CFP – Lydia Maria Child Society at ALA 2016 (Deadline 01.10.16)

Call for Papers:  Lydia Maria Child Society at ALA 2016 Deadline 01.10.16

The Lydia Maria Child Society (LMCS) welcomes proposals on the topic “‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Lydia Maria Child?’:  Principles at Heart and at Work” for a panel to be held at the annual American Literature Association conference in San Francisco, CA, 26 – 29 May 2016 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco (

At the core of Lydia Maria Child’s myriad roles as woman, writer, editor, intellectual, and human rights activist lay her deep conviction in social responsibility, a principle embedded and perpetuated within nineteenth-century American reforms in religion, education, temperance, as well as in rights for women, African Americans, and Native Americans.  While Child sought to evoke and instill this principle widely throughout her career—from selecting pedagogically appropriate texts for the children’s magazine Juvenile Miscellany to championing Native rights in political pamphlets—her interventions in public discourse triggered reactions ranging from admiring approbation to social ostracism and thus have prompted the question that provides this panel’s focus.

LMCS seeks papers that explore the connections between Lydia Maria Child and problem-solving within the literary marketplace to flesh out and complicate our understanding of social responsibility—its meanings, risks, benefits, and opportunities—in Child’s lifetime and, perhaps, our own.  Toward that end, we suggest papers that consider or play with the following ideas, either narrowly or broadly construed (though they are by no means exhaustive):

·         What is unique about Child’s textual approach(es) to fostering social responsibility in children? wives and mothers?  intellectual colleagues?  the reading public?  How did her techniques influence her contemporaries and their own ideas about or techniques within public discourse?  What might we learn from those choices, and/or how might we apply them in our own time?

·         How did Child navigate the intertwined worlds of public and private as she promoted principles of civic integrity?  What might we learn from the ways in which she handled personal/professional adversity?

·         What if the problem were perceived to be Child herself?  What charges did her detractors level against her and to what end(s)?  How did Child and/or her contemporaries respond to critics’ attacks?  How might we best learn from their experiences?

Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief CV to Sandy Burr at by 10 January 2016