CMSS Members Patricia Kalayjian, Deborah Gussman, and Lucinda Damon-Bach were recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to pursue the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Online Letters Project. Their project entitled, “The Letters of American Novelist Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1867): An Online Edition” was funded in the NEH’s August 2019 award cycle. Read more on the NEH website.
Redwood is the only one of Sedgwick’s six major novels that has not yet been published in a modern, scholarly edition.
Expected Release February/March 2021
Redwood, A Tale. (originally published in 1824 in two volumes; Sedgwick’s second novel; republished in 1850 in one volume with some revisions).
New edition edited and with an introduction by Jenifer B. Elmore. With extensive annotations and appendices. Editorial assistant: Rachel Sakrisson.
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Series: Edinburgh Critical Editions of Nineteenth-Century Texts
Series editor: Julian Wolfries
CALL FOR PAPERS
2019 American Literature Association Conference,
May 23-26, 2019, Westin Copley Hotel, Boston, MA
Send 200 word abstracts to Lisa West, firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2019.
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society is sponsoring a panel on:
Catharine Maria Sedgwick and the Gothic or Supernatural
While Sedgwick is associated with Federalist politics, reason, republican sensibility, and moral leadership, her writings do venture into the gothic, the uncanny, the supernatural, and the enchanted. This panel will explore the underexamined ways Sedgwick uses the gothic and the supernatural in her fiction and other writings. Panelists are encouraged to consider ways she responds to a transatlantic gothic tradition or to think about the religious supernatural. Panelists can build on ideas and papers presented at 2018 ALA or SSAWW. Papers are also welcome on writers who are contemporaries of Sedgwick, such as Washington Irving or Lydia Maria Child. Send 200-word abstracts to Lisa West, email@example.com by January 15, 2019.
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society is sponsoring a roundtable on:
Sedgwick’s Letters: Material Letters, Transcribed Letters, Fictional Letters, Digitized Letters
This roundtable will put the exciting work of the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Online Letter (CMSOL) Project in conversation with theoretical approaches to “the letter” in a variety of contexts. CMSOL is an ongoing initiative with the goal of making the correspondence of Sedgwick held at the Massachusetts Historical Society publicly available in digitized form. This project is significant not only in developing the scholarly infrastructure of Sedgwick Studies but also in linking archives, scholars, and the general public. The project raises numerous ethical and pragmatic issues about reading, transcribing, and editing letters. We welcome short presentations on Sedgwick’s (or her contemporaries’) personal letters, letters embedded within novels, letters from abroad, or references to letters. Scholarly challenges in working with letters or family papers also welcome, as are presentations that consider the role of letter-writing within a broader literary culture. Send 200-word abstracts to Lisa West, firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2019.
Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference, Denver, CO
November 7-11, 2018
Call for Papers:
“Resisting Readers and Resisting Narrators within Sedgwick’s Works”
Many of Sedgwick’s popular short writings are didactic in nature, leading readers toward desired, mostly conventional responses. If Judith Fetterley valued the “resisting reader of texts, where can we find that message within Sedgwick’s writing? How are characters themselves resisting readers – and what kind of texts do they resist? Are there multiple layers or dynamics of resistance within a text? And what about the narrators? In novels, Sedgwick often subverts the traditional didactic narrator voice, at times folding narration into letters, and at other times experimenting with other devices that destabilize the narrative voice. How does this narrative function challenge readers?
Ideally, this panel will not only explore instances of resistance but also consider reading and textuality in innovative ways. In turn, these questions about reading and the nature of texts can influence the steps we take in recovering the work of Sedgwick and others: what texts we choose, how we present them to 21st century readers, and how we consider nontraditional forms of textuality or nontraditional methods of access.
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society is open to proposals that address writers other than Sedgwick if they otherwise fit the prompt.
Please send questions and 200-word abstracts to Lisa West, email@example.com by February 10, 2018.
Call for Papers
American Literature Association Conference
San Francisco, CA May 24-27, 2018
SESSION 1: Roundtable: Sedgwick and American Enchantment
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society calls for 5-7 scholars to participate in a roundtable discussion of Michelle Sizemore’s recently published American Enchantment: Rituals of the People in the Post-Revolutionary World (Oxford UP, November 2017). Participants do not need to focus on the discussions of Sedgwick in the final chapter but instead can address Sizemore’s treatment of any of the central authors (such as Hawthorne, Irving, Brackenridge, and Brown); the significance of this scholarship for Sedgwick Studies; and/or key issues in Sizemore’s work, such as thinking of “the people” as a process rather than as a substance or understanding “enchantment” as a contingent state of embodied cognition.
A description of the book is as follows: The demise of the monarchy and the bodily absence of a King caused a representational crisis in the early republic, forcing the American people to reconstruct the social symbolic order in a new and unfamiliar way. Social historians have routinely understood the Revolution and the early republic as projects dedicated to and productive of reason, with “the people” as an orderly and sensible collective at odds with the volatile and unthinking crowd. American Enchantment rejects this traditionally held vision of a rational public sphere, arguing that early Americans dealt with the post-monarchical crisis by engaging in “civil mysticism,” not systematic discussion and debate. By evaluating a wide range of social and political rituals and literary and cultural discourses, Sizemore shows how “enchantment” becomes a vital mode of enacting the people after the demise of traditional monarchical forms. In works by Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, Catharine Sedgwick, and Nathaniel Hawthorne–as well as in Delaware oral histories, accounts of George Washington’s inauguration, and Methodist conversion narratives–enchantment is an experience uniquely capable of producing new forms of popular power and social affiliation. Recognizing the role of enchantment in constituting the people overturns some of the most common-sense assumptions in the post-revolutionary world: above all, that the people are not simply a flesh-and-blood substance, but also a mystical force.
Please send a brief abstract (200 words) outlining your intended focus in the roundtable to Lisa West, firstname.lastname@example.org, by January 15, 2018.
SESSION 2: Panel: Sedgwick (and others) Beyond Unitarianism
The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society seeks papers that invite discussion of religion in Sedgwick’s life and writing. In particular, the society hopes to complicate an understanding of Sedgwick’s Unitarian beliefs; call attention to her use of a variety of religious affiliations and doctrines; consider the role of secularism in her work; and investigate connections between religion, education, morality, and fiction. Papers that address contemporaries of Sedgwick, particularly other women writers or religious theorists, will also be considered.
Please send an abstract of 250 words to Lisa West, email@example.com, by January 15, 2018.
Transatlantic Women 3: Women of the Green Atlantic
Dublin, Ireland Royal Irish Academy
21-22 June 2018
Sponsored by the Catherine Maria Sedgwick Society and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society
“Since every wind that blows brings to our shores a fresh swarm of these people, who are to form so potent an element in our future national character, it behooves us to study them well, and make the best we can of them.”
Catharine Sedgwick, “The Little Mendicants” (1846)
The third meeting of Transatlantic Women will take place in Dublin, Ireland, on 21-22 June 2018 at the Royal Irish Academy. It will focus on Irish/American crosscurrents of the long nineteenth century, on the transatlantic stream of writers, reformers, and immigrants crossing over the Green Atlantic who were engaged in refuting but also perpetuating stereotypes and racist beliefs that troubled Irish-American relations. Such authors as Catharine Sedgwick, for instance, wrestled with contradictory conceptions created of Irish immigrants who appear in many of her writings, including “Irish Girl” (1842) and “The Post Office: An Irish Story” (1843). In a different context, “An Affectionate and Christian Address of Many Thousands of Women” (1852) pointedly addressed American women as the “sisters” of women from both Great Britain and Ireland; although Harriet Beecher Stowe never traveled to Ireland, she met deputations from that country during her first visit to Europe (1853). In “What Is a Home?” (1864) and “Servants” (1865), she expressed concerns about the Irish in the United States similar to those of Sedgwick.
This transatlantic gathering will celebrate, and question, nineteenth-century women who crossed the Green Atlantic, wrote about it, or in other ways connected the United States with Ireland through networks, translations, transatlantic fame, or influence. As Peter D. O’Neill and David Lloyd demonstrate in The Black and Green Atlantic: Cross-Currents of the African and Irish Diasporas (2009), people from Ireland, as well as from Africa and the United States, crossed the Atlantic as slaves and servants, as cultural and political exiles or activists. Many women, active in travel writing, pamphleteering, writing fiction, newspaper articles, speeches, fairy tales, and ghost stories, were promoters of women’s rights and the figure of the New Woman, and were engaged in philanthropy, temperance, abolitionism, social commentary—and simply just in sightseeing and enjoying themselves. Among the most prominent figures to build bridges between the United States and Ireland around activism are such well-known Americans as Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony (on the Irish Question), Frances Willard, Ellen Craft, Ida B. Wells, and the Irish Frances Power Cobbe; among those who have received less attention are, for example, the African American Sarah Parker Remond and the poet Frances Osgood. And the exchange went both ways: fiction by Irish writer Maria Edgeworth, for instance, influenced Sedgwick, among others.
The Transatlantic Women 3 conference brings together scholars representing various countries and disciplines to examine the ways in which these women and their ideas moved, how they resisted oppression and created new ways to conceptualize their identities and the reality surrounding them. We welcome presentations on any topic related to nineteenth-century transatlantic women but are especially interested in those dealing with women of the Irish- American nexus. Some of the key concepts include race, stereotypes, assimilation, immigrant reality; conceptualization of space, distance, and identity; movement, and memory—historical and personal.
Topics include, but are not limited to:
- recovering voices of Irish-Americans, or American-Irish women
- struggles of immigrant women
- women pioneers, in professions, activism, innovation
- female networks and sisterhoods—of writers, journalists, travelers
- women activists (abolitionism, anti-lynching, temperance, women’s rights, peace, white
slavery, reform, animal rights)
- women travelers and their descriptive gaze
- fictional and realistic descriptions of places, people, and societies
- women’s articulations of transatlanticism and the Green Atlantic
Abstracts, which should be about 250 words, and a short bio, are due by 1 November 2017. They should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to yet another stimulating transatlantic conversation with you!
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of the organizers:
Beth L. Lueck (email@example.com), Sirpa Salenius (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Lucinda Damon-Bach (email@example.com).
As we head toward the 150th anniversary of Catharine Sedgwick’s death and the 20th anniversary of the CMS Society in 2017, we invite proposals for the following panel for ALA 2017:
Session #1: TIME, MEMORIALS AND ANNIVERSARIES (3 or 4 15 to 20-minute papers):
How is “time” referenced in Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s writings? Does her sense of time seem consistent at moments with Wordsworth’s “spots of time”? Is there more that can be said about her “anachronistic imaginings,” to take a phrase from Jeffrey Insko’s 2004 essay, “Anachronistic Imaginings: Hope Leslie’s Challenge to Historicism?” What about her attention to memory, memorials, and monuments, and how space and visual culture relate to notions of time? What about anniversaries, rituals and annual or seasonal celebrations? This panel invites proposals on these and other issues related to the perception of time, the passage of time, and the celebration of times past in Sedgwick’s writings or the writings of her contemporaries.
I want to remind readers that the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society is holding its 8th symposium in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, June 7-10, 2017, celebrating both the 150th anniversary of Sedgwick’s death and the 20th anniversary of the CMS Society. The focus for the symposium is “Where and When: Evolving Concepts of Place, Space, and Time in the Writings of Sedgwick and Her Contemporaries.” There is potential to have meaningful overlap between the May ALA panel and the June symposium. The Society asks that participants do not deliver exactly the same paper at both events but encourages work that connects papers between the different forums or initiates an ongoing conversation.
ALA will be held May 25-28, 2017 (Thursday to Sunday of Memorial Day weekend) at Westin Copley Place in Boston, MA.
DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS: January 15, 2017
Please send abstracts to Lisa West, V.P. for External Conferences, CMS Society: firstname.lastname@example.org