SEA EC Elections 2019

Society of Early Americanists Executive Coordinator Elections, 2019

Dear SEA members and Early Americanist Community,

The Executive Committee of the Society of Early Americanists is pleased to announce the election of Sandra Gustafson, Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, as our next Executive Coordinator. 

Sandra is well-known in our field and beyond as the former editor of Early American Literature and as an author of many influential publications, including Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic (Chicago, 2011) and Eloquence is Power: Oratory and Performance in Early America (Chapel Hill and Colonial Williamsburg, 2000).

Sandra will serve a two-year term as Executive Coordinator (2019-21); then as Vice President (2021-23); and finally as President (2023-25). We are excited that our society will be in such good hands in years to come and look forward to working with her to build our organization. Please join me in congratulating Sandra! 

Best wishes,
Ralph Bauer
SEA Executive Coordinator 2017-2019
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Gordon Sayre, President:
Patrick Erben, Vice President:
Ralph Bauer, Executive Coordinator: or

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Society of Early Americanists, Executive Coordinator: Election Platform

Sandra M. Gustafson

I had four main aims during the decade that I served as editor of Early American Literature:  to keep the journal at the center of this exciting discipline, in part by strengthening ties to relevant organizations such as the Society of Early Americanists; to increase the visibility of the field to later Americanists and scholars in other neighboring areas such as history; to support and encourage diversity of many kinds (archival, methodological, theoretical, and so forth); and to continue to publish high quality scholarship, as my predecessors had done.  I believe that I achieved at least some measure of success in all these areas.  EAL is now formally affiliated with the SEA, while retaining its founding affiliation with the MLA.  In 2010 I co-edited a joint special issue with Gordon Hutner of American Literary History, highlighting early Americanist scholarship for colleagues in later periods.  Several projects with the William and Mary Quarterly have contributed to ongoing conversations with historians, including most recently the joint forum on Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies that appeared last spring.  As my final number of the journal, I worked with guest editors Rodrigo Lazo and Kirsten Silva Gruesz to bring to fruition a special issue on The Spanish Americas, which appeared this fall.  The healthy readership statistics provided by the journal’s publisher confirm my sense that its quality remains high.  If elected as the next executive coordinator of the SEA, I would be honored to continue to support these shared goals of institutional growth, field visibility and diversity, and scholarly excellence.

I have been a member of the SEA almost from its founding and have regularly attended the biennial conference as well as many of the off-year conferences.  I am the author of many articles on early American literature, as well as two monographs that span the period from the beginnings to the late 1830s: Eloquence is Power:  Oratory and Performance in Early America (UNCP for OIEAHC, 2000) and Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic (Chicago, 2011).  From 1994-96 I held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, where I had the opportunity to develop Eloquence is Power with the guidance of leading historians.  I was the head organizer for a 2006 conference at the American Antiquarian Society on Histories of Print, Manuscript, and Performance in Early America, and I co-edited the conference volume Cultural Narratives:  Textuality and Performance in American Culture before 1900 (UNDP, 2010).  I guest edited a special issue of the Journal of the Early Republic from summer 2010 on political writing and literature.  More recently I edited the ninth edition of The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume A (through 1820), which appeared in 2016.  

Since 1993 I have been a member of the English faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where I am now a full professor and a concurrent member of the American Studies faculty.  I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate survey courses on early American literature, as well as more specialized topical classes.  I also have the opportunity to teach generalist courses that draw on my expertise as an early Americanist, on topics including “What is Democracy?” and “Literature and Citizenship.”  In January 2019 I will participate in an international conference on “Global 1776” organized by my Notre Dame colleague, historian Patrick Griffin.  If elected executive coordinator, I anticipate bringing a similar internationalizing energy to a future SEA conference hosted by Notre Dame.

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