SEA 2019 CFP

Call for Papers

Society of Early Americanists Eleventh Biennial Conference
Eugene, Oregon, February 28th – March 2nd, 2019


As an aid for those who want to present at the biennial in Eugene, and wish to find a panel where their work might find a venue, we are reposting here CFPs that have appeared on the EARAM listserv. If you have another CFP that you would like to appear here, send an email to conference organizer Gordon Sayre, Please limit proposals to a 200-word panel abstract, and be sure to include contact information for the organizer. Thank you.

For more details and additional information about the SEA 2019 Biennial Conference, please visit: SEA 2019 biennial.

Panel proposals will be accepted through August 15th.

Individual paper proposals will be accepted up until September 15th.
For the September 15, 2018 deadline we invite paper submissions from individuals who have not joined with others in a panel submission.

Please submit your Panel proposals and Individual paper proposals to the conference program site at

Instructions for submissions to exordo:  The August 15th deadline is for session organizers to submit panels of 2 to 4 paper presenters, or round table/discussion panel formats with 5 or more participants. I here offer instructions for session organizers new to the exordo website:

In step 1 of the submission process, which exordo calls “track”, you can select a complete panel, or one that still is open to additional speakers. If you are still waiting on a panelist to send you materials, or if you are open to adding an additional speaker from the pool of individual proposals coming due in September, feel free to select “sessions seeking additional proposals” and complete your line-up later.

The exordo site is configured for the panel abstract in step 3 which can contain the title and description of the session’s concept. Then list the presenters and titles in step 4, and there will be space in step 5, “biography,” to add institutions or affiliations for each. The abstracts for each presentation can be uploaded as file attachments in step 7 “additional information.” Finally, step 8 “abstract” allows the option of uploading the abstract that was already requested in a dialog box in step 3, or a longer file that contains all of the panelist’s abstracts.

Step 6, “topics” includes some of the themes for which series of panels are being organized, as well as some common areas of interest for SEA members. Don’t be concerned if you feel your proposal doesn’t fit any of these, you can check “miscellaneous” or “Topic #10” (I was unable to enter anything else in this box).

A note on A/V equipment: It is quite expensive. It can run hundreds of dollars per day to outfit a conference meeting room with audio-visual equipment, which significantly impacts conference budgets and registration fees. Only some of the meeting rooms in Eugene will be so equipped. Please consider alternatives to slide show presentations, such as handouts, which can hold the advantage of giving audience members something tangible by which to remember a presenter’s work. The exordo site does not have a question about a/v equipment, but you can specify in your panel abstract this or any other special requirements.

I look forward to seeing you in Eugene, and can try to help with any problems you have in the submissions.

Prof. Gordon Sayre, University of Oregon
SEA President 2017-19, and
Oregonizer, Eleventh biennial conference

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Call for Papers

Spanish Americas
I am looking for a couple of additional participants for a roundtable on how “Spanish Americas” — which refers to linguistic, geographical, ethno-racial elements as well as the colonizing effects of Spain – is in dialogue with various disciplines, fields, and scholarly emphases, including Anglo-American, indigenous, Latin American, and Latino/a/x studies. The discussion will seek interaction with reference points beyond Spain and Spanishness so as to reorient conversations away from dominant modes either in Anglo-US or Latin American studies. The roundtable welcomes seeks to move away from a dichotomy, both geopolitical and cultural, of “Ibero-Anglo,” and with it the dominant methodology of comparing and contrasting texts and material conditions, translating them across the two language systems. Against a binary that misleadingly privileges the two empires (England and Spain) –as if either had exercised complete hegemony over all the peoples of what mapmakers framed as its own hemisphere–“The Spanish Americas” becomes one of several possibilities for scholarship that recognizes a necessary engagement with various indigenous, African American and mixed-race populations who negotiated between colonial boundaries and structures. You could discuss any period from early contact through the Spanish American independence movements, engaging materials from textual, oral, or performance traditions. Or perhaps introduce less familiar primary-source materials in Spanish or indigenous languages. Another option would be to share pedagogical reflections on what it means to teach early American literature in classrooms with a growing presence of Latina/o/x students in the United States. Send a short description of what you would like to discuss to Rodrigo Lazo by August 14.

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Imagining Conversion: New Approaches to Missionary Writings
In the preface to his 1671 Indian Dialogues, Puritan minister John Eliot explains that the following text is “partly Historical, of some things that were done and said; and partly Instructiveto shew what might or should have been said.” Presenting a series of fictionalized dialogues between various missionaries, indigenous converts, and potential converts, Eliot’s work attempts to imagine for English readers what conversion could, and should, look like, within the space of colonial New England. A generic hybrid, Eliot’s work draws simultaneously upon his past missionary experience, his Protestant understanding of conversion, and his desire to advance English colonization. Its strange mix of fact and fiction has meant that the Indian Dialogues has been difficult to place within existing scholarly conversions, emerging primarily as a curiosity or as a transcript of the missionary hopes Eliot and other Puritans harbored just before the devastation of Metacom’s War.

Using the Indian Dialogues as a starting point, this panel seeks to examine texts about Christian missions that walk the line between fact and fiction. Our interest in these texts lies not necessarily in their representation of reality, but rather in how missionary authors position themselves in relation to a perceived reality. At the same time, we also hope to more fully explore the demands that these texts place upon their readers in order to address the complex and often paradoxical aims that give rise to missionary texts.

Specifically, we seek papers that study missionary texts in ways that include but move beyond a mapping of text onto the historical record, instead attending to their aesthetic, emotional, and imaginative components. We seek most of all to explore some of the following questions:

-in what ways does Christian mission animate or activate plot or character development?
-when do missionary writings lie, and why?
-how do writings about Christian mission articulate and traffic in desire?
-what literary genres do missionary writings draw upon, and fit within?
-how do narratives of Christian mission and conversion draw upon and leverage history?

We are open to a variety of theoretical approaches including: historical, theological, literary, anthropological, cultural, etc. Papers from various regions and time periods are welcome.

Please send 250-300 word abstracts and a brief bio to Marie Balsley Taylor ( and Laura Stevens ( by Monday, August 12th, 2018.

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Models of Intertextuality in Early American Studies
“Intertextuality,” according to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory, “refers to the presence of a text A in a text B.” The concept, often credited to Julia Kristeva, has been elaborated in narratology and poststructuralist theory. Types of intertextuality include quotations, allusions, and parody. Arguably, however, intertextuality strains to account for the forms of textual references in the diverse array of early Americanist sources. For example, what model of intertextuality corresponds to Mary Rowlandson’s description of her Bible as “my Guid by day, and my Pillow by night”? For the proposed panel, I’m looking for papers that complicate the flat, conventional understanding of intertextuality as a discursive relationship between or among texts. Drawing on fields such as ethnohistory, literacy or media studies and book history, proposed papers may illuminate the agency of human actors in the interactions among texts, emphasize the materiality of texts, or bring to bear new conceptualizations of textuality. Please send abstracts and brief CVs for consideration to by August 7.

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Desire and History: A Creative Reading Panel
I’m looking for submissions of poetry or prose for a panel of creative readings. The theme is “desire and history” but I mean that in the most capacious way possible: the desires that inspire us to write about the early American past or to move between scholarship and creative work, the drive to find sites of desire and identity within the past, creative interrogations of historical forms of desire (erotic, spiritual, or anything else). In addition to reading from their work, I envision panelists reflecting on how they see it as being in dialogue with this theme.

If you have early American-inspired creative work you’d be interested in presenting that does not seem to fit the theme please send it for consideration anyway – the focus is open to reconsideration.

Please send a short cover statement and a representative sample of your writing (which does not have to be exactly what you will read at the conference if work is in process) and a short bio and/or CV to Anne Myles, by Monday, August 13.

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Early American Serials
Scholars have largely accepted serialization—the presentation of a continuing story over an extended period of time, punctuated by forced interruptions—as a distinct reading and writing practice with its own set of material and formal properties. Save for a handful of exceptions, however, this analysis has focused largely on literary narratives, especially serial novels published in Victorian England. Recently, studies of periodicals in early America have also demonstrated the centrality of the serial form to early US print culture. Not only were number of prominent early American texts (Charles Brockden Brown’s Arthur Mervyn, Isaac Mitchell’s The Asylum, Susanna Rowson’s Sincerity, and The Connecticut Wits’ The Anarchiad) initially published in serial form but early American magazines are filled with lesser known serialized narratives, poems, images, and non-fiction essays.

This panel seeks to explore the serialization of a wide variety of texts in early American periodical culture. We are especially interested in papers that investigate how authors and editors designed their work to fit the serial form; how the practice of extended and/or disrupted reading influenced early American readers; and how the serial form mirrors the cultural logic of the early republic.

Please send abstracts of 250 words in length and a brief CV to Karen Weyler ( and David Lawrimore ( by September 8, 2018.

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Transoceanic Perspectives and the Early Caribbean
Sponsored by the Early Caribbean Society
In the last decade or so, scholars in a variety of disciplines have endeavored to rethink early American studies within a more transoceanic perspective, one that decenters the Atlantic Ocean as locus for the exchange of ideas and commerce and the migration and enslavement of people. Specifically, among early Americanists there is a growing interest in the Pacific as a region of academic study – as illustrated, for example, in recent special issues of American Quarterly and Atlantic Studies. Increasingly, we are understanding the development of early American cultures as not solely a transatlantic phenomenon but as a transoceanic one. There has been less discussion about the relationship between transoceanic studies and early Caribbean cultures, despite the Caribbean’s position as a gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Consequently, the Early Caribbean Society invites paper proposals for a panel titled “Transoceanic Perspectives and the Early Caribbean,” designed to realign our conceptions of the early Caribbean and/or transoceanic studies.  Proposals might address topics such as: migration, early modernity, commerce and slavery, ecology and the environment, empire. Proposals might also address questions such as: How does a more transoceanic perspective change how we approach early Caribbean studies and vice versa? How does it change what we understand about the Caribbean’s role in migration patterns and identity formations in transoceanic spaces? What are the benefits, risks, and limitations of shifting our geographical orientation?  The Early Caribbean Society welcomes proposals from a wide range of scholars and values geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity and representation on its panels. Presenters will need to be members of ECS at the time of the SEA conference. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words in length to Cassander L. Smith ( by August 10, 2018.

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Teaching the Caribbean
Sponsored by the Early Caribbean Society
The Early Caribbean Society invites proposals for papers that examine the pedagogical possibilities, challenges, and rewards of teaching early Caribbean material. Some possible topics: how can early Caribbean material be integrated into standard classes, such as U.S. History, or American and/or British literature surveys, and to what end? What are the challenges of introducing students to material for which they often have no background knowledge? What kind of preconceptions do students often bring to the material, and how can teachers address these? What issues regarding access to materials arise, and how can they be addressed?  What special topics courses work well, or what ideas have failed to live up to expectations? What does teaching Early Caribbean material at the graduate level look like? What possibilities and challenges exist for teaching study abroad courses in the Caribbean? The Early Caribbean Society welcomes proposals from a wide range of scholars and values geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity and representation on its panels. Presenters need to members of ECS at the time of the SEA conference. Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words in length to by 15 August.

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Early Caribbean Digital Humanities
Sponsored by the Early Caribbean Society
Inspired by the recent launch or beginning of several digital humanities projects about the early Caribbean, this panel seeks to examine the state of what could be called “early Caribbean DH.” What have existing DH projects already accomplished, and what remains to be done? Are there particular challenges facing scholars of the early Caribbean that have pushed them to experiment with DH methodologies and technologies? How are these experiments changing definitions of both the practice and boundaries (geographical, intellectual, disciplinary) of early American studies? This panel is particularly interested in papers by scholars who have designed or made extensive use of DH projects in their research and teaching. It is also interested in papers that meditate on both the potential and limits of DH to solve such problems as the lack of widely available editions of early Caribbean texts for teaching, the paucity of early Caribbean texts written from non-dominant perspectives, and the unequal access to digital resources within the present-day Atlantic world. Please send abstracts of 250 words in length and a brief CV to Julie Kim at by August 8, 2018. Note: The Early Caribbean Society welcomes proposals from a wide range of scholars and values geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity and representation on its panels. Presenters will need to become members of the ECS prior to the conference.

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Narrative Form and History
In a 2011 article in Early American Literature, Michelle Burnham examines how eighteenth-century Pacific travel narratives depict the risk and violence years-long voyages entailed. She argues that these texts’ structure—in which fast-paced, novelistic accounts briefly punctuate repetitive records of shipboard routine—reflects a “calculative logic” in which Pacific voyages’ dangers are offset by the profits they ultimately yield (433). Through a narrative form that casts bloody events as transitory interruptions, these texts work to obscure the violence born of global travel and trade.

Examining texts from the Pacific and/or Atlantic worlds, this panel will explore how the relationship between narrative form and violence that Burnham locates in travel narratives might illuminate other genres. Specifically, this panel will focus on a genre that—like Pacific travel narratives—addresses long durations of time: historical narratives, including historical fictions, secret histories, personal narratives, and more. Proposals might consider the following questions: How does narrative form influence how histories of violence are understood? What narrative forms do writers associated with a lack of historical force use to push back on the conditions of their subjection? Do narratives that foreground oceanic, hemispheric, and/or transnational histories tend to be paced differently than texts which track the linear advance of a bounded nation-state? How might attention to narrative form and the temporalities it constructs help scholars envision history and literary history in ways not pre-determined by the nation-state?

Abstracts of roughly 250 words should be sent to Molly Ball at by Friday, August 10th. Please indicate whether you have attended previous SEA conferences.

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New Directions in Quaker Literary History
While a few Quaker writers have been granted a firm position in the literary history of British colonial America (i.e. Elizabeth Ashbridge and John Woolman), Quaker writing as a larger body of literature has received little comprehensive attention from early Americanists. Sometimes examined as a foil to Puritan New England, sometimes studied for its relationship to reform and anti-slavery, Quaker literary history remains, with some exceptions, undertheorized and topical. This panel seeks papers whose arguments integrate and deepen our knowledge about the literature produced by Quakers in the Atlantic world from the seventeenth-century to the early nineteenth-century. Furthermore, this panel is concerned not only with constructing a more thorough account of Quaker literary history, but also with reflecting on its relationship to other American literary histories.

Submissions may focus on understudied but important individual Quaker writers and texts, but preference will be given to arguments that make literary connections across the longue durée of Quaker textual production in the Atlantic world, or that identify significant and previously neglected themes in the corpus. Alternatively, submissions may address a critical or theoretical problem in the study of Quaker literary history. Finally, special consideration will be given to submissions that evaluate how traditions of Quaker writing intersect with other American literary histories, such as, but not limited to, promotional literature, Native American literacies, the rhetoric of the American Revolution, and the development of the novel.

Please send 500-word proposals to Jay David Miller at by Friday, August 3, 2018.

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The Uncommon Margins of Early America
Margins are an important concept in early American studies, but as the SEA travels to the western margin of the North American continent for the first time, it seems a good time to consider other, less obvious margins in early America. As such, this panel invites papers that examine borders, margins, and liminal spaces in early America that have not received as much critical treatment. We are interested in papers that take the concept of “margins”—broadly defined—outside the traditional colony/metropole dynamic and examine ways in which various aspects of early America existed or were represented as apart from, while still a part of, a larger concept or entity.

Possibilities include everything from underexamined geographical margins to marginal identities to unconventional religious, political, social, or scientific belief – anything tangential to the “center” or “norm” of early America.

Please send a 300-word abstract and brief CV to Dan Walden at by August 10.

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New England Out of New England: New Approaches to the Region
On behalf of The New England Quarterly, I am seeking proposals for a roundtable highlighting new approaches to New England.  New England has been central to studies of Early American literature and culture; this panel takes the occasion of the SEA’s conference in Eugene to decenter the region by calling attention to work that moves beyond the usual subjects.  Work on indigeneity, race, slavery, immigration, migration, New Englanders in other regions, and outsider perspectives on the region is especially welcome, as are contributions that draw on disciplines beyond literary history.  Beyond instigating discussion, the goal of this roundtable is to generate submissions for a special issue of The New England Quarterly.

Please send a 1-page abstract (include a title) and a brief CV to Betsy Klimasmith ( by August 10, 2018.

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Movies and Television on Early America
Since the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, early American history has fascinated filmmakers and television producers, including movies and shows about past presidents such as Jefferson in Paris and the recent show Turn: Washington’s Spies to adaptations of classic literature such as The Scarlet Letter to the topics of piracy such as Black Sails and slavery such as Roots — one of the most watched television shows of all time. The Caribbean has also produced some classic movies such as The Last Supper (from Cuba) and, more recently, Tula: the Revolt (from Curacao).

This panel seeks papers on such cinema and television from a variety of scholarly approaches from adaptation theory and genre analysis to historicist, intertextual, and transatlantic approaches, as well as teaching applications.

It is my hope to model this SEA panel on the open-ended “Eighteenth Century on Film” panel that has been organized each year for over a decade at the ASECS annual meeting. Almost all of the essays collected in The Cinematic Eighteenth Century: History, Culture, and Adaptation (Routledge 2017, edited by myself and Srividhya Swaminathan) were presented in earlier versions on that panel at ASECS.

Please send proposals including a brief abstract (500 words or less) and CV to my e-mail: by August 12.

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Teaching Across Periods: Early America to the Present Day
For a decade or more now, discussions in American literary history have examined what to do with the divide between early Americanists and later Americanists. That has been discussed, debated, and bridged in multiple ways. But how do you bring it to the classroom? This roundtable examines various ways teachers have designed courses to run across these periods, especially any that run for especially long periods–from early America to the present day. What lines of inquiry do you pursue when you set up a course like that? How do you arrange the texts? What works? What doesn’t? How do you avoid pitfalls of oversimplified narratives? Do these classes engage students? We want to hear from those who have tried it, or those who would like to try it, in order to gather a host of ideas about how to put these kinds of courses together.

Please submit proposals to me (brief abstracts and brief CV’s) by August 10. I’ll let you know and put together a roundtable proposal by August 15 to submit. Send proposals to

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Early American Literature & Technology @ SEA
I’m seeking abstracts for a proposed panel on early American literature and technology for the upcoming Society of Early Americanists conference in Eugene. Intersections may include technology and nation-building, technology and colonialism, technology and gender, technology and race, technology and ecology, technology and animal studies, or other critical approaches. Please send 250- to 500-word abstracts to with a brief bio by August 6.

Micah Bateman
University of Texas at Austin

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Early American Magazine Culture
Submissions are invited for a panel on American magazine culture (before 1830). Early American magazines have been called everything from mediocre imitations of their European counterparts to the true form of American democratic literature. Certainly, they are an ambiguous and often overlooked aspect of early American literary culture. Yet recent reconsideration of the early novel’s form puts pressure on generic understandings of literary and fictional productions in early America, and such pressure can extend to these magazines. Submissions are invited that consider early American magazine culture from a variety of perspectives.

Proposals might consider the following: How can we revise our understandings of genre to account for the wide variety of fictional pieces within magazines? How do magazines as material objects function and create meaning for readers? How do the visual aspects of magazines, from illustrations to decorative elements, gesture to a visual literacy and interact with the written text? How can we explain the relationship between American and European magazines (and among American magazines) in ways besides nationalism and derivative aesthetics? How does the way magazines were produced and circulated affect the imagined communities we suppose they create? To what extent did these communities of readers connect the malleable boundary of the western frontier with the major eastern cities before the transportation revolution?  What’s the value of giving magazines more emphasis in studies of early American literary culture?

Please send the following to Helen Hunt, Tennessee Tech Univ. at by August 5: Name; Affiliation/Dept.; Email; Title of paper; 200-word abstract; 50-word bio; Indicate whether you have attended previous SEA conferences.

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Early American Women’s Cultural Productions
Submissions are invited for a panel on women’s cultural productions in early America (before 1830). This panel will be sponsored by the Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW) at the Society of Early Americanists (SEA) Conference at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Feb. 27-March 2, 2019. Papers on a variety of topics will be considered, but each should address in some way how attention to women as cultural producers disrupts, revises, or enriches the field of early American studies. Interdisciplinary and/or intersectional approaches are welcome.

Please send the following to by August 5: Name; Affiliation/Dept.; Email; Title of paper; 200-word abstract; 50-word bio; Indicate whether you have attended previous SEA conferences.

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Teaching early American lit to teachers and in high schools (2 panels)

Panel 1) Teaching Teachers How to Teach Early American Literature
Panel 2) Teaching Early American Literature in High Schools

One of the highest compliments college instructors of early American literature receive on their student evaluations goes something akin to this: “I thought the materials would be terribly boring, but Professor X made them come to life.” Early Americanist faculty may (unjustifiably) blame such anticipatory dread among their students on high schools limiting exposure to early American lit to frightening readings of Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Though faculty do their best to include a panoply of previously marginalized texts and authors, they often do little (or do not know how) to train teachers in the innovative pedagogies, modes of reading, and assignments that could make early America a vital part of the American literature curriculum in high schools.

In turn, high school teachers probably reduce their early American offerings to a minimum because they have not been trained in effective strategies and fear student disengagement from materials and subjects deemed difficult, inaccessible, and irrelevant. This panel, therefore, seeks to foster a goal that Deborah Appleman articulated in Critical Encounters in High School English: Teaching Literary Theory go Adolescents (New York, 2009): “I argue that contemporary literary theory in secondary English classes will better prepare adolescent readers to respond reflectively and analytically to literary texts, both ‘canonical’ and multicultural” (11). Teaching early American literature and theory to high school teachers and students may thus help to instill critical methods of understanding American history, identity formation, and ideologies.

I seek paper proposals for a two-part panel on approaches to 1) teaching teachers (and teacher candidates) how to teach early American literature, and 2) teaching early American literature in high schools. Ideally, the two parts of this panel will be scheduled back to back, encouraging conversations between college and high school instructors to learn from each other, share teaching successes and failures, and learn about effective teaching strategies. Thus, I specifically invite submissions from college faculty engaged in teacher training (at the undergraduate and/or graduate level) and high school teachers who have developed effective units for teaching early American literature in their classrooms.

Possible topics for each panel include, but are not limited to, the following:

Panel 1) Teaching Teachers How to Teach Early American Literature

  • Innovative pedagogies, such as inquiry based learning, for teaching EAL to teachers and teacher candidates
  • Literary pairings and bridgings
  • Using literary theory and criticism (such as post-colonial or feminist theory) for teaching EAL in high schools
  • Model assignments and teaching unites for high school and/or early college
  • Approaches and strategies for using EAL to teach critical understandings of American history, identity formation, ideologies, and politics

Panel 2) Teaching Early American Literature in High School

  • Effective strategies and approaches, specifically successful classroom activities and assignments
  • Text pairings and critical questions
  • Curriculum maps and EAL
  • Resources for teaching EAL in high schools
  • EAL as a tool to confront and discuss issues of racism, diversity, and equity in the secondary classroom
  • Obstacles for teaching EAL in high schools (and how to overcome them)

Please email a circa 250-word proposal along with a 1-2 page CV to Patrick M. Erben ( by August 1, 2018. In your proposal, please indicate if you are submitting for panel 1 or panel 2. My acceptances to the panelists will be sent out by August 8. I will submit the completed panels to the SEA program committee by August 15.

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Early America in Creative Writing Classrooms, Creative Writers in Early America
When Vladimir Nabokov was suggested for a literature chair at Harvard University, Roman Jakobson supposedly quipped: “What’s next, shall we appoint elephants to teach zoology?” This anecdote opens up D.G. Myers’ classic institutional history, The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing since 1880 (1996), a book that maps the century-long divide between scholarship and criticism, “rigorous” and “affective” cultural study, analysis and appreciation. Myers’ rendering of split English departments speaks to a fundamental paradox in early American literature — that is, despite the long engagement of authors with colonial texts and themes, from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Susan Howe and Toni Morrison, curricular paths rarely cross.

This panel offers a workshop for creative writing in early American classrooms, and conversely, explorations of the wider early America within writing programs. In lieu of traditional presentations, participants may guide us through an in-class exercise; present curricula; engage us in an assignment; explore the problematics of assessment. This panel is pedagogical (not a reading). The point is two-fold: offer fresh ways to engage our students with plural early America, and suggest new directions in contemporary writing through the strange world of early American texts.

Please email one-page proposal, with a short c.v., to Thomas Hallock by August 1 to: I will submit the completed panels to the SEA program committee by August 15.

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Teaching in the Archives
How do we use archives in early American pedagogy to build student engagement with course content and increase understanding and exposure to a more diverse set of research methods? This roundtable will be a forum for sharing goals, assignments, theories, challenges, and any other resources that may help participants and attendees improve their archival teaching practices or begin using archives in their teaching. We encourage a big-tent conception of “archives,” including (but not limited to) manuscript holdings and other ephemera, rare books, records, physical objects, museum collections, as well as databases and other digital resources. Likewise, we are interested in a broad range of possible assignments and approaches to archives, including (but, again, not limited to) reading, collecting, transcribing, cataloguing, publishing, and digitizing, as well as more speculative or creative projects.

We welcome new and seasoned educators who teach at any postsecondary education level or institution type. Our goal is to organize an interdisciplinary forum, which includes faculty and graduate students in literary studies, art history, American studies, history, and other relevant fields. If you are interested in participating, please send a CV and an approximately 200-word proposal to Thomas Doran ( by August 6, 2018. Since much of the forum will be devoted to resource sharing and open discussion, proposals should describe your experience and perspective on teaching in/with archives along with the unique contribution you will make to the forum, but they do not need to include a fully developed abstract for a traditional conference paper.

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Academic Publishing Best Practices Round table (sponsored by the Junior Scholars’ Caucus for SEA 2019)
While in the past publishing was not required for graduate students and junior scholars to obtain tenure-track positions, publishing is increasingly essential to be successful on the job market; indeed, the conventional wisdom is that applicants need at least 1-2 peer-reviewed publications. For contingent faculty and junior faculty, the challenge can be publishing while balancing a heavy teaching load or ascertaining how to approach a publisher with a book proposal. At all stages, the process can be complicated and anxiety-inducing—even for established scholars. In order to demystify the publishing experience, we are seeking a panel of experienced scholars and editors to provide their insights and tips for publishing successfully. Panelists on the round table will present for 10-15 minutes about best practices, practical advice, tips, and/or draw on their own experience and expertise, followed by time for Q & A.
Topics may include:

  • How to revise a seminar paper or dissertation chapter into a journal article
  • Possible responses to a submission and how to interpret/respond to readers’ comments
  • Best times to submit articles and/or how to correspond with editors successfully
  • Open access—yea or nay?
  • Digital humanities, and/or alt ac publishing options
  • Editors Pet Peeves: What to absolutely NOT do
  • Balancing publishing with a heavy teaching load
  • How to propose a book project
  • How to revise the dissertation into a monograph/how much of the dissertation to publish as articles

Please contact the Junior Scholar Caucus co-chairs, Stacey Dearing ( or Jessica Taylor (

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The Hymn in Early America: A Roundtable
Long overlooked as a poetic and cultural form, hymnody has experienced a surge in scholarly interest in recent years. While musicologists have traditionally been most concerned with hymns, approaches ranging from lived religion, material and print cultures, performance studies, Native American studies, and African-American studies have all offered new ways of understanding perhaps the most popular verse genre in early America. The hymn as an object of study has also increasingly led to the converging of these approaches. This proposed panel will consist of brief (6-8 minutes), provocative statements that collectively help map the terrain in this new area of scholarship as well as offer insight into where the study of hymns might go next. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Close and/or distant reading of hymn texts in any early American language (broadly conceived);
  • Discussions of hymns’ poetic form from a theoretical and/or historical perspective;
  • Material analysis of the production, use, etc. of hymnbooks, broadsides, and other related print forms;
  • The role of handwriting, craftwork, and other haptic knowledges in the use of hymns;
  • Analyses or theorizations of hymn performance in public and/or private contexts;
  • Hymns as technologies of identity formation;
  • Hymns and/as music or sound;
  • The sexual and/or racial politics of hymns;
  • Hymns and child studies;
  • The hymn as a new window on religious practice and/or belief in early America;
  • The role of hymns in histories of empire, missions, racial communities, ethnicities, etc.

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent by August 1 to Chris Phillips at; notifications of acceptance will be sent a week later.

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Digitizing Early American Manuscript Culture: Evoking the Archive?
We invite submissions for a roundtable that examines Early American manuscript circulation in connection with archival research and digital publication. With increased access to archival materials through twenty-first-century digital publication, how do scholars address the impact of this process on our understanding of texts intended for manuscript dissemination? How does the process of making archival manuscripts accessible shape what happens in the archive and our understanding of manuscript culture and the micro-cultures represented there?  To what degree does the digitization of the archive affect how we do research, and how does the archive itself shape this research and digitization? How does this process open up, complicate, and/or close down access for readers and those performing research? How does digitization transform physical archival spaces and vice versa?  Does the digital dissemination of early American manuscripts make original content and context more or less evident, and what are the strategies we use for rendering manuscript documents on the printed page and the screen? How is the materiality of the objects we study (manuscript books, diaries, commonplace books, letters, etc.) affected by their transformation into digital objects? What are the intersections of digital and manuscript circulation, and how do these intersections open up new ways of thinking about the digital and the manuscript text? In what ways is the circulation that digital publication allows similar to, and/or different from, that of manuscript texts in their historical contexts? If, as Sherry Turkle writes, “[w]e think with the objects we love; we love the objects we think with,” how is the evocativeness of the manuscript as object transformed through its printing and digitization?

Please send a short abstract and a CV to Chiara Cillerai ( and Lisa Logan ( by August 10, 2018.

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Early American Media Ecologies
Submissions are invited for a panel reading early American arts and letters via methods drawn from the field of “media ecology.” While papers might focus on the ways that “new”/electronic media have provided expanded access to historical documents, or the ways that the emergence of novel textual and more broadly communicative forms in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries reflect the proliferation of “social” media in our day (see Gustafson 2006), we particularly invite papers that employ ecocritical or environmental humanities approaches by reading early American media as environmental. To paraphrase Ursula Heise, media ecology approaches to early American culture might emphasize how media are connected, entwined in infrastructures of culture and technology (see John Durham Peters), or make such a claim in reverse by focusing on the nonhuman, elemental agencies that undergird technologies (including technologies of communication). Analyses of the role of individual media or media systems as ecological agents, and readings of early American writers engaged with animal, plant, geologic, or climate “mediascapes” (Appandurai) are particularly welcome. While traditional framing of “media” as a cultural concept often emphasizes communication, this panel solicits papers that challenge or think against the grain of this view, by frontloading embodiment, phenomenology, aesthetics, and early American “sensory worlds” (see Cohen and Glover). Papers might draw upon critical methods from sound studies, oral cultures, new materiality/material cultures, and food studies to think about early American media beyond the page, or to think about traditional textual forms in new ways that emphasize sensation and physicality.

Proposals might consider the following provocations: How can scholars usefully reclaim the ecological impacts of early American media such as the book, the broadside, the natural history, etc.? How might a theory of colonial and republican American cultural “composition” require an attention to theories about geology, soil science, hydrology, and climate emerging in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Where do we find traces of the Anthropocene in early American media, particularly media concerned with observation, attention, sound, touch, and taste? In what ways do early American media artifacts reveal particular modes of “human perception, understanding, feeling, and value” (Neil Postman)? How can a theoretical toolbox like media studies, which has most often been applied to genres emerging after the electronic and digital revolutions, be useful to a historical field like Early American Studies?

Please send a short abstract (including title of presentation) and CV to Andy Ross ( by August 10 for consideration.

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