DEADLINE EXTENDED: Margaret Fuller Society American Literature Association 2024 Conference CFP: “Matters of Belonging” I: Relationality and Feeling in Fuller and Other 19C Women Writers and Reformers

deadline for submissions: 
January 22, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Margaret Fuller Society
contact email: 

The Margaret Fuller Society will sponsor two panels on relationality at the 35th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association, to be held 23–26 May 2024 at The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Please help circulate our CFPs far and wide across your circles of shared interest.


Send 250-word proposals (indicating AV needs) that respond to the calls below, along with brief biographical statements, to Jana Argersinger, 1st Vice President, at Submissions from graduate students and folks in non-academic fields are very welcome.


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


“Matters of belonging,” to quote two theorists of affect—matters of integration and dis-integration, to echo the founder of interpersonal neurobiology—run through all branches of relationship science, a discipline with “growing coherence and influence . . . on myriad scholarly fields” in both soft and hard sciences (Annual Review of Psychology, 2017). Belonging, being in secure relation, it seems increasingly clear, is at the core of human nature. And as the 2017 report points out, “poets, novelists, and philosophers have long recognized the centrality of relationships to human existence” (383), while scientists lag behind. According to Robin Wall Kimmerer, who dances gracefully across these disciplinary boundaries, “All of our flourishing is mutual” (Braiding Sweetgrass).




Both of our ALA panels will explore this topic in relation to Margaret Fuller and other women of the nineteenth century—the second panel focusing on pedagogy.




1) “Matters of Belonging” I: Relationality and Feeling in Fuller and Other 19C Women Writers and Reformers




Margaret Fuller, the much-acclaimed intellectual and supposed loner, lived and wrote throughout her years in the ambit of relationality and feeling. Her Autobiographical Romance constricts with complex grief in remembrance of her lost father and thrums with the travails of young friendship, the sting of alienation, the joys of attunement. Letters agonize over what she feels as her friend Emerson’s coldness and proclaim, “All the souls I ever loved are holy to me.” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony speaks to her of the “tearful sweetness of the human heart.” The record of her Conversation series for women sets collaborative learning at its foundation. As a foreign correspondent and active witness to Italy’s Risorgimento, she sees “deeds of brotherhood” and a “spirit” that “cheers and animates” her own—in transatlantic relation to a “spoiled” US that may reawaken to its founding vision. And she writes, at length, with protective tenderness of her partner Giovanni Ossoli and their small son just months before drowning with them in shipwreck off Fire Island.




The Fuller Society invites ideas about these and other movements of relationality and feeling in the work of Fuller and other 19C women both within and beyond her cohort. Among an abundance of possibilities, papers could address the following:




Reciprocity, competition


Rupture, reconciliation


Family bonds, romantic partnership


Collaboration toward social justice


Indigenous experience


Lived experience of race, gender, economic condition


Applications of relationship science (attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, interdependence theory, affect theory, affection exchange theory)


Interpersonality in the process and products of writing


Collective experience of art, music, literature


Community storytelling


Autobiography in relation


Aesthetics/matters of form


Relationship with other-than-human beings




Surprising/non-traditional kinships and alliances


Intellectual relation


Hierarchies, lateral relation


Varieties of feeling in relation:


- feeling in common with others as fomenting collaboration/revolution


- feeling the body-in-transcendence


- feeling as fact/knowledge


- affect (feeling before cognition)


- feeling as in physical sensation


- feeling and spirituality