01/03 – CFP: MLA 2019 “Women at Work: Margaret Fuller and 19th c. Women Writers on Work

Modern Language Association Convention
Chicago, IL
January 3rd – 6th, 2019
Deadline for submission: March 1st, 2018

Women at Work: Margaret Fuller and 19th c. Women Writers on Work.

The Margaret Fuller Society is seeking individual proposals for a sponsored panel at the 2019 MLA conference in Chicago, January 3rd-6th, 2019. This session explores Margaret Fuller’s relation to and representations of labor from multiple perspectives, as we intend to investigate the ways in which Margaret Fuller and other 19th c. women writers considered, debated, practiced, and critiqued labor.
In recent years, scholars such as Gavin Jones, Jennifer Morgan and Lori Merish have addressed the centrality of women’s work, especially with regards to the aesthetic and cultural significance of poverty, the reproductive and productive work of enslaved women, and the cultural importance of working class women as both readers and writers in the antebellum era. We would like to raise questions about all types of women’s work (domestic, reproductive, forced, paid or unpaid, emotional, cultural) and the meanings this work generates.
What was Margaret Fuller’s contribution to debates about labor? How did American women writers from different ethnic, religious, economic, or political backgrounds imagine and experience work? How have ideas about labor been developed in the 19th century from an intellectual, economic, historic, political and literary standpoint? Was class related to work in 19th c. women’s circles? How did different kinds of women’s labor figure in transcendentalist texts?
We especially welcome proposals that approach Fuller along with other writers (for instance Harriet Martineau, George Sand, Fredrika Bremer, Lydia Maria Child, factory “girl” writers, Catharine Beecher, to name a few). Proposals for papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives are encouraged.
Possible ideas, but not limited to the following, include:

– Gendered division of labor
– Economic theories of labor
– Women as breadwinners
– Nineteenth century’s expanding wage labor market
– Solidarity and work cooperation
– Representations of labor in literary works
– Alternatives to the capitalist global market
– Affective labor
– Transcendentalist work ethos

If interested, please send a 300 word paper proposal and a short Vita by March 1st, 2018 to Sonia Di Loreto: sonia.diloreto@unito.it Accepted panelists must become members of MLA by April 1st, 2018.

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