CFP for SSAWW 2015 Panel: “Catching the Spirit”: Women’s Reading, Writing and Reform during the Long Nineteenth Century (Deadline January 1, 2015)

“Catching the Spirit”: Women’s Reading, Writing and Reform during the Long Nineteenth Century (Deadline January 1, 2015)

Thanks to the pioneering work of a generation of women’s historians – Anne Boylan, Mary Kelley, Carolyn J. Lawes,  Anne Firor Scott, and others – scholars now know a great deal more about the scope and variety of the women’s organizations that formed in the mid to late 19th century, particularly in the northeast, where archival records are generally better preserved and more readily accessible via libraries and institutions providing research fellowships to visiting scholars. Understandably, much of the earlier scholarship on women and social reform targeted the most pressing issues of the 19th century: abolitionism, temperance, prison reform, suffrage, the peace movement, and the like. Other scholars – Catherine Hobbs, Joan Marie Johnson, Catherine Kerrison,  Anastatia Sims, and  Elizabeth Hayes Turner – just to name a few, have expanded the study of women’s clubs and activism beyond the northeast. In addition, scholars like Mary Kelley have pursued research that examines not just what women were doing in their clubs, but what they were reading and writing as well. This avenue of research into the intellectual lives of American women via their literary clubs and mental improvement societies particularly invites additional contributions from literary historians and women’s studies scholars. This work challenges us to take seriously SSAWW as a venue for showcasing work on “women writers” not just “women authors.” This panel invites paper proposals that examine the intersection of women’s reading, writing and reform work during the long nineteenth century.

Email paper proposals to Cynthia Patterson at by January 1, 2015. Please include a 250-500 word abstract and a brief CV (no more than 2 pages), that includes rank/status , institutional affiliation, publications and conference presentations. All proposal materials should be both pasted into the text of the email and included as attachments (preferably in Word format).