“Climate” is the theme and keyword for the Fifth Biennial C19 Conference located at Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 22-25 2018. For our inaugural episode, members of the C19 Podcast team interviewed the organizers of the upcoming conference. Hester Blum (Penn State), Jesse Aleman (UNM), and Carrie Bramen (SUNY Buffalo) share insights about the ideas behind the conference, as well as suggestions for potential conference attendees. The deadline for proposals is September 15. Written and produced by Doug Guerra (SUNY Oswego), Melissa Gniadek (UToronto), and Kristie Schlauraff (Villanova). Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
J19: The Journal of Nineteenth Century Americanists was launched in 2013. Published twice annually, the official publication of the C19 organization is dedicated to innovative research on, and analysis of, the long nineteenth century. In this episode members of the C19 Podcast team bring you an exclusive interview with the new co-editors of the journal, Elizabeth “Betsy” Duquette (Gettysburg College) and Stacey Margolis (University of Utah). We are excited to bring you this sneak peek into the workings of a leading academic journal and Betsy and Stacey’s vision for the next 5 years of J19. Written and produced by Christine “Xine” Yao (UBC), Mark Sussman (Hunter College), and Matthew Teutsch (Auburn). Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
Can 19th-century approaches to slavery provide a map for thinking about 21st century trafficking? In this episode, Anna Mae Duane (UConn)leads a dialogue about how we can--and can’t--bring the nineteenth century to bear on the current phenomenon largely referred to as “Modern Slavery”--a term that is itself deeply controversial. The conversation centers around the edited collection, Child Slavery Before and After Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies (Cambridge UP, 2017). Editor Anna Mae Duane interviews three contributors to that project: Karen-Sánchez Eppler (Amherst), Micki McElya (UConn), and Sarah Winter (UConn). Together they think about what constitutes a usable past when thinking about modern forms of oppression, and about how focusing on children can help us to rethink questions of property, memory, and freedom. The episode was produced by Ali Oshinskie with the support of WHUS studios. Post-production assistance by Doug Guerra, Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
What do you do when you don't go looking for a book--it comes and finds you instead? That's what happened to Jean Lee Cole (Loyola University Maryland) when she ran into the woods of H.M.T. in the pages of The Christian Recorder. It took nearly ten years, but H.M.T. eventually got his way. The story behind Freedom's Witness: The Civil War Correspondence of Henry McNeal Turner (West Virginia UP, 2013) is a story about periodical research, African American print culture, and history's refusal to keep silent. This episode was written and produced by Jean Lee Cole. Post-production help from Christine "Xine" Yao. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
How do the recovered lives and work of Black writers find an audience? Over the last three decades, Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858-1932) has become central to nineteenth-century African American literary studies. Scholars have drawn attention to the subtlety, wit, and complexity of his stories, novels, and essays, which were once regarded as pandering and old-fashioned. Yet, despite the ongoing boom in Chesnutt scholarship, we still know relatively little about his life, and the general reading public rarely encounters his work. Tess Chakkalakal (Bowdoin College) hopes to change that with a new biography of Chesnutt aimed toward a general readership. In this episode, she sits down with C19 Podcast producer Mark Sussman (Hunter College, CUNY) to talk about some new discoveries about Chesnutt's life, the challenges of writing for a general audience, and why Chesnutt matters now. Post-production help from Christine "Xine" Yao. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
Why should we care about a once famous, then forgotten woman writer? While conducting research in the Washington State archives, Laura Laffrado (Western Washington University) stumbled upon the twelve linear feet of the papers of forgotten Pacific Northwest author Ella Rhoads Higginson (1862?-1940) and set out to recover Higginson and her storied literary career. Celebrated prize-winning author and first Poet Laureate of Washington State, Higginson was said to have put the Pacific Northwest on the literary map. Weaving together her journey of discovery, her students’ reactions to Higginson, and a local film company’s account of adapting Higginson’s screenplay, Laffrado introduces listeners to a woman who not only penned an impressive range of work but even rewrote The Scarlett Letter for her Pacific Northwest audience. Laffrado’s collection, Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature (2015), brings Higginson’s work back into print and testifies to the enduring value of literary recovery, feminism, and recognizing the women who came before us. This episode was produced by Jeremy Cushman, Associate Professor of English at Western Washington University. The Western Washington University students interviewed in the podcast are Hana Shishkarev, a graduate student in English, and undergraduate Marielle Stockton. The co-owners of the independent film company Talking to Crows who are interviewed are Cassidy Young and Stacy Reynolds. Post-production help from Kristie Schlauraff. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
How is studying and teaching nineteenth-century U.S. literature different outside of the U.S.? Do British scholars have different horizons than their American counterparts? This episode of the C19 podcast provides scholars in the U.S. and the rest of the world with insight into scholarship, disciplinary practices, and current issues in British Higher Education. Join hosts Dr. Katie McGettigan (Royal Holloway, University of London), Dr. Hannah Lauren Murray (King’s College London), and Dr. Benjamin Pickford (University of Lausanne) to find out about the British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA), their third biennial symposium: “The Not Yet of the Nineteenth-Century U.S.” held at University of Exeter in November 2017, and to hear reflections on teaching and researching outside of the U.S. This episode was edited by Benjamin Pickford. Music was provided by Lee Rosevere. Post-production help from Melissa Gniadek. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
Today, we associate the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin. But in America in the nineteenth-century, and well into the twentieth, the evolutionary theory of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was far more influential than Darwin's. In this episode, Kyla Schuller (Rutgers) and Britt Rusert (UMass Amherst) discuss the ways that Lamarckian thought influenced attitudes toward sentimentalism, child development, physiology, and race. Schuller takes up these topics in her book The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Duke 2017), and here she expands on them and asks how we adapt our thinking about biopower to the Age of Trump. Episode produced by Britt Rusert (UMass Amherst). Post-production help from Mark Sussman. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
Why discuss poor whites when thinking about race and class in nineteenth-century America and beyond? In this dialogue between literary studies and history Matthew Teutsch (Auburn University) and Keri Leigh Merritt (Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South [Cambridge UP, 2017]) talk about how wealthy white landowners manipulated the antiblackness of poor whites in the antebellum period, the image of poor whites in the cultural imagination, and the legacies of this racially divisive class warfare today. They discuss interdisciplinarity in the field, the effective use of archives in pedagogy, and academics on social media. Episode produced by Matthew Teutsch. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
How does an enslaved woman's song from 1830s in Georgia end up on a 1950s radio program in South Africa and in a modern singing class? This is the surprising story of an African-born woman named Tena, whose music has echoed for generations across continents, airwaves, and even college classrooms. Mary Caton Lingold (Virginia Commonwealth University) first encountered Tena’s song in a book of sheet music by Carl Sandburg but a series of events led her to uncover details about Tena’s life in living memories of her enslavers’ descendants and in archival recordings and documents. This episode is about Tena's life and legacy, the challenges of researching enslaved women’s lives, and how sound and performance can open up new ways of engaging with the past. Episode produced by Kristie Schlauraff. Available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and as a transcript.
In our current moment there is an unmistakable need for people who are invested in the knowledge, methods, dispositions, and perspectives cultivated by the humanities. Our trade is nuance: sensitivity to the variability of meaning, a willingness to consider alternative social plots and coexisting answers to complex questions. Yet, in our own professional lives, it can become all too easy to treat the question of what to do with a humanities PhD as though it had only one acceptable answer. In this episode, born out of the recent C19 Conference in Albuquerque, Patricia Crain (NYU) assembles a group of scholars who have found fulfilling careers beyond the tenure track to discuss strategies for translating graduate training to other professional frameworks. Featuring: Jane Greenway Carr (CNN), Sarah Anne Carter (The Chipstone Foundation), Paul Erickson (The American Academy of Arts & Sciences), and David Weimer (The Harvard Map Collection). Episode produced by Douglas Guerra (SUNY Oswego). Available on iTunes and SoundCloud.
Image: “Roaring River,” in Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup (1853), by Solomon Northup, Courtesy of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.