"Exaltadas: A Female Genealogy of Transcendentalism" (Special journal issue; proposals due 15 March 2010)

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ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance (Washington State University)

Margaret Fuller's bicentennial approaches in 2010, and plans for celebration affirm her arrival (or return) as a member of the American transcendentalist "pantheon." But scholarship on the formative and reformative influence of other women on the movement has only recently begun to quicken. Recognizing this new wave of exploration and following a line of inquiry suggested by ESQ's 2003 special issue, "Reexamining the American Renaissance," the editors of the journal and guest editor Phyllis Cole invite submissions for a substantial thematic issue that will broadly conceptualize the role of women in the origin and evolution of transcendentalist thought and action. Taking up Caroline Healey Dall's observation that Fuller caught and concentrated a "rumor" already in the air around her, this issue will invert the field of vision and ask: From what other female thinkers and locations did the rumor come? Then in turn, again echoing Dall, who were the "practical 'Exaltadas'" that arose in response to Fuller? Or did other women contribute strands of thought to the movement quite apart from her mediation?

We welcome a range of approaches and are particularly interested in bringing strong feminist argument together with newer methodologies not often applied to studies of transcendentalism. Contributions might focus on cultural contexts and material conditions (book history, archival theory, the literary marketplace, private and public modes of publication) as well as individual women (participants in Fuller's conversation group, the Peabody sisters, Dall, Lydia Maria Child, Mary Moody Emerson, women at Brook Farm, women's rights activists, among many others). They might extend the usually accepted time frame of transcendentalism backward to early nineteenth-century precursors and forward to postbellum inheritors, or its spatial boundaries beyond New England and across national lines. They might expand genre study to diaries, letters, or periodicals as well as poetry, fiction, oration, and essay, or question the categorization of literary movements by focusing on the borders of transcendentalism and sentimentalism or realism. Case study and theory of nineteenth-century American education, domesticity, reform, love and sexuality, religious orthodoxy and heresy might all fall within these suggested frameworks.

Deadline for submission of detailed proposals (500 to 800 words): 15 March 2010.

Projected length for final papers: 6,000-8,000 words

Inquiries are most welcome.