NOVEMBER 6-9, 2019



Conference Theme: PUBLIC GOOD(S) 

Auburn University College of Liberal Arts will host the biennial joint meeting of the Aphra Behn and Frances Burney Societies November 6-9, 2019 at the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for Arts & Humanities, located at historic Pebble Hill. As Behn and Burney both knew, public action is both vital and fraught, and working towards a better world can take many forms. 


In the spirit of the College's  work supporting humanities outreach to the public, the conference will include presentations and workshops that engage with the questions around public engagement and advocacy, historically and practically.  How do we share what we know about the long tradition of women’s work in the arts in new ways to new audiences?  What strategies do we have when faced with apathy or even hostility?  And how do the lives and work of women from the long eighteenth-century (1660-1840) speak to our current concerns? How do we grapple with misinformation, archival absences, and other challenges?  Perhaps most importantly and most urgently: how do we decolonize the study of women writers and artists in keeping with the principles of #BIPOC18#Bigger6 and #LitPOC values?  


Our keynote speaker is Dr. Patricia Matthew of Montclair State University. She is a specialist in British Romanticism, the history of the novel, and British abolitionist literature. She co-edited a special issue for Romantic Pedagogy Commons and have published essays and reviews in Women’s Writing, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, and the Keats-Shelley Journal. She edited the landmark collection Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and have published essays and books reviews on diversity in higher education in PMLA, The ADE Bulletin, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, The New Inquiry and The Atlantic. In addition to essays on race and popular culture, she is currently writing a monograph about sugar, gender, and British abolitionist literature.

We will also feature a “flipped plenary” from Dr. Sarah Werner, the author of Studying Early Printed Books 1450‑1800: A Practical Guide (Wiley 2019) and the companion site Most recently she has identified as an “independent librarian,” writing numerous articles on book history, digital tools, and library outreach, including “Book History and Digital Scholarship” (with Matthew Kirschenbaum) in Book History and “Toward a Feminist Practice of Bibliography” (forthcoming from Print History). She worked at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly a decade as Undergraduate Program Director and as Digital Media Strategist, and is now a consultant working with special collections libraries to encourage teaching and collaboration with students and faculty using rare materials.

In addition, the Department of Theatre is providing a free Friday night performance of Hannah Cowley's The Belle’s Stratagem, as adapted by playwright Tony Cownie and further adapted by Dr. Chase Bringardner, Chair of the Theatre Department and incoming President of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). This production is part of the Auburn University Theatre’s 106th season, brought together under the theme “Bodies of Work,” focusing on the contributions and labor of Theatre students on and off-stage. 


Special Thanks To

Joseph Aistrup, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts

Jeremy Downes, Chair of English Department

Chase Bringardner, Chair of Theatre Department

Aaron Trehub, Assistant Dean for Technology and Head, Special Collections and Archives.


Maiben Beard, Outreach Associate, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities

Wendy Bonner, Executive Director, Communications & Marketing, CLA

Amy Hutchins, Department of English

Donna Kent, Department of English

Rachel Naftel, Event Coordinator, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities

Gregory Schmidt, Special Collections 

Adriene C. Simon, Director of Creative Services, CLA

Victoria Santos, Director, News and Media Services

Katie Shade, Director of Theatre Production


Tubah Mohaidat, Graduate Program Assistant

Garrity Ward, Graduate Program Assistant

Mary Grace Vinson, Undergraduate Intern, 18thConnect/BehnBurney