Transatlantic Women 3:
Women of the Green Atlantic
Royal Irish Academy
21-22 June 2018
Sponsored by the Catherine Maria Sedgwick Society and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society
“Since every wind that blows brings to our shores a fresh swarm of these people, who are to form so potent an element in our future national character, it behooves us to study them well, and make the best we can of them.”
Catharine Sedgwick, “The Little Mendicants” (1846)
The third meeting of Transatlantic Women will take place in Dublin, Ireland, on 21-22 June 2018 at the Royal Irish Academy. It will focus on Irish/American crosscurrents of the long nineteenth century, on the transatlantic stream of writers, reformers, and immigrants crossing over the Green Atlantic who were engaged in refuting but also perpetuating stereotypes and racist beliefs that troubled Irish-American relations. Such authors as Catharine Sedgwick, for instance, wrestled with contradictory conceptions created of Irish immigrants who appear in many of her writings, including “Irish Girl” (1842) and “The Post Office: An Irish Story” (1843). In a different context, “An Affectionate and Christian Address of Many Thousands of Women” (1852) pointedly addressed American women as the “sisters” of women from both Great Britain and Ireland; although Harriet Beecher Stowe never traveled to Ireland, she met deputations from that country during her first visit to Europe (1853). In “What Is a Home?” (1864) and “Servants” (1865), she expressed concerns about the Irish in the United States similar to those of Sedgwick.
This transatlantic gathering will celebrate, and question, nineteenth-century women who crossed the Green Atlantic, wrote about it, or in other ways connected the United States with Ireland through networks, translations, transatlantic fame, or influence. As Peter D. O’Neill and David Lloyd demonstrate in The Black and Green Atlantic: Cross-Currents of the African and Irish Diasporas (2009), people from Ireland, as well as from Africa and the United States, crossed the Atlantic as slaves and servants, as cultural and political exiles or activists. Many women, active in travel writing, pamphleteering, writing fiction, newspaper articles, speeches, fairy tales, and ghost stories, were promoters of women’s rights and the figure of the New Woman, and were engaged in philanthropy, temperance, abolitionism, social commentary—and simply just in sightseeing and enjoying themselves. Among the most prominent figures to build bridges between the United States and Ireland around activism are such well-known Americans as Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony (on the Irish Question), Frances Willard, Ellen Craft, Ida B. Wells, and the Irish Frances Power Cobbe; among those who have received less attention are, for example, the African American Sarah Parker Remond and the poet Frances Osgood. And the exchange went both ways: fiction by Irish writer Maria Edgeworth, for instance, influenced Sedgwick, among others.
The Transatlantic Women 3 conference brings together scholars representing various countries and disciplines to examine the ways in which these women and their ideas moved, how they resisted oppression and created new ways to conceptualize their identities and the reality surrounding them. We welcome presentations on any topic related to nineteenth-century transatlantic women but are especially interested in those dealing with women of the Irish-American nexus. Some of the key concepts include race, stereotypes, assimilation, immigrant reality; conceptualization of space, distance, and identity; movement, and memory—historical and personal.
Topics include, but are not limited to:
- recovering voices of Irish-Americans, or American-Irish women
- struggles of immigrant women
- women pioneers, in professions, activism, innovation
- female networks and sisterhoods—of writers, journalists, travelers
- women activists (abolitionism, anti-lynching, temperance, women’s rights, peace, white slavery, reform, animal rights)
- women travelers and their descriptive gaze
- fictional and realistic descriptions of places, people, and societies
- women’s articulations of transatlanticism and the Green Atlantic
Abstracts, which should be about 250 words, and a short bio, are due by 1 November 2017. They should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to yet another stimulating transatlantic conversation with you!
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of the organizers: