Revolutionary Legacies: The Ninth Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society Symposium
June 24-27, 2020
Union College, Schenectady, New York
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society invites submissions for its ninth symposium, titled Revolutionary Legacies. The Symposium will take place June 24-27 on the beautiful campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York, and will honor both the Sedgwick family’s ties to the Albany and Hudson River regions and the area’s role in America’s many revolutions.
Although Catharine Sedgwick is strongly associated with the Berkshires region of Massachusetts, the Albany region was important to her family as well. Her father, Theodore Sedgwick, had strong ties to Philip Schuyler, who served as a General in the Revolutionary War and whose grand mansion looms over the Hudson River, and to Alexander Hamilton, one of Schuyler’s sons-in-law. Catharine’s brother Theodore practiced law in Albany and her sister Frances lived there with her husband. Catharine herself briefly attended school in the city and as an adult visited frequently, including passing through on her way to Saratoga Springs and points west and north. Sedgwick often portrayed the Albany and Hudson River Valley region in her fiction: characters in Redwood, Clarence, and The Travellers reside in or travel through it. Most significantly, in her Revolutionary War novel The Linwoods, Sedgwick locates key events in the Hudson River Valley.
The organizers of the Sedgwick Symposium invite papers that address any aspect of Sedgwick’s life and works, including but not limited to Catharine’s or her family’s ties to Albany and the Hudson River Valley. We also welcome proposals on other topics connected to the area or to the conference theme. Potential topics might include:
- Literary engagements with the American Revolution by Sedgwick or other authors—including non-US authors
- Women’s participation in the American Revolution, including nonwhite women’s experiences of war
- Travel and tourism in New York and Canada in the era of the “fashionable tour”
- Immigration, settlement, and native displacement in upstate New York
- Abolitionism, women’s rights, and other reforms (2020 is the centennial of the 19th Amendment, with its roots in nearby Seneca Falls)
- Religious revolutions of the Second Great Awakening, including those in New York’s “burnt-over district”
- Dutch colonial legacies in early U.S. literature
- Slavery and its aftermath in the state of New York
- Women’s education in the early republic and antebellum America
- Arts and culture of the Hudson Valley region, from the Hudson River School to today
- The American Revolution in recent popular culture: Hamilton, Turn, Taboo, Sleepy Hollow, Poldark, etc.
- Strategies for teaching the works of Sedgwick and her contemporaries
- Early American literature in the digital age
Send proposals of no more than 250 words to Ashley Reed (firstname.lastname@example.org) by February 17, 2020.