2022 Symposium

Catharine Maria Sedgwick Symposium:

Two Centuries of Sedgwick

The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

June 8-11, 2022 (Wednesday to Saturday)

Announced 26 Oct. 2021

The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society invites submissions for its ninth symposium, Two Centuries of Sedgwick, celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of the beginning of Sedgwick’s professional writing career in 1822.

The symposium will be held June 8-11, 2022, at the Red Lion Inn in Sedgwick’s picturesque hometown of Stockbridge, Massachusetts—just down the street from the Sedgwick family’s historic home. The town and the surrounding Berkshire Mountains region of western Massachusetts and northeastern New York supplied settings for Sedgwick’s first two novels and many of her shorter works. Her immediate family and their descendants were prominent citizens of the region who have made important contributions in the fields of law, politics, education, and the arts from the revolutionary era to the present day.

Gretchen Murphy, Professor of English at the University of Texas-Austin, will serve as the keynote speaker for the symposium. Murphy is the author most recently of New England Women Writers, Secularity, and the Federalist Politics of Church and State (Oxford, 2021). Her other works include Shadowing the White Man’s Burden: U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line (NYU Press, 2010) and Hemispheric Imaginings: The Monroe Doctrine and Narratives of U.S. Empire (Duke UP, 2005).

The organizers invite proposals for papers that address any aspect of Sedgwick’s life and works, the works of Sedgwick’s contemporaries, or the Sedgwick family’s ties to the Berkshire region. They particularly encourage papers on the following topics:

  • the reception, interpretation and appreciation of Sedgwick’s works over time
  • Sedgwick’s first novel, A New-England Tale (1822)
  • Sedgwick’s second novel, Redwood (1824)
  • Strategies for teaching the works of Sedgwick and her contemporaries
  • Nineteenth-century U.S. women’s literature in the digital age

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to Jenifer Elmore at Jenifer_Elmore@pba.edu by December 15, 2021.

NOTE:  All proposals that were originally accepted for presentation at the 2020 Sedgwick Symposium in Schenectady, New York (which was postponed and eventually cancelled because of the pandemic) will be accepted for the 2022 symposium.

Revolutionary Legacies: The Ninth Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society Symposium

[June 2021 Symposium reimagined and rescheduled for June 2022]

June 17-19, 2021

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 17-19 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 RedwoodClarence, 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: HamiltonTurnTabooSleepy HollowPoldark, 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 (akreed@vt.edu) by February 24, 2020 (first deadline). Due to the postponement of the 2020 Symposium, we will re-open the call for papers in the coming months to allow for additional submissions before our 2021 symposium.