CALL FOR PAPERS: LYDIA MARIA CHILD SOCIETY AT ALA 2016
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
· 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
firstname.lastname@example.org by 17 JANUARY 2016.