UPDATE: [American] The Atlantic World of 19th-century American Literature (Due 12/1/08; ALA, 5/21/09-5/24/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Kelly Ross
contact email: 

Call for Papers
2009 American Literature Association Conference
May 21-24, 2009
Boston, MA

The Atlantic World of 19th-century American Literature

Papers sought for a proposed panel that will examine 19th-century American
literature from an Atlantic studies perspective.

>From the opening “Voyages” of Washington Irving’s Sketch Book or
Emerson’s English Traits through important influence studies such as
Matthiessen’s American Renaissance, 19th-century American literature
has always been conceived as a transatlantic field. Critics, however, have
recently argued for an Atlantic studies or circum-Atlantic model to replace
transatlanticism, which often focuses narrowly on American and British
exchange, ignoring the rest of the pan-Atlantic world. William Boelhower,
for example, in “The Rise of the New Atlantic Studies Matrix,” rejects
traditional transatlantic studies as Eurocentric and announces that the new
Atlantic studies “begins in the wake of postcolonial critique and cultural
and indigenous research methodologies.” Given the history of
transatlanticism in 19th-century American literature, the relationship
between this received model and what Boelhower calls the “new disciplinary
paradigm” of Atlantic studies is a site of productive tension.

This panel will engage with these critical debates to assess the value of
an Atlantic model of circulation for the study of 19th-century American
literature. Fifteen years after the publication of Paul Gilroy's The
Black Atlantic, how has the traditional organizing rubric of national
literature been productively reimagined? Have critics been too hasty in
dismissing the further potential of transatlantic studies? Atlantic studies
scholarship often focuses on the 17th and 18th centuries; what new insights
can this model bring to 19th-century American literature, especially that
of the mid- to late-19th century? What role did the Atlantic Ocean itself
play in the 19th-century literary imagination?

Papers are welcomed on any aspect of Atlantic studies relating to
19th-century American literature, but papers are especially encouraged that
offer a broader theoretical position on Atlantic studies as well as local
readings of specific texts.

Please submit 250-500 word abstract and brief CV to Kelly Ross at
kbross_at_email.unc.edu by Dec 1. For further information on ALA please see
the ALA website:

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Received on Mon Nov 17 2008 - 11:24:33 EST