CFP: A Collection of Essays on Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins (Abstracts due 9.16.16)

CFP: A Collection of Essays on Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins 

Essays are sought for an edited collection focused on the life and work of Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, to be submitted to the University of Georgia Press.  As surprising as it may seem given Hopkins’s significance as novelist, editor, and public intellectual, the only collection of critical essays devoted exclusively to her is John Gruesser’ s important collection, The Unruly Voice (1996).  Since then, however, there has been a steady and increasing stream of interest in Hopkins’s work on The Colored American Magazine and her four novels.  Moreover, very recent essays and a paper presentation have revealed that Of One Blood, Winona and Hagar’s Daughter employ verbatim passages along with character and plot structures from dozens of popular texts, constituting about 20% of each novel (Sanborn 2015, Pavletich 2016, Dembowitz 2016).  This new research has barely begun to address the multitude of questions raised by the new knowledge.  For example, what are the various and specific effects of this compositional strategy? Given that her appropriations could have caused her serious problems if made public, what might have impelled her decisions? Is Contending Forces composed in a similar fashion? Lois Brown (2008) observes that Hopkins also “manipulated her genealogy for dramatic effect.  She merged her maternal family lines [and] blurred her actual relationship to [her] forefathers.” Hopkins’s plagiaristic practice may go beyond textual construction and include a self-conscious construction of identity that has not yet been explored.  Finally, in light of the news that William Wells Brown employed a very similar writing practice appropriating “at least 87,000 words from at least 282 texts” (Sanborn 2016), how might we need to re-evaluate nineteenth-century African American intertextuality?


While essays on Hopkins’s “inspired borrowings” (Brown) that grapple with the complexities of her intertextual practices are especially welcome, work on The Colored American Magazine, Hopkins’s early theatrical career, and the broad spectrum of literary, cultural, political, and theoretical issues related to her work and person are also important. This collection hopes to represent a wide range of perspectives on all the personae Hopkins inhabited.


Essays should be between seven and eleven thousand words and employ the MLA style of documentation. 


300-word proposals that include a brief statement on the current status of the proposed essay and a CV are due by September 16, 2016.


Full drafts will be due by January 15, 2017.


Direct all inquiries and proposals to JoAnn Pavletich,