Emerson Panel at Thoreau Society Annual Gathering 2023

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Ralph Waldo Emerson Society
contact email: 

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society will sponsor a panel at the 82nd Annual Gathering of the Thoreau Society—exploring the themes of Thoreau, politics, and extinction—to be held July12-16, 2023, in Concord, MA.

“Fates, Fortunes, and Resources in the Postbellum Republic”

In his 1863 lecture “Fortune of the Republic,” and at the peak of his lecture career after the Civil War, Emerson sounded the poles of hope and despair as he surveyed the state of the nation. He anticipated “a new era of equal rights” (LL II: 334) yet in his journal he remarked, “We hoped that in the Peace, after such a war, a great expansion would follow in the mind of the country: grand views in every direction,—true freedom in politics, in religion, in social science, in thought. But the energy of the nation seems to have expended itself in the war, and every interest is found as sectional & timorous as before” (JMN XV: 77-8). This panel invites papers that explore how Emerson figures the fate of the nation and its resources, broadly defined, in the wake of the Civil War. How does he reassess, revise, and/or elaborate on his thinking about nature, technology, economy, and/or power? In what ways does he grapple with “extinction”—personal, political, philosophical—and/or attempt to defy them? This panel is especially interested in papers that engage with Emerson’s later work, such as “American Civilization” (1862), “Fortune of the Republic” (1863), “Resources” (1864), “Progress of Culture” (1867), “Farming” (1870), and Natural History of Intellect (1870-71), and papers that reflect on continuities, shifts, and/or changes in Emerson’s thinking as he confronts the fates, fortunes, and “resources” of the postwar American landscape. 

More details about TAG may be found here: https://thoreausociety.org/events/annual-gathering-2023-thoreau-the-politics-of-extinction/. Send 300-word abstracts by 15 January 2023 to Peter Balaam (pbalaam@carleton.edu).  

The Emerson Society welcomes and encourages submissions on Emerson and his circle from diverse perspectives and critical methodologies, as well as by marginalized and/or traditionally underrepresented groups.