Call for Papers

2022 Conference: Reconstructions

March 31-April 2, 2022 | Hyatt Regency, Coral Gables, Florida (Discount & Reservation portal)

Submissions due: September 17th (Link to Submit)

Call for Papers
C19: The Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists Seventh Biennial Conference

C19 seeks submissions for its seventh conference, “Reconstructions,” to be held March 31 to April 2, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables. We invite individual paper, panel, and roundtable proposals on history, literature, politics, and culture in and beyond the United States during the long nineteenth century.

This seventh biennial conference invites engagements with the various meanings of “reconstructions,” as a historical endeavor, as an act of reimagining, as an invitation to rebuild with an eye to equity and sustainability, as an acknowledgement that the original plans did not work out as hoped. From perpetual construction of national origin stories to the emergence of literary modes that were committed to crafting historical narratives to ongoing attempts to redress racial violence through legislative and reform efforts, reconstruction is one of the long nineteenth century’s organizing principles. In addition to thinking of Reconstruction as a particular era, considering reconstruction in the context of the long nineteenth century raises new questions about the nature of relocation; embodiment and sexuality; emergent technologies; the drive for racial management; the long history of slavery, class, race, environment, temporality, and institutions.

With this conference theme we emphasize reconstruction as a capacious conceptual category that allows us to critically interrogate the long nineteenth century and its methods, principles, theoretical frameworks, and practices. While reconstruction certainly evokes rebuilding and fictions of reunion, we also are interested in broad considerations of the various forms of reconstruction, as well as its inverse: displacement, destruction, and disappointment. How do we understand the violence and erasure that reconstruction depends upon and necessitates? How might we understand reconstruction as a constant site of reinvention rather than a political or social horizon?

We are particularly interested in examining how reconstruction functions both within the texts we study and in our field at large. How did nineteenth-century reform movements reimagine what was acceptable, what constituted progress, and what needed to be undone? How was the body—particularly in terms of disability in the wake of the Civil War—both physically and imaginatively reconstituted? How did nineteenth-century authors and activists reconstruct myths of national origin? How did BIPOC authors, excluded from that founding vision, reconstruct a vision of history that offered both critique of the past and possibilities for alternate futures? How did reconstruction’s capitulation to reconciliation foreclose such possibilities?

We also hope to engender discussions of reconstruction in scholarship and pedagogy. How do we as scholars ethically reconstruct archives and reading practices that challenges scholarly inquiry as traditionally constructed? How do we reimagine our classrooms and syllabi to incorporate the wealth of archival material made accessible by digital projects? What do visual studies and sound studies reveal about the nineteenth century and its multiple reconstructions? How do we render the work of nineteenth-century reconstruction relevant to our own moment’s requirements to reassess, reimagine and build anew? And how do we, in the 21st century, think through the reclamation projects of 19th-century literary studies from the late 20th century and how they reconstructed the field at that moment?

C19 also invites submissions on other topics, especially those engaging literary, cultural and historical perspectives on nineteenth-century Florida, its status as a Spanish colonial territory, and its location within the circum-Caribbean. We encourage transhemispheric, transoceanic, and transnational approaches; presentations attending to migration, movement, and travel, and those examining the complex lives, afterlives, and ecologies of settler colonialism, indigeneity, slavery, and empire.


C19 welcomes proposals for roundtables, workshops, panels, and individual paper submissions. We prefer that proposals with multiple participants reflect a diversity of institutional affiliation, academic rank, and disciplinary background. For panel submissions, please include at least three presenters and no more than four, one of whom may serve as a respondent. Roundtables may have more presenters. All proposals must leave adequate time for discussion (each session is 90 minutes long). Individuals seeking potential collaborators may wish to use the C19 listserv, the discussion board on C19’s Facebook page, or Twitter, using the #C19Amlit hashtag or by tagging @C19Americanists.

C19: 2022 will once again feature a series of seminars which will provide participants the opportunity for a collaborative conversation around a particular topic. Each seminar will be capped at 15 participants and will be run by leaders with expertise in the topic. Typically, each participant will submit a five-page paper before the conference to be read in advance by the other participants; time in the seminar itself will be reserved for discussion. Seminar participants will be listed in the program. Participation as both a presenter and seminar participant will be allowed only as space permits. Leaders are chosen by the Program Committee. 2022 seminar descriptions and seminar leaders can be found here.

Conference participants are limited to one appearance on the program in a substantive role (presenter, roundtable participant, or respondent), and one appearance as a session organizer, chair, seminar participant, or speaker/facilitator on a professional support session. Please submit only one proposal for a substantive role.

Submissions will be due on September 17th, 2021. The conference submission site will open for submissions on June 15th:

Detailed submission instructions are posted on Ex Ordo.

Program Committee

Sarah E. Chinn, Program Chair, Hunter College, CUNY
Anna Mae Duane, University of Connecticut
Autumn Womack, Princeton University

Onsite Coordinators

Martha Schoolman, Florida International University
John Funchion, University of Miami

CFP Update (6/16/21): The Executive Committee and Program Committee will take the occasion of the 2022 “Reconstructions” conference in Coral Gables to showcase scholarship and special events that, among other things, draw attention to and challenge the history of voter suppression in the state and question its recent ban against the instruction of critical race theory in classrooms. We encourage submissions that draw upon the rich multicultural context of the conference’s location in Miami-Dade County as well as the Black and Indigenous histories of the state.

The decision to hold C19 in Florida was made in 2019, when a substantial non-refundable deposit was placed at the Hyatt, Coral Gables for a conference in 2020. The pandemic forced us to postpone and then go virtual with the 2020 conference, but we were contractually bound to hold the next conference at the Hyatt. It would be financially disastrous for an organization of our size to lose this deposit. The original choice of location was informed by C19’s commitment to holding conferences in different regions. The last time we held a conference in the southeast was Chapel Hill in 2014. Further details on site-specific and site-responsive programming will be posted on our conference website as plans are developed and confirmed.

For more information on the conference banner, check out the Hugh Mangum Photographs collection in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, the source of the aged, but unaltered image above. For more on designer Tré Seals’s Vocal Type Co., devoted to creating typefaces that amplify “a piece of history from a specific underrepresented race, ethnicity, or gender—from the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Argentina to the Civil Rights Movement in America,” see the Vocal Type “Manifesto.”