Call for Papers

In honor of Boston’s “New World” past and in recognition of its central role in what William Boelhower has called the “new Atlantic studies matrix,” the 2009 Symbiosis conference committee is delighted to invite participation in a three-day conference, “Boston and the New Atlantic World.” Aiming to capitalize on the tremendous wealth of current scholarship on transatlantic subjects as well as to work on bridging the disciplinary gap between scholars of Atlantic literature and history, this conference will gather participants on the Suffolk University campus on Boston’s Beacon Hill, within striking distance of the Freedom Trail, the Black Heritage Trail, the Boston Athenaeum, the Museum of African American History, and other sites of great Atlantic significance.

We invite proposals for panels and individual papers that engage a variety of transatlantic and/or transnational topics in the literatures and cultural histories of the Atlantic world. Papers that treat Boston as a site of Atlantic cultural exchange are especially welcome, although the conference is certainly not limited to local concerns. Submissions are encouraged from scholars of literary history from the early modern period to the present. Possible topics for panels and/or papers might include the following:

– European visions of the New World
– transcultural encounters around the Atlantic rim
– episodes of linguistic exchange, creolization, and translation
– Atlantic radicalism, rebellion, and revolution (United States: 1776, France: 1789, Haiti: 1791, Europe: 1848)
– Atlantic utopias and dystopias (American colonies, Pantisocratic dreams, Fourierist communities, Liberian settlement)
– Atlantic genres (slave and captivity narratives, travel journals, ship’s logs, sermons, theatrical performances, epistolary novels, personal letters, newspaper dispatches)
– figures of the black Atlantic (Wheatley, Cugoano, Equiano, Douglass, Brown, Delany, Jacobs, Du Bois, Wright, Baldwin, Hughes, Condé, Marshall, and others)
– transamerican and hemispheric Atlantic studies: literary connections between the cultures of Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America
– flow patterns of Atlantic engagement with other oceans and seas: Arctic, Indian, Mediterranean, Pacific
– transatlantic religious experiments and institutions
– transatlantic abolitionism (lecture tours, conventions, antislavery periodicals)
– transatlantic publishing (literary reception and reputation, reviews and puffs, international editions and copyright disputes)
– transatlantic cultural celebrities
– transnational literary friendships, collaborations, and currents of influence
– tourists, pilgrims, migrants, sailors, pirates, ambassadors, expatriates, and exiles
– competing nativist, nationalist, and cosmopolitan interests
– artistic movements that crossed and recrossed the Atlantic (such as Romanticism and modernism)

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 1-page CV as Microsoft Word attachments to Leslie Eckel ( by the deadline of February 20, 2009. Inquiries are welcome before then.

For more information about Symbiosis, a journal of Anglo-American literary relations and transatlantic studies, please visit

The Symbiosis editors plan to feature selected papers from “Boston and the New Atlantic World” in a special conference double issue of the journal to be released in late 2009-early 2010.

A prize for the most outstanding paper given by a graduate student at the conference (as judged by members of the Symbiosis editorial board) will be awarded as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *