Calls for Papers

Washington Irving Society: No Virtual, In-Person Panels for ALA 2021

The Washington Irving Society (WIS) will not be hosting panels at this summer’s American Literature Association Conference in Boston, July 7-11, 2021. We plan to be back in May 2022 for the ALA conference in Chicago. We encourage Irving scholars to support other ALA author societies if you’re interested in the conference. Please see

CFP: Washington Irving – Open Topic (ALA 2020)

The Washington Irving Society (WIS) invites proposals for any topic related to the study of Irving’s writings, historical contexts, or contemporaries for the American Literature Association Conference in San Diego, May 21-24, 2020. All critical approaches are welcome.   Please send an abstract of 250 words plus a brief bio to Dr. Sean Keck at by January 27th, 2020. For more information about ALA, please see

Revolutionary Legacies: The Ninth Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society Symposium (June 24-27, 2020)

Union College, Schenectady, New York

The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society invites submissions for its ninth symposium, titled Revolutionary Legacies. The Symposium will take place June 24-27 on the beautiful campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York, and will honor both the Sedgwick family’s ties to the Albany and Hudson River regions and the area’s role in America’s many revolutions.

Although Catharine Sedgwick is strongly associated with the Berkshires region of Massachusetts, the Albany region was important to her family as well. Her father, Theodore Sedgwick, had strong ties to Philip Schuyler, who served as a General in the Revolutionary War and whose grand mansion looms over the Hudson River, and to Alexander Hamilton, one of Schuyler’s sons-in-law. Catharine’s brother Theodore practiced law in Albany and her sister Frances lived there with her husband. Catharine herself briefly attended school in the city and as an adult visited frequently, including passing through on her way to Saratoga Springs and points west and north. Sedgwick often portrayed the Albany and Hudson River Valley region in her fiction: characters in Redwood, Clarence, and The Travellers reside in or travel through it. Most significantly, in her Revolutionary War novel The Linwoods, Sedgwick locates key events in the Hudson River Valley.

The organizers of the Sedgwick Symposium invite papers that address any aspect of Sedgwick’s life and works, including but not limited to Catharine’s or her family’s ties to Albany and the Hudson River Valley. We also welcome proposals on other topics connected to the area or to the conference theme. Potential topics might include:

  • Literary engagements with the American Revolution by Sedgwick or other authors—including non-US authors
  • Women’s participation in the American Revolution, including nonwhite women’s experiences of war
  • Travel and tourism in New York and Canada in the era of the “fashionable tour”
  • Immigration, settlement, and native displacement in upstate New York
  • Abolitionism, women’s rights, and other reforms (2020 is the centennial of the 19th Amendment, with its roots in nearby Seneca Falls)
  • Religious revolutions of the Second Great Awakening, including those in New York’s “burnt-over district”
  • Dutch colonial legacies in early U.S. literature
  • Slavery and its aftermath in the state of New York
  • Women’s education in the early republic and antebellum America
  • Arts and culture of the Hudson Valley region, from the Hudson River School to today
  • The American Revolution in recent popular culture: Hamilton, Turn, Taboo, Sleepy Hollow, Poldark, etc.
  • Strategies for teaching the works of Sedgwick and her contemporaries
  • Early American literature in the digital age

Send proposals of no more than 250 words to Ashley Reed ( by February 28, 2020.

CFP: Celebrating The Sketch Book (ALA 2019)

In honor of the 200th anniversary of The Sketch Book (1819-1820), which includes the legendary stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the Washington Irving Society invites proposals for any topic related to The Sketch Book for the American Literature Association Conference in Boston, May 23-26, 2019. Please send an abstract of 250 words plus a brief bio to Dr. Sean Keck at by January 15, 2019. For more information about ALA and the WIS, please see and

2018 ALA Symposium in Santa Fe: Irving’s Flora and Fauna

If anyone would like to put together a panel in Santa Fe on behalf of the Washington Irving Society, message by Friday, September 7, 2018, since ALA wants all panels submitted by the 15th. Irving would fit in well with the theme: “Sights and Sites: Vision and Place in American Literature,” and Santa Fe in the fall sounds great! Tracy would be interested in chairing or giving a paper if other folks are game.

CFP: Early American Literature and Food Culture (ALA 2018)

The Washington Irving Society invites proposals connecting Irving and his contemporaries with food culture studies for the ALA Conference in San Francisco, May 24-27, 2018.  Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the history of particular foods, the politics of the kitchen, agricultural practices, cross-cultural food encounters, mealtime rituals, hunger, or overconsumption as represented in early American literature.  All critical frameworks are welcome.  Please send an abstract of no more than 200 words plus a short CV to by January 15, 2018.

CFP: Christmas Traditions in American Literature (ALA 2018)

Washington Irving’s Sketch Book contains a handful of Christmas stories set at an English manor called Bracebridge Hall. These Christmas sketches influenced Charles Dickens, among others, and brought old English traditions into America’s Christmas consciousness. The sketches inspired Irving fans to host Bracebridge dinners, and these festivities continue almost 200 years later. In fact, an extravagant Bracebridge production occurs every December at Yosemite National Park. The Washington Irving Society invites papers from participants of such dinners, Irving scholars, and experts in other American texts dealing with the holidays for an ALA round table discussion of Christmas traditions. Please send an abstract of 250-300 words and a short CV to by January 15, 2018.

For further information about the American Literature Association’s conference, held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, May 24-27, 2018, please consult the ALA website:

Previous CFP: Washington Irving at ALA 2017

Proposals Due January 25, 2017

The Washington Irving Society invites proposals on any Irving topic for the ALA Conference in Boston, May 25-28, 2017. Please send an abstract of no more than 200 words plus a short CV to by January 20, 2017. For more information about the Washington Irving Society, check out For more information about the conference, please visit

Previous CFP: Washington Irving at ALA 2016

Proposals Due January 25, 2016

The Washington Irving Society invites proposals on any Irving topic for the ALA Conference in San Francisco, May 26-29, 2016. Please send an abstract of no more than 200 words to by January 25, 2016. For more information about the Washington Irving Society, please visit

Previous CFP: “Digital Irving” Sponsored by the Washington Irving Society

Proposals Due January 3, 2015

Washington Irving’s Sketch-Book featured his narrator’s perusal of the archives of the British Museum–complete with his fantasy of the portraits of the authors on the walls springing to life to accuse those studying there of theft. The Washington Irving Society asks you to consider animating a different archive in this panel exploring the role that the Digital Humanities might play in the study and teaching of Washington Irving and his contemporaries. Topics might include, but are not limited to: What opportunities do digital archives provide for scholars of the early republic? What are some of the gaps in those archives? How might scholarly communities better use the internet to disseminate Irving’s work to one another, to students, or to the general public? What models for digital research might effectively be applied to the study of Irving and other authors of the early republic? We welcome proposals that focus on current research as well as more prospective topics.

Please send proposals for “Digital Irving” to Tracy Hoffman at by January 3, 2015.

For further information about the American Literature Association’s 26th annual conference, held at The Westin Copley Place in Boston on May 27-30, 2015 (Wednesday through Saturday after Memorial Day weekend), please consult the ALA website:;



Examining Washington Irving’s role in 19th-century American literature and history reveals a multifaceted figure who helped to shape American exceptionalist discourses but also embodied a transnationalism that refused to see the US as isolated and wholly unique. This tension corresponds to the image of Irving as what Wai Chee Dimock sees as the not quite fully American “father of American literature.” When we look at Irving’s experiences in Spain first as a traveler (1826) and later as a minister (1842), Irving’s well-established transatlanticism emerges more fully globalized, evidenced by his Iberian writings, and in particular his biography of the Prophet Mohammed and the leaders who came after him, Mahomet and his Successors 1849/50. Mahomet and his Successors directs Irving to the East and South and to questions regarding past and nascent empires (including those of Britain, Spain, and the United States). In his writing on the Prophet Mohammed, Irving presents a man who is at once charismatic and initially well-intentioned before becoming a “prophet of the sword.” Irving’s Mohammed is honorable, though very likely self-delusional and perhaps even epileptic. Nonetheless, Irving’s writing engaged the English speaking world in a version of Mohammed’s life, teachings, and political legacy that reveal much about how Irving and perhaps his contemporaries approached this world leader.

This collection seeks essays that analyze Irving’s writing on the Prophet Mohammed as well as Irving’s relationship to the Islamic world. How does Irving’s depiction of the prophet relate to other images circulating at the time? What does it tell us of how Islam was seen more generally? How are we to understand the mixed review Irving gives Mohammed and Islam? Could the Islamic past have served a particular role for an emerging American nationalism? How do Irving’s writing on Islam relate to his other work and the construction of 19th-century American Literature? What else was going on in the nation, world, and letters in terms of the United States’ understanding and engagement with the Muslim world and history? Questions such as these and others that work through Irving’s Mohammed biography and his relationship to Islam and/or the Islamic world are welcome.

Deadline for 300 word Abstracts: January 1, 2015.

If approved Full Essays (3,000-4,000words, MLA style) due May 2015.

Contact Dr. Zubeda Jalalzai, Professor of English at Rhode Island College ( with questions and submissions.

Published on November 4, 2009 at 4:18 am  Comments Off on Calls for Papers  
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