SSAWW Pacific Northwest

UBC is honoured to be hosting the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers’ Fall 2017 meeting on Saturday October 21 (2017).

This workshop, organized by Dr. Mary Chapman (Department of English, University of British Columbia) will be attended by graduate students and professors from UBC and other universities in the Pacific Northwest.

The SSAWW, one of the oldest feminist literary scholarly associations in North America, has been hosting semi-annual workshops/reading group meetings since the 1980s. Since its founding, regional chapters (Northeast, Southwest, Pacific Northwest) have been established that also meet twice yearly to discuss new scholarship and newly recovered literary works by American women writers. This will be the first time that any of these groups will meet in Canada.

This meeting will be devoted to a discussion of the work of Ella Rhoads Higginson (1862-1940), guided by invited scholar Dr. Laura Laffrado (Western Washington University).

The first prominent literary author from the Pacific Northwest, Higginson has been largely forgotten as a key American writer. At the turn from the nineteenth century into the twentieth century, readers across the continent were introduced to the remote Pacific Northwest region (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alaska) by Higginson’s descriptions of majestic mountains, vast forests, and scenic waters, as well as her explorations of indigenous cultures and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Higginson was celebrated for her award-winning popular fiction, nonfiction, and lyric poetry, which was set to music and performed internationally. She held the distinguished position as the first Poet Laureate of Washington State. Throughout her literary career, Higginson published nearly one thousand works in leading magazines and newspapers, while also writing books, including the novel Mariella, of Out-West(1902) and the nonfiction work Alaska, the Great Country (1908). Higginson’s reputation faded chiefly due to her singular position as a turn-of-the-century writer of the Pacific Northwest, far from other regions and writers at the time.

Thank you to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and UBC’s Faculty of Arts for their support of this workshop.

Organized by Mary Chapman
Department of English
VancouverBC Canada V6T1Z1

SSAWW Spring 2016 Newsletter now available

The Spring 2016 SSAWW Newsletter is available here:

SSAWW 17-1 Spring 2016

Please welcome our new officers as of July 31, 2016:


  • President: DoVeanna S. Fulton, University of Houston-Downtown, (single term) (term ends 2018).
  • Vice President of Organizational Matters: Sabrina Starnaman, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Leslie Allison, Temple University (single term; 2017) (supporting Conference Director)
  • Rickie-Ann Legleitner, Black Hills State University (single term; 2017) (supporting Associate Conference Director)
  • Vice President of Membership and Finances: Magda Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Vice President of Development: Christopher Varlack, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Vice President of Publications—Leslie Allison, Temple University
  • Jordan L. Von Cannon, Louisiana State University (single term; 2017) (supporting VP for Publications)

New Books: Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay: An Annotated Edition. Edited by Timothy F. Jackson, with an Introduction by Holly Peppe

millaySelected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay: An Annotated Edition
Edited by Timothy F. Jackson, with an Introduction by Holly Peppe

Yale University Press, 2016.

In this authoritative volume, Timothy F. Jackson has compiled and annotated a new selection that represents the full range of her published work alongside previously unpublished manuscript excerpts, poems, prose, and correspondence. The poems, appearing as they were printed in their first editions, are complemented by Jackson’s extensive, illuminating notes, which draw on archival sources and help situate her work in its historical and literary context. Two introductory essays—one by Jackson and the other by Millay’s literary executor, Holly Peppe—also help critically frame the poet’s work.

New Books: Native Women and Land: Narratives of Dispossession and Resurgence by Stephanie J. Fitzgerald

nativeNative Women and Land: Narratives of Dispossession and Resurgence.
Stephanie J. Fitzgerald

Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2015

Winner of the 2015 Woodcraft Circle Honor and Award for Best Academic Book and just recently, the Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies (awarded by the Native American Literature Symposium).

New Books: Emotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy by Melanie V. Dawson

emotionalEmotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy

Melanie V. Dawson
University of Michigan Press, 2015
Focusing on representational approaches to emotion during the years of American literary realism’s dominance and in the works of such authors as Edith Wharton, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, W. D. Howells, Charles Chesnutt, and others, Emotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy contends that emotional representations were central to the self-conscious construction of high realism (in the mid-1880s) and to the interrogation of its boundaries. Based on realist-era authors’ rejection of “sentimentalism” and its reduction of emotional diversity (a tendency to stress what Karen Sanchez-Eppler has described as sentimental fiction’s investment in “overcoming difference”), Melanie Dawson argues that realist-era investments in emotional detail were designed to confront differences of class, gender, race, and circumstance directly. She explores the ways in which representational practices that approximate scientific methods often led away from scientific theories and rejected rigid attempts at creating emotional taxonomies. She argues that ultimately realist-era authors demonstrated a new investment in individuated emotional histories and experiences that sought to honor all affective experiences on their own terms.

New Books: Mary Austin, Santa Lucia: A Common Story (1908). Introduction by Maribel Morales

Mary Aaustin_cover_resizeustin, Santa Lucia: A Common Story (1908)

Introduction by Maribel Morales

Hastings College Press, 2016

Set in a small college town in California, Mary Austin’s 1908 novel Santa Lucia explores the limited options available to women in early 20th century America. Focusing on the married lives of three young women—William Caldwell, Serena Lindley, and Julia Stairs—the novel is a feminist look at marriage. Like Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel The Awakening, Santa Lucia was almost resoundingly rejected by critics in its own day for the seemingly immoral suggestion that women could find happiness and fulfillment outside their own marriages.

The Hastings College Press website is:

New Books: Dividing the Reservation: Alice C. Fletcher’s Nez Perce Allotment Diaries and Letters, 1889 – 1892 by Nicole Tonkovich

DividngtheRes-144pxDividing the Reservation: Alice C. Fletcher’s Nez Perce Allotment Diaries and Letters, 1889 – 1892

Nicole Tonkovich

Washington State University Press, 2016

Alice Cunningham Fletcher was both formidable and remarkable. A pioneering ethnologist who penetrated occupations dominated by men, she was the first woman to hold an endowed chair at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology–during a time the institution did not admit female students. She helped write the Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887 that reshaped American Indian policy, and became one of the first women to serve as a federal Indian agent, working with the Omahas, the Winnebagos, and finally the Nez Perces. A commanding presence, Fletcher worked from a specialized tent that served as home and office, traveling with copies of laws, rolls of maps, and blank plats. She spent four summers on the project, completing close to 2,000 allotments.

This book is a collection of letters and diaries Fletcher wrote during this work. Her writing illuminates her relations with the key players in the allotment, as well as her internal conflicts over dividing the reservation. Taken together, these documents offer insight into how federal policy was applied, resisted, and amended in this early application of the Dawes General Allotment Act.

New Books: Knowing, Seeing, Being: Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and the American Typological Tradition Jennifer L. Leader

knowingKnowing, Seeing, Being: Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and the American Typological Tradition
Jennifer L. Leader

Amherst: U of Massachusetts Press, 2016

In Knowing, Seeing, Being, Jennifer L. Leader argues that Edwards, the nineteenth-century poet Emily Dickinson, and the twentieth-century poet Marianne Moore share a heretofore underrecognized set of religious and philosophical preoccupations. She contends that they represent an alternative tradition within American literature, one that differs from Transcendentalism and is grounded in Reformed Protestantism and its ways of reading and interpreting the King James Bible and the natural world. According to Leader, these three writers’ most significant commonality is the Protestant tradition of typology, a rigorous mode of interpreting scripture and nature through which certain figures or phenomena are read as the fulfillment of prophecy and of God’s work.

New Books: Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them, ed. Christine Miller

dickinson1Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them
Christine Miller

Harvard University Press, 2016

Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them is a major new edition of Dickinson’s verse intended for the scholar, student, and general reader. This is the only edition of Dickinson’s complete poems to distinguish in easy visual form the approximately 1,100 poems she took pains to copy carefully onto folded sheets in fair hand—arguably to preserve them for posterity—from the poems she kept in rougher form or apparently did not retain. Readers can see, and determine for themselves, the extent to which a poem is resolved or fluid. Soon there will be a link on the Emily Dickinson Archive ( ) so that users may see the manuscripts in fascicle order and unbound sheets.

New Books: Westerns: A Women’s History by Victoria Lamont

westernsWesterns: A Women’s History

Victoria Lamont

Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016

At every turn in the development of what we now know as the western, women writers have been instrumental in its formation. Yet the myth that the western is male-authored persists. Westerns: A Women’s History debunks this myth once and for all by recovering the women writers of popular westerns who were active during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the western genre as we now know it emerged.,677181.aspx