EXTENDED DEADLINE--Feminism(s) and American Land: Examining Early Feminist Ecologies through Legacies of White Extractivism

deadline for submissions: 
February 16, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Margaret Fuller Society
contact email: 

The following is a call for papers for a panel at the 2021 triennial conference of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, November 4-7 in Baltimore, MD. 

The Margaret Fuller Society is seeking proposals for conference papers examining the intersections of proto-feminism, early conservationism, “frontier” writing, and race. Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, 1843 is remembered for its insightful comparative approach to women’s gender roles across American regions and its attention to scholarly process in its accounts of the Midwestern American “frontier”; at the same time, it performs crucial justificatory work for the “Manifest Destiny” model of Indigenous displacement and frames the land as a resource to be mined for white feminist visions of vigor and evolving economic independence--a vision which depends on the exclusion of Indigenous women from narratives of teleological gender progress. In light of this complex, fascinating, troubling legacy, the Margaret Fuller Society is seeking paper proposals for a special session, including but not limited to:

  • new examinations of Fuller’s travel writing using Indigenous Studies and Critical Race Theory lenses,

  • essays which engage with Fuller’s influences, interlocutors, and intellectual successors in terms of their racialized relationships to American land,

  • explorations of Black feminist engagements with “frontier” writing and the American landscape/ecosystem,

  • discussions of Indigenous gender systems of the era, particularly in terms of what is occluded in Summer on the Lakes from perspectives of Ojibwe, Chippewa, Ottawa, and related nations,

  • papers rethinking feminist relationships to American land through queer studies or trans studies lenses,

  • discussions of white feminist teleological thought and its affects,

  • examinations of the place of whiteness within 19th century gender theories, particularly as they relate to narratives about American land and specifically the “American West” or the “frontier.”

The Margaret Fuller Society is particularly interested in proposals which substantively engage with writers and scholars of color.

Interested scholars should send a 100-300 word proposal to EaganSDean@gmail.com by 2.16.2021. Applicants will be informed within the week of the deadline as we will be submitting the pre-formed special session by 2.22.2021.

Eagan S. Dean

Advisory Board, Margaret Fuller Society

Doctoral Candidate, Rutgers University