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Seminar Room, Hyde Hall

The deadline for all roundtable paper proposals is February 1, 2017.


Women Writers, Activism, and the Political Challenges of our own Time
Moderator: Paula Feldman (University of South Carolina)


“Harriet Martineau in the 21st Century: What Next?”
Moderator: Deborah Logan (Western Kentucky University)

The career of Harriet Martineau (1802-76) spanned a half century, her writing providing vivid reflections of the spirit of an age marked by social reform movements and British imperial expansion. A prolific writer by any standard, Martineau offers an early example of interdisciplinary perspectives on an era credited with solidifying strict disciplinary boundaries that excluded the contributions of informally educated women. From creative writing (poetry, short stories, novels, children’s literature, and even song lyrics) to travel writing, from sociology to contemporary history, from philosophy to theology, from disabilities studies to environmentalism, and from political economy to periodicals writing on a vast array of national and international topics – Martineau was one of the most representative and widely-published voices of the era. What is her status today? And what should it be?

Martineau scholarship started to take shape after her posthumous Autobiography (1877): initial biographies featured eye-witness accounts of her life and work, while early 20th-century biographers claimed her as a pre-first-wave feminist. R.K. Webb’s polarizing 1960 scholarly biography sparked a renaissance in Martineau studies, including new editions of her work and a wealth of critical assessments of her contributions to literary and intellectual history, all attesting to the impact of a writer who represented her time and anticipated ours.

As we go deeper into the uncharted waters of digitization, and as traditional, scholarly hardcopy editions of Martineau’s long out-of-print work seem less likely to happen, where should we – as scholars of women’s history, of women’s literature, of Victorian studies, of modern feminism and feminist fore-mothers, of disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies – where should we be directing our energies on her behalf? How can we and should we promote traditional scholarship while also harnessing the potential of virtual resources to make available to new generations the work of one of the foremost intellectual women of the nineteenth century? Martineau thought deeply and had much to say and to write: how can we as scholars and teachers most effectively make her insights available to 21st-century students and thinkers? Please send proposals to deborah.logan@wku.edu.


“Women’s Transnationality and Literary Forms”: Hill Ballroom North, Carolina Inn
Moderator: Linda K. Hughes (Texas Christian University)

“Transnationality” is a term increasingly used for interests and mobilities that cross national borders and for interactive relations with one or more cultures. If this scholarly focus emerges from an increasingly globalized world, the generational legacies of women writers’ transnationality are especially timely after recent votes in the US and UK indicate a turning inward among many to nationalist identities. Transnationlity’s related terms include cultural transfer (or transmission/exchange), cosmopolitanism, and postcolonialism, all of which involve fluid movements in languages, identities, and concepts as well as physical and subjective experiences. Transnationality rejects unilateral action and invites the ostensibly “foreign” into texts, subjectivities, and experiences.

I invite roundtable participants to probe forms of women’s transnationality and its visible residues in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women’s textual forms. How is the experience of transnationality registered? When is the eruption of nonAnglophone language an incorporation of another culture or a signifier of privileged education? Can glossaries or other disruptions of narrative travel writing suggest dispositions to learn from other lands (rather than ethnographic documentation)? When do translations help women reinvent new Anglophone literary forms? Can encounters with “foreign” foods create innovations in the forms as well as ingredients of food or other literary writing? How do inscriptions of transnationality modulate across class, ethnicity, genres, and generations of British women writers?  All approaches to the topic are welcome. Send 200-300-word proposals and a brief bio to l.hughes@tcu.edu by January 15, 2017.


“Revisiting the Marriage Plot”: Hill Ballroom South, Carolina Inn
Moderator: Kathy Psomiades (Duke University)

Over the past ten years, there’s been a general rethinking of how we write about marriage and kinship in the 19th century—one thinks of work by Sharon Marcus, Mary Jean Corbett, Elsie Michie, Talia Schaffer, Claire Jarvis—to name only a few of the scholars who have given us a fresh view of these concepts.  This workshop is  interested in how changing conceptions of marriage and kinship over the past twenty-five years have changed how we read marriage plots, as well as in how changes to how we read marriage plots—how we periodize and nationalize for example—have altered the ways in which we conceive of marriage and kinship. Topics covered so far include the role the work of Decadent women writers (Michael Field, Ada Leverson) played in early-twentieth century rethinking of marriage and family,  what happens to periodical form, the marriage plot and the nineteenth-century British woman writer when we broaden our spatial and temporal conceptions of what constitutes the nineteenth-century (Margaret Oliphant, Moto Naoko) and how 19th century woman writers use Victorian anthropology to think about marriage.

If you’re interested in having your work considered for this roundtable, please email Kathy Psomiades at kpsomiad@duke.edu with a brief abstract (200-300 words).


“Edgeworth Studies: The Next Generation”: Club Room, Carolina Inn
Moderator: Jessica Richard (Wake Forest University)

Building on the energy of sessions on Edgeworth Studies at the 2016 and 2017 ASECS conferences, this roundtable will feature presentations on the wide range of work being done on Maria Edgeworth and her circle today.  The roundtable will cast a broad net so that we can learn further about the diverse approaches of Edgeworth scholars working across this prolific writer’s oeuvre.  Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Edgeworth in the Classroom,
  • Belinda and Beyond,
  • Edgeworth’s Canon,
  • Edgeworth’s Letters,
  • New Approaches to Edgeworth’s Writing for Children.

If you are interested in having your work considered for this roundtable, please submit a 300-word proposal to richarja@wfu.edu by January 15, 2017.


“Digital Generations of 18th- and 19th-Century British Women Writers”: Hill Ballroom Central, Carolina Inn
Moderator: Kirstyn Leuner (Dartmouth College)

The history of using computers to study 18th- and 19th-century British women writers is at least 30 years old and has been overshadowed by attention to the William Blake and Dante Gabriel Rossetti Archives. In 1987, J. F. Burrows published his seminal text-analysis book project on dialogue in Austen’s novels, Computation into Criticism: A Study of Jane Austen’s Novels and an Experiment in Method. Scholars in the 1990s began creating digital archives, like The Forget-Me-Not Hypertextual Archive; digital editions, such as Mary Shelley’s “The Mortal Immortal” in Romantic Circles; and single-author studies as websites, such as Lisa Vargo’s 1998 Anna Laetitia Barbauld Website. The landscape of newer published digital work, such as Shelley’s Frankenstein manuscripts in the Shelley-Godwin Archive, make it clear that scholars continue to produce and value electronic scholarship on British women writers, yet more critical discussions of methods and projects are needed.

This roundtable seeks broadly to energize such discussions of electronic scholarship, past and present, on 18th- and 19th-century British women writers. For example, papers may discuss how digital scholarship on British women writers has changed since the 1980s and 1990s. Can we identify “generations” of approaches to studying women writers with computing? What unique insights do computer technologies add to the study of women writers and their texts? I invite a range of proposals including papers that use electronic texts and computing for analyses, papers that recover histories of DH projects on women writers, and theoretical explorations of feminist methodologies in DH as they relate to BWWC literary periods.

If you are interested in having your work considered for this roundtable, please submit a 300-word proposal to Kirstyn Leuner, Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, Kirstyn.J.Leuner@dartmouth.edu. Please give your email the subject line “BWWC 2017 Roundtable Proposal” and include a short bio with your proposal. Thank you!


“Print Culture and the Poetess”: Alumni Room, Carolina Inn
Moderator: Casie LeGette (University of Georgia)

This roundtable will investigate intersections between print culture and the figure of the poetess. The poetess was certainly a product of print culture; here, we will consider the ways that relations amongst female poets, often conceived as poetesses, might also have been produced by that culture. As so much exciting critical work has shown, female poets in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries worked to establish connections with one another across the decades, constructing poetic relations and chains of transmission. This roundtable will investigate the ways generations of poets maintained those connections in the varied spaces of print culture, in part through shared participation in the “poetess” figure. In what ways did periodicals, literary annuals, poetry anthologies, etc. participate in creating (or obscuring) inter-generational connections amongst female poets?

If you are interested in having your work considered for this roundtable, please contact Casie LeGette, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgia, at legette@uga.edu.


“Sympathy and the ‘Queer’ Body”: Incubator, Hyde Hall
Moderator: Melissa Shields Jenkins (Wake Forest University)

This 90-minute session will highlight new research into “queerness” as a category that determines affective reactions to human subjects. The roundtable supplements the overall conference theme, “Generations,” by attending to the generative nature of difference, as relates to the phases of the human body and the development of adult sexuality. Topics being covered by current panelists include sympathy and disability in the works of Vernon Lee and Michael Field, the relation between disability, sympathy, and medical care in Charlotte Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe, compassionate friendship in the works of Olive Schreiner, and intersections between transgender studies and Victorian studies.  

If you are interested in having your work considered for this roundtable, please contact Melissa Jenkins, Associate Professor of English at Wake Forest University, at jenkinms@wfu.edu.