CFP: “Forms of Resistance: Women’s Family Letters of the Early Americas”
How do the letters of women of the early Americas, in particular those to family members, reveal ways in which they resisted the various strictures and obstacles that defined their lives? Given the limitations on female authorship, letters were one of the few ways women could articulate their desires, anxieties, and struggles. Especially when writing to relations—correspondence typically marked by higher levels of familiarity and trust—letters present opportunities for authentic reflection about matters both public and private. In these, women could reveal truths about their lives that might otherwise have gone unexpressed. They can reveal aspirations, a political/social/cultural consciousness, and even various forms of trauma. In addition, it is in their private letters that many women have been recovered who might otherwise never have been known; that these texts are generally not anthologized means our awareness of them continues to be precarious. This session will examine women’s family letters of the early Americas as sites of resistance and recovery, in keeping with the conference theme. Letters up to approximately 1830 and from any geographical area in the early Americas will be considered. Proposals about the letters of women from marginalized groups are especially welcome. Please send 300-word proposals and a brief bio to Mary Balkun firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 9th.