CFP: Cross-Currents: the Indian Novels of Elizabeth Oakes Smith (Deadline: 12.28.2017)

 Cross-Currents:  the Indian Novels of Elizabeth Oakes Smith

A Special Session for the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco May 24-27, 2018

While it remains important to continue to re-locate Oakes Smith’s place in cultural conversations of her time—for example, relating recently recovered novels such as The Western Captive to other representations of Native Americans in the 1830s and 40s, or to other antebellum representations of women—one of the next steps in the full-scale recovery of Elizabeth Oakes Smith is the tracing of a variety of elements within, between or among her own works as they were published in the nineteenth century.   How did Oakes-Smith’s writing change over the course of her career in response to different audiences, changing political conditions, or even stylistically in her development as a prosewriter?

Using Caroline Woidat’s recent work on The Western Captive (1842) as a starting point, the proposed panel would reveal the complexity and development of Oakes Smith’s professional situation, her political aims, and literary strategies in her “Indian” novels, specifically—at least two of which (The Sagamore of Saco and The Bald Eagle) appeared in markedly different forms during her career.   Papers might focus on the following topics, among others:

Representations/Rhetorical Positioning of Native Americans

Figures of Female Adoption/Assimilation

Transcendentalist Philosophy/Representations of Nature

Representations of Masculinity

Writing for the Masses (“Books for the People”/Beadle’s Dime Novel series)

Explorations/Revisions of “American” History

Internal Colonization


Warring Parties

The Native/American Hero

Frontiers/Liminal Spaces

Novels, Nation and Indian Policy

Maps, Place and Geography


Marriage and Miscegenation

Women on the Frontier

Animal Symbolism/Animal Violence

Please send 250 word abstracts with relevant portions of your c.v. to Timothy H. Scherman ( by December 28, 2017.   Links to available forms of these texts will be available at our website, by November 21.  Please circulate this CFP as widely as possible.