Radicalism & Reform
43rd Annual Conference
Nineteenth-Century Studies Association
Rochester, New York
March 16-19, 2022
Program Draft, Updated March 7, 2022
We acknowledge with respect the Seneca Nation, known as the “Great Hill People” and “Keepers of the Western Door” of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. We take this opportunity to thank the people on whose ancestral lands the University of Rochester currently resides in Rochester, New York.
To learn more about ancestral lands upon which we will convene in March, please consult this website that maps Indigenous lands.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Inspired by the history of radicalism and reform in Rochester, New York, the NCSA committee invites proposals exploring the radical possibilities of the nineteenth-century world. From the aftershocks of the French and American revolutions to mutinies and rebellion in colonies across the globe, the nineteenth century was a period of both unrest and possibility. Abolition, suffrage, and reform movements reshaped prisons, education, and housing, marking this century as a period of institutional making and unmaking: a reckoning with ills of the past that was also profoundly optimistic about a more just and prosperous future.
Radicalism is also a generative term for considering transitional moments or social tensions: “radical” is often used interchangeably with “extreme,” but its earliest definitions describe not what is new or unusual, but what is foundational or essential. “Radical” is used to describe literal and figurative roots: the roots of plants, roots of musical chords, and the roots of words. To be radical is to embody tensions between origins and possibilities: to be anchored in what is foundational while also holding the potential for paradigm-shifting change. We welcome papers that consider these tensions in nineteenth-century culture, as well as those that consider possibilities for reforming nineteenth-century studies or academic life. Topics on nineteenth-century literature, history, art, music, or other cultural forms might include political movements or divisions, activism, resistance, labor, collective and direct action, or mutinies and rebellion. We also encourage broader interpretations of the conference theme: outsiders and outcasts, visionaries, agents of change, utopias, breakthroughs, failed reforms, conformity, or stagnation.
Topics on the state of nineteenth-century studies might include politically engaged teaching and scholarship, academic labor practices, harassment or prejudice in the academy, or new approaches to humanities education.
Please send 250-word abstracts with one-page CVs to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 30, 2021. Abstracts should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and paper title in the heading. The organizers welcome individual proposals, panel proposals with four presenters and a moderator, or larger roundtable sessions. Note that submission of a proposal constitutes a commitment to attend if accepted. Presenters will be notified in November 2021. The organizers encourage submissions from graduate students, and those whose proposals have been accepted may submit complete papers to apply for a travel grant to help cover transportation and lodging expenses. See the sidebar at right for more information about conference grants.
KEYNOTE BY PROFESSOR MANISHA SINHA
Manisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She taught at the University of Massachusetts for over twenty years where she was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed on faculty. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (University of North Carolina Press, 2000), which was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015 and featured in The New York Times 1619 Project. Her recent book, the multiple-award winning The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016) was long listed for the National Book Award for Non Fiction. The Slave’s Cause was widely reviewed in the mainstream press and was featured as the editor’s choice in The New York Times Book Review. Professor Sinha has published and been interviewed in national and international media. She is the author and editor of several other books and articles. She is also the recipient of numerous awards including two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and two from the Mellon Foundation. In 2018, she was a visiting Professor at the University of Paris, Diderot and in 2021, she received the James W.C. Pennington award, from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She is a member of the Board of the Society of Civil War Historians and of the Council of Advisors of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg, New York Public Library. She is a co-editor of the “Race and the Atlantic World, 1700-1900,” series of the University of Georgia Press and is on the editorial board of Slavery and Abolition. A historian of the long nineteenth century, her research interests lie specifically in the transnational histories of slavery, abolition, and feminism and the history and legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She is currently writing a book on the Reconstruction of American democracy after the Civil War under contract with Liveright (WW Norton).