Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Break in Bermuda, or Sally Wood Lives!

At the Society of Early Americanists binannual conference in Hamilton, Bermuda, amidst lively discussions of transatlanticism, Puritanism, and print culture, panelists on "Sally Wood and Early Republican Culture" delivered intellectually invigorating presentations on this little known but crucial novelist of the early republic. The panel's paper topics included: "Women Writers and Women’s Rights in the Correspondence of Judith Sargent Murray and Sally Wood" (by Karen A. Weyler, University of North Carolina at Greensboro), "The Speculation of Dorval" (by Scott Ellis, University of Southern Connecticut), "Gothic Anxiety and the Illuminati in Sally Wood's Julia and Charles Brockden Brown's Ormond " (by Michael Cody, East Tennessee State University), and "Sally Wood's Complex Portrait of Europe" (by Scott Slawinski, Western Michigan University). The panel was organized by Scott Slawinski as a method of raising Wood's profile in the field of Early American studies, introducing her to new audiences, and demonstrating the depth and richness of her work. In addition, Slawinski chaired a panel titled "Angry Americans: The Development of National Rhetorics of Violence." Consisting of three very fine up-and-coming scholars, Sara Crosby, Heidi Oberholtzer Lee, and Margaret Abruzzo, the panel's goal was to continue a conversation begun on the early American listserv about Susan Faludi's controversial article in the New York Times wherein she discussions King Philip's War and American mythologies concerning the wilderness and Indian warfare, drawing connections to American foreign policy and terrorism in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Engaging conversations ensued during the excellent Q and A sessions for both panels. This, the 6th biannual conference for the Society, was dedicated to the memory of J. A. Leo Lemay, early Americanist extraordinaire and expert on Benjamin Franklin. Slawinski returned safely to Kalamazoo without any interference from the Triangle.

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