CFP: Sedgwick Society at SSAWW 2021

Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society at SSAWW 2021

Gender and Genre in the Long Nineteenth Century
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society seeks papers that explore intersections of gender and genre in American writing from the early republic through the postbellum period. As women writers increasingly entered the literary marketplace after the American Revolution, they embraced a broad array of fiction and nonfiction genres. Economic and social pressures often—though not always—pushed women toward domestic romance and religious narrative and away from genres considered masculine, even as male authors participated in sentimental and reform discourse in genres like the temperance novel and the escaped slave narrative. Meanwhile, anonymous and pseudonymous publication sometimes enabled authors to step beyond the gendered boundaries patrolled by editors and publishers. This panel will showcase recent work that explores gendered aspects of literary genre—or literary aspects of gender—in the nineteenth century. Pedagogical approaches to gender and genre are welcome.
Send 200-word abstracts to Ashley Reed ( by February 15, 2021.

Illness, Disability, Death, and Survival in the Writings of Catharine Maria Sedgwick and Her Contemporaries
Though the times we are living in may be unprecedented for us, financial crisis, political instability, and epidemic disease were regular occurrences for Americans of the early nineteenth century, who experienced debilitating illness, lifelong disability, and early death as everyday facts of life. The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society seeks papers that address these and other questions as they are explored in the work of Sedgwick and her contemporaries:

  • How did the experience of illness produce, shape, or inhibit authorship in the nineteenth century?
  • How did nineteenth-century authors thematize illness, disability, death, and survival in their writing? 
  • How do nursing and other forms of caregiving figure in the writing of nineteenth-century Americans? 
  • How has recent scholarship on disability changed our understanding of nineteenth-century writing?
  • As teachers of nineteenth-century texts, how do we treat illness, disability, and death in the college classroom?
  • Does nineteenth-century writing on illness and death offer resources for us as readers, scholars, and teachers living through COVID-19?

Send 200-word abstracts to Ashley Reed ( by February 15, 2021.