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 5-9, 2019 at the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for Arts & Humanities, located at historic Pebble Hill.  In the spirit of the CLAs work supporting humanities outreach to the public, we seek papers, roundtables, and workshops that engage with the idea of public good(s).  As Behn and Burney both knew, public action is both vital and fraught, and working towards a better world can take many forms. 


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?  

Roundtable: Intersecting Race and Gender in the 18th Century Classroom. 

 This roundtable will discuss strategies for intersecting discussions of race and gender when teaching eighteenth-century texts. Bringing together diversity in the eighteenth century is an on-going challenge, and these presenters will consider the struggles and strategies they have used to avoid siloing conversations about race and gender in the classroom. On one level this roundtable will raise questions about how to incorporate diverse texts and voices into our classes. For example, how do we deal with the mediated and edited voice of Mary Prince in what is ostensibly a narrative "related by herself"? How does teaching non-chronologically allow for foregrounding diverse voices and perspectives in the survey classroom? How can instructors craft activities that consider the complex but powerful voices and positions of people of color, especially women, in travel narratives‚Äîfictional or otherwise‚Äîthat challenge, but do not erase, the colonial power of the European traveler? On another level, this roundtable will raise questions about the classroom space itself. How do we acknowledge and address the dominant whiteness of women writers in our classrooms, especially when working with diverse student populations? How do we acknowledge our own positions of racial or educational privilege when presenting and engaging with diverse authors and voices

Roundtable: Law-Breaking Women

This roundtable would feature women of the eighteenth century who were ‚"law-breakers" and were often castigated during their own lifetime for breaking the rules of God, law or nature, but who paved new ground for women of their own and subsequent generations. It sometimes happened that women who did a great deal of public good were exemplary in their moral conduct, and heralded for their angelic unselfishness. However, women often had to break the iron-bound rules of their time and risk being castigated for their perceived "selfishness" in order to achieve lasting good for women.

Panel: Aphra Behn's Influence

The landmark Cambridge Edition of the Works of Aphra Behn is forthcoming: 18 volumes will be published between 2020 and 2022. On the eve of this edition, it makes sense to reflect on Behn Studies’ current position in literary history and culture and evaluate what future work can and should contribute. Papers are welcome on any aspect of Aphra Behn and her work, especially new methodological and theoretical approaches to her life and writings. The panel is especially interested in discussing innovative and/or lesser-known resources to continue to unpack the work of this influential writer. Panelists might explore new biographical information, readings of lesser-studied works, pioneering historical contexts, 21st-century theoretical readings, or other un(der)explored or re-evaluated aspects of Behn’s life and work. Papers might also demonstrate how digital resources and computational tools and methods can be used to better appreciate Behn’s contributions. Please send proposals of about 500-words to the panel chair