Margaret Fuller Society American Literature Association 2022 Conference CFPs (updated deadline 1/22/22)

deadline for submissions: 
January 22, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Margaret Fuller Society
contact email: 

The Margaret Fuller Society will sponsor two panels at the 33rd Annual Conference of the American Literature Association, to be held 26–29 May 2022 at The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.




The work of such nineteenth-century female editors as Mary Ann Shadd and Lydia Maria Child, according to Laura F. Klein, typifies “invisible labor”—“a term that has come to encompass the various forms of labor that are literally invisible because they take place out of sight, or economically invisible because they take place away from the marketplace” (“Dimensions of Scale: Invisible Labor, Editorial Work, and the Future of Quantitative Literary Studies” [PMLA 135.1]). In our ALA sessions, we aim to recognize Margaret Fuller’s contributions to the editorial field while expanding explorations of undersung women editors, in the long nineteenth century and up to the present.


For both panels envisioned below, the Fuller Society invites proposals from and collaborations with people not necessarily concerned explicitly with Fuller. A new signature objective of the society, and its recently formed Racial Justice Committee, is to center the work of Black authors, authors of color, and indigenous authors, especially in ways that challenge or transcend Fuller’s own achievements. 


We welcome abstracts on the work of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Pauline Hopkins, Jane Johnson Schoolcraft, and Ida B. Wells, to name a few possibilities. Furthermore, we would be delighted to partner not only with individuals but also with organizations such as MELUS, RSAP, and other author societies—both in configuring the panels and in organizing a mentoring brunch and/or “Chat with an Editor” session to further foster conversation and collaboration. “Community formation”: this is a power Klein claims for women editors, and it is also, we strongly believe, the proper work of author societies like our own.

Panel 1: Breaking the Editorial Ice: The Work of Women Editors


For our first panel, we wish to refer to Mary Ann Shadd’s awareness that she had “broken the Editorial ice” for “colored women everywhere,” taking seriously Klein’s call to continue surfacing—and studying—the often hard-to-see, yet vitally important, agency and labor of women editors like Shadd, Child, and Fuller. Inspired by Shadd, whose editorial work on the Black abolitionist newspaper that she herself launched would come under erasure, our panel will make prominent the efforts of women editors, especially women editors of color, across the long nineteenth century and beyond. What, we want to ask, are the best methods for studying the print culture and knowledge work produced by women editors? What kinds of stories emerge? How do they, or should they, inform our own practices as scholars and editors? 


All relevant approaches and topics are encouraged—from the material, emotional, and intellectual economies of editorial work; to its capacity for “community formation” and, again in Klein’s words, for “staging . . . alternative, possible world[s]”; to new archival research, and more.


Panel 2: Making and Using Scholarly Editions of Women Writers 


As we anticipate new scholarly editions of Margaret Fuller’s writings (from Library of America and Edinburgh University Press), we recognize that our blind spots surrounding nineteenth-century women editors influence our appreciation for the work of making and using editions of women’s texts. For this second panel, we seek presentations that address questions prompted by the work of textual editing, particularly in digital form—including but not limited to questions of ethics, representation, canonicity, and methodology. As the Fuller Society has traditionally focused its second ALA panel on pedagogy, we will also entertain ideas from teacher-scholars about using scholarly editions in the classroom—especially in ways that make historically marginalized voices accessible to wide readerships and that model creative, reflective reading practices as part of an anti-racist education.




Please send 250-word proposals (indicating any AV needs), along with brief biographical statements, to Jana Argersinger, First Vice President, at, by 22 January 2022.


For additional conference details, go to conferences/ala-annual-conference/. To learn more about the Margaret Fuller Society, visit