Speculations: Aesthetics, Risk, and Capital in the Circum-Atlantic World, 1790-1830

full name / name of organization: 
The Charles Brockden Brown Society

Speculations: Aesthetics, Risk, and Capital in the Circum-Atlantic World, 1790-1830
Date: April 19-21, 2012
Location: The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
A conference sponsored by the Charles Brockden Brown Society
250-word proposal deadline: September 1, 2011 (Acceptances announced October 3, 2011)
Please send a Word.doc of the proposal to: Duncan Faherty at duncan.faherty@qc.cuny.edu
For any questions, please contact: Bryan Waterman at bryan.waterman@nyu.edu
The Brown Society invites proposals on all aspects of speculation (literary, political, financial, historical, philosophical) in the Atlantic world between 1790 and 1830. The revolutionary Atlantic of this time was a laboratory of new writing, new ideas, new paranoias, new frauds and exploitations, new land schemes and settlements, new economies, new enterprises in self-creation and authorship, and new desires for alternative worlds. What conjectures, innovations, risks, and predictions characterize or distinguish the revolutionary age? How do they challenge exceptionalist (nationalist) literary and cultural narratives or force paradigm shifts? What speculative practices do we need to talk about them? What are the speculations and investments of canonization and authorship?
Possible topics include and are not limited to:
Literatures of speculation in the revolutionary age / Economic booms, bubbles, and busts / Frontier speculations: Yazoo, Scioto, Ohio Co., etc. / New ventures in the Caribbean world / Speculations on region / The faces of capitalism / The spectacle, the spectacular, and the spectral / Credit and credibility / Prediction, fortune, profit, investment, entrepreneurship as organizing tropes / Speculations about literary history / Speculations about anonymity or serialization / Speculations about genre / The economy of authorial speculation / Millennialism and utopia / Idealism and literature / Conjectures in science, medicine, and the body / Risky commerce: fraud, forgery, theft, usury / Speculative feminisms and sexualities / Sarah Wood's Dorval, or the Speculator and the Maine/Massachusetts women writers circle / Speculations about race, colonialism, and new empires / Alternative histories or counter-factual tales / Entrepreneurs, speculators, capitalists, pirates, and seers / Mischievous or idle speculations / Risk culture / (Re)mapping the field of American literatures and cultures / Free-thought and its enemies / The counter-revolution in America / Numinosity and religious grace / Sentiment, sensibility and affect / Calculating cultural, literary, or behavioral value / Public, intimate, and perverse spheres
Speculations will be the eighth biannual conference organized by the Brown Society and the second to be thematically untethered from its signature author. Our conference culture tries to create a space of egalitarian consideration free from career-oriented and competitive attitudes, a place for new work to blossom. In this light, we have no concurrent sessions, so that all may be heard by all. Because of time/space constraints, we may ask you to reframe your proposed talk for inclusion within a roundtable of more informal presentations.
Travel Support for Graduate Students:
Two travel awards (the Alfred Weber Travel Award and the Emory Elliott Travel Award) of $500 each for the participation of graduate student or weakly institutionalized scholars will be awarded, funded by the Brown Society. Criteria for these travel subventions will favor students at the dissertation stage or beyond (over those in earlier stages of degree work) and those who have not previously presented at a CBBS meeting. Those applying for a subvention should indicate their interest in a cover letter and provide information about whether or not they are ABD or ABJ.