. The purpose of the Circle of Mothers is to bring together mothers who have lost children or family members due to senseless gun violence for the purpose of healing, empowerment, and fellowship towards the larger aim of community building.”
  • Dream Defenders—”The Dream Defenders was founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. That Spring, young Black, Latinx, and Arab youth marched from Daytona Beach Florida to Sanford Florida where Trayvon Martin was killed. With that fire in their bellies, they then went back to their communities and campuses to organize. Dream Defenders is a multiracial group of young people who are organizing to build power in our communities to advance a new vision we have for the state. Our agenda is called the Freedom Papers. Through it, we are advancing our vision of safety and security –  away from prisons, deportation, and war – and towards healthcare, housing, jobs and movement for all.”
  • Know Your Rights Camp—”A free campaign founded by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness on higher education, self- empowerment, and instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”
  • National Coalition on Black Civic Participation—”The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation is a 501 (c) 3 non-partisan civic engagement organization that strives to cultivate institutional base-building capacity and intergenerational leadership models at the local, state and national levels. NCBCP is committed to nurturing a climate where new thinking, innovative and traditional strategies of empowerment are respected and freely expressed; and strategic partnerships and alliances are welcomed. By educating, motivating, organizing and mobilizing our communities, the NCBCP seeks to encourage full participation in a barrier-free democratic process. Through technology, educational programs and civic leadership training, the Coalition works to expand, strengthen and empower Black communities to make voting and civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition.”
  • LIVE FREE – “With over 118 million people attending weekly services in over 350,000 congregations across the U.S., we believe that a social justice revival within our faith institutions would transform our nation’s hearts and minds, and ultimately, the policies and practices that perpetuate these evils. With hundreds of congregations as well as countless leaders and movement partners throughout the country, the LIVE FREE Campaign is working to end the scourges of gun violence, mass incarceration, and the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies that tears at the soul of our society.” This group is currently running a “Masks for the People” campaign, “a humanitarian effort to address the lack of preventive care and resources being made available to our loved ones in jails, urban neighborhoods and poor rural communities. Every $10,000 dollars create 5,000 kits that include masks, hand sanitizer, garments, PPE, etc.”
  • Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition – https://cfshrc.org/in-response-to-racial-injustice-and-white-supremacist-violence/
  • The Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown whose mission is to produce scholars/citizens who are equipped to critically, actively and effectively engage the issues confronting a technologically changing, postcolonial, capitalist world, ccrs@uhd.edu
  • Say Her Name: “A movement that calls attention to police violence against Black women, girls, and femmes, and demands that their stories be integrated into calls for justice, policy responses to police violence, and media representations of police brutality.”