Deadline Extended: William Wells Brown as a Man of Letters

deadline for submissions: 
August 25, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
C19: Society of 19th Century Americanists
contact email: 

CFP for 2024 C19 Conference Panel:


William Wells Brown as a Man of Letters  

William Wells Brown’s most taught and studied writings continue to be those like his autobiographical Narrative (1847), his novel Clotel (1853), and his play The Escape (1858) that helped mobilize a transatlantic, interracial alliance around the goal of abolishing U.S. slavery. Yet, we are not anywhere near the end of studying his many contributions to American culture and politics. Indeed, Brown’s literary and political careers extended well beyond the end of slavery. This panel will take a broad and comprehensive view of Brown as a preeminent man of nineteenth-century letters. Though the panel organizers (Joe Conway, University of Atlanta in Huntsville and April Logan, Salisbury University) are most interested in considerations of Brown’s less well-known writings and speeches, they also welcome papers that chart how Brown— an obsessive reviser of his own writing— adapted his more familiar  antebellum work to fit the new historical, cultural, and social contexts of Civil War and Reconstruction.    

Some topics may include, but are by no means contained by, the following:

-  My Southern Home and the “afterlife of slavery”

-  Brown’s histories and the Black Atlantic historiographical tradition, includingDuBois’ Black Reconstruction and James’ Black Jacobins

-  Brown’s development as a historian from The Black Man (1862) through The Negro in the American Rebellion (1867) and The Rising Son (1873)

-  Brown’s engagement with 19th century feminisms and womanism and/or Black Feminist and/or Womnist engagement with Brown

-  Humor as strategy over the course of Brown’s career

-  Brown’s depiction of Black community and culture before and after the war

-  Brown, the archive,and print culture (ex. Miralda’s 1860-1 publication in the Anglo-African; Clotelle’s 1864 publication in Redpath’s “Books for the Campfire Series”)

-  Brown and the study of Empire

-  Textual and contextual evolution from Clotel to Miralda to Clotelle

-  Brown’s relationships or textual comparisons with Douglass, the Crafts, Garrison, and other veterans of the anti-slavery movement and their protégés, such as Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, or other literary figures

-  Brown’s career as a temperance and/or peace advocate

-  Brown and the Black Atlantic, including his  travel narratives such as Three Years in Europe: or, Places I have Seen and People I have Met. (1852) and his late 1877 speaking tour through England and Scotland

The organizers seek proposals of 250-300 words as well as a  C.V. describing the scholarly work of potential panelists. Proposals from graduate students are especially welcome. Please submit proposals to by Friday, August, 18.