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Season 5


S05E01 | Reconstructions: Looking Forward to the Seventh Biennial C19 Conference | Subscribe

“Reconstructions” is the theme and inspiration for the upcoming, in-person C19 conference, to be held in Florida’s Coral Gables/ Miami region this March 31st-April 2nd. In this episode members of the podcast team interview the conference organizers as they prepare for the event and highlight what attendees can expect. Sarah Chinn (Hunter College, CUNY), Anna Mae Duane (University of Connecticut), Edlie Wong (University of Maryland), Martha

Schoolman (Florida International University), and John Funchion (University of Miami) share behind-the-scenes insights as well as suggestions for potential conference attendees. For additional information, the conference program is available online.

This episode was written by Ryan Charlton (Auburn University) and produced by Ryan Charlton, Rachel Boccio (LaGuardia Community College, CUNY), Ashley Rattner (Tusculum University), Julia Bernier (Washington and Jefferson College), DeLisa Hawkes (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), and Lizzy LeRud (Georgia Tech). Music [] by Lobo Loco used under a Creative Commons [] license. A full transcript of the episode is available here


S05E02 | The Founding Mothers

of American Adoption

In 1842, nine years before the first adoption law was passed in the United States, two sisters from Boston, Anstrice and Eunice C. Fellows, began what would be the first adoption agency—in the form of a reform periodical, The Orphans’ Advocate and Social Monitor. With only the aid of their pens, in a small office near the Boston Common, these women created a cultural shift regarding orphaned and displaced children.

In this episode, Sophia Hadley (Boston University) tells the story of the Fellows’ revolutionary work and their intervention into a surprisingly contentious discourse on orphan care in the nineteenth century. Amidst the rise of institutional care for orphans, the sisters promote the practice of adoption, specifically adoption within the local community. In the editorial and fictional works within the publication, the Fellows imagine varied members of the community—single, married, male, female, poor, and rich—as capable of having beneficial and empowering relationships with children among them, regardless of biological relation to them. Eschewing an individualistic or institutional approach to child-rearing, these authors imagine a collective responsibility in the care of children. This vision proves liberating for both the children and the guardians alike, shaping families in nontraditional ways. During our contemporary time in which the family unit is being productively reimagined, the forgotten story of the Fellows sisters and their incredible periodical can provide a priceless resource. This episode was produced by Sophia Hadley. Additional production support was provided by Lizzy LeRud (Georgia Institute of Technology). Full episode transcript available at

S05E03 | The First Book Celebration

This past February, the C19 Ad Hoc Committee on Events brought together eleven scholars to discuss the contributions their first books make to our understanding of nineteenth-century history, literature, and culture. Hosted by Crystal Donker (SUNY New Paltz), this live virtual event included individual presentations and a lively Q&A, where authors shared hard-won practical advice about the publishing process. On this episode of the C19 podcast, we share the excitement and intellectual curiosity of The First Book Celebration, introducing our listening audience to a new generation of scholars. This episode was produced by Rachel Boccio (LaGuardia Community College, CUNY) and Ashley Rattner (Tusculum University). The authors appearing on this episode include Ashley Barnes, Juliana Chow, Gordon Fraser, Melissa Gniadek, Reed Gochberg, Thomas Koenigs, Hannah Murray, Julie Pfeiffer, Crystal Webster, Xine Yao, and Elissa Zellinger. Full episode transcript is available at [].

S05E04 | Public Memory and Los Angeles’ Latinx C19

It is likely that you walk past a road or building sign every day without the slightest thought about how the names listed on these spaces have rich ties to an activity that is popular in your town or city, important to the history of a particular group of people in your community, or to a historical event that a particular narrative has overlooked. This episode centers on Los Angeles’ Latinx communities as integral sites of C19 cultural production through its retelling of the historical significance of the Pico and Sepulveda intersection in West Los Angeles and the famous horse race that occurred there between Pío Pico and José Antonio Andrés Sepúlveda, two prominent figures in Mexican California, on March 20, 1852. Scholars Efren Lopez (SDSU-Imperial Valley), Marissa López (UCLA), and Gabriela Valenzuela (UCLA), as well as young poets from 826LA, a non-profit writing center serving K-12 youth, and the British-Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar, invite listeners to consider how digital tools can be used to spark conversations about our surroundings, literature, and public memory. DeLisa D. Hawkes (UT-Knoxville) produced this episode. Check out this complete list of URLs related to these scholars’ work on public memory and Los Angeles’ Latinx C19 studies at Full transcript at

S05E05 | Finding Whitman Between the Columns: A Trip Into Nineteenth-Century Newsprint

Everybody knows Walt Whitman (1819-1892) as the poet of Leaves of Grass (1855), but only a few think of him as a newspaperman. Still, Whitman’s journalistic writings are not only more numerous than his poetic output, but they also attracted more readers for much of his career. This podcast episode looks at one of Walt Whitman’s jobs in journalism: his editorial post at the Brooklyn Daily Times in the late 1850s, after he had already published two unsuccessful editions of Leaves of Grass.

The extent of Whitman’s writings for the Times is hotly debated, with scholarly assessments ranging from “no association” to “wrote most editorials for multiple years.” In this episode, Dr. Matt Cohen (University of Nebraska—Lincoln), one of the co-directors of the Walt Whitman Archive, interviews Whitman researchers Drs. Stephanie M. Blalock (University of Iowa Libraries), Kevin McMullen (University of Nebraska—Lincoln), Stefan Schöberlein (Texas A&M University—Central Texas), and Jason Stacy (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) who have been trying to identify and track Whitman’s anonymous writings in that paper for a collaborative grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Their conversation not only engages with scholarly issues relating to authorship attribution, antebellum newspaper culture, and Whitman biography but also features excerpts of newly discovered writings by Whitman—on topics as disparate as prostitution, policing, and public works. Additional production support provided by Lizzy LeRud (Georgia Institute of Technology). Transcript is available at [].


Image: Ed Ruscha's Pico and Sepulveda (1999), Courtesy, Chapman University Collection of Art

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