Come to our reception at ALA!

This year, RSAP inaugurates what we hope will become an annual tradition at ALA: a reception featuring the winner and finalists for the ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize. Save the date: Friday, May 23, 6:45-8pm at the Hyatt-Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Call for Papers for a special issue of American Periodicals: Black Periodical Studies

Guest Editors Eric Gardner and Joycelyn Moody

The Fall 2015 issue of American Periodicals will be devoted to texts exploring the field of Black periodical studies and/or exploring issues in/of Black periodicals across the centuries, from Freedom’s Journal to Vibe and beyond.  We seek scholarship that considers the nexus of African Americanist inquiry and periodical studies—including, but not limited to, approaches that engage book history studies or center on print culture.  We aim to give a glimpse into the “state of the field” by bringing together samples of diverse work that show clear engagement with key questions in Black periodical studies while simultaneously sharing exciting new subjects and methods.  We hope for diverse approaches—from works that explore specific “cases” that illustrate what scholarship on Black periodicals might be, do, and become, to essays that explore waves, trends, or movements through broad-based approaches that survey wide groups of texts.

In addition to the content and/or “look and feel” of texts, we are interested in manuscripts that explore topics tied to editorial practice and policy, authorship, financing, production, design, illustration, circulation, readership, reception, cultural position, collection/preservation, and a rich range of other subjects tied to Black periodicals.  Strong interdisciplinary work will be welcomed.  Questions explored might include (but certainly need not be limited to):

  • What is a “Black periodical”?
  • What methods, questions, problems, and duties might “Black periodical studies” engage?
  • How might we (re)consider the archive(s) of Black periodicals?
  • What historical questions must students of Black periodicals strive to answer about texts, editors and editorial practice, periodical exchange, processes of reprinting, and other issues?
  • What areas of consonance and dissonance exist between Black periodical studies and current conceptions of Black literary periods (e.g., the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement) and/or Black literary history?
  • How have such issues as gender, class, sexuality, region, religion, ideology, and standpoint figured into Black periodicals and/or Black periodical studies?
  • How have print media and other technologies—from broadsides to social media, for example—shaped our sense of Black periodicals?
  • How do Black periodicals engage with various forms of visual culture?  What intersections between visual culture studies and periodical studies prove especially useful in considering Black periodicals?
  • What form(s) can we expect Black periodicals to take in the near or distant future?
  • How do seriality and periodicity shape representations of Blackness?

As our goal is that scholars will use the issue’s discussion of the (various) state(s) of the field of Black periodical studies to chart possible next steps, we expect that some essays will be more speculative than definitive.  We encourage participation representing a wide range of voices, disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, periods, locations, and subjects.  To this end, we seek short essays (4,000-5,000 words including notes, bibliographic and otherwise) that follow the guidelines in the current Chicago Manual of Style.  Authors’ names should not appear in manuscripts.  Figures and illustrations must be provided in black/white or gray scale as high quality .pdfs.  Submissions should be made to Eric Gardner via by 30 August 2014.

Scholars who plan to submit to this special issue may be eligible for temporary access to two exciting Readex databases of interest to scholars of African American print, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, and African American Periodicals, 1825-1895. More information on the former can be found at, and more information on the latter can be found at  Scholars interested in this possibility should email Readex’s Marketing Director David Loiterstein at dloiterstein[at] requesting temporary access.

Panels sponsored or co-sponsored by RSAP at ALA 2014 (and other panels of interest)

Thursday, May 22, 3:00 – 4:20 p.m

Session 5-E War in American Periodicals After 1914

Organized by the Research Society for American Periodicals (RSAP)

Chair: James Berkey, Duke University

1. “Teaching Little Girls about War: Depiction of Wartime Life in Magazine Paper Dolls and Toys of the First World War,” Rachel Cohen, Samford University

2. “Frost at Midnight: WWI Poetry in the Magazines,” Mark Noonan, New York City College of Technology-CUNY

3. “Politics and Dissent in Winning Hearts and Minds and the GI Underground Press,” Cristina Alsina Risquez, Universitat de Barcelona (Spain)


Friday, May 23, 11:10 am – 12:30 pm

Session 9-D ProQuest and RSAP Article Prize Winners Roundtable

Organized by the Research Society for American Periodicals (RSAP)

Chair: Bill Hardwig, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

1. “No One Who Reads the History of Hayti Can Doubt the Capacity of Colored Men: Racial Formation and Atlantic Rehabilitation in New York City’s Early Black Press, 1827–1841,” Charlton Yingling, University of South Carolina

2. “Beyond the ‘Shingle Factory’: The Armory Show in the Popular Press after 1913,” Melissa Renn, Harvard Art Museums

3. “‘Taken Possession of’: The Reprinting and Reauthorship of Hawthorne’s ‘Celestial Railroad’ in the Antebellum Religious Press,” Ryan Cordell, Northeastern University


Saturday, May 24, 11:00 am – 12:20 pm

Session 17-A Graphic Humor in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical

Organized by the American Humor Studies Association and Research Society for American Periodicals

Chair: Judith Yaross Lee, Ohio University

1. “Approaching the Study of Graphic Art in 19th Century Periodicals: Gauging Questions of Authorship, Intent, and Reception,” Bonnie M. Miller, UMass Boston

2. “Racism, Bohemianism, and the Dark Face of American Political Humor: The Case of New York’s Vanity Fair, 1859-1863,” Robert J. Scholnick. Coll. of William and Mary

3. “A Different Type of Humor: Francis Hopkinson & Typographical Play in Early American Periodicals,” Kevin A. Wisniewski, University of Maryland Baltimore County


Other panels with one or more papers that may be of interest:


Thursday, May 22, 12:00 – 1:20 pm

Session 3-F Identification as Negotiation in the Works of Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

Organized by: Katherine Adams, University of South Carolina

Chair: Paul Lauter, Trinity College

1. “Locating Identity in Alice Moore Dunbar’s New Orleans,” Sandra Zagarell, Oberlin College

2. “Masculinity, Race, and History: Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s Creole Boy Stories,” Caroline Gebhard, Tuskegee University

3. “Alice Moore Dunbar’s Suffrage Persona,” Ellen Gruber Garvey, New Jersey City University

4. “Human Things: Commodity Anxiety in Dunbar-Nelson’s New Orleans,” Katherine Adams, University of South Carolina


Thursday, May 22, 2014 1:30 – 2:50 pm

Session 4-D Digital American Women Writers

Organized by the Society for the Study of American Women Writers

Co-Chairs: Kristin Allukian, University of Florida and Kristin Jacobson, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

1. “Digital Writers/Digital Readers: Teaching and Learning With Student-Authored Digital Posters,” Stephanie A. Tingley, Youngstown State University

2. “Digital Resources and the Magazine Context of Edith Wharton’s Short Stories,” Paul J. Ohler, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

3. “Story Paper (AntHeroines: Reading Alcott’s Potboilers in the Digital Archives,” Michael D’Alessandro, Boston University


Thursday, May 22, 3:00 – 4:20 pm

Session 5-A Reevaluating Hemingway’s Nonfiction

Organized by the Ernest Hemingway Society

Chair: Ross K. Tangedal, Kent State University

1. “Hemingway and Authorial Conception: The Hunter and the Hunted in Africa,” Michael DuBose, The University of South Carolina-Beaufort

2. “Hemingway’s Journalism, Journalistic Voices, and Journalistic Philosophy During and in the Wake of Fascism in the 1930’s,” Jean Jespersen Bartholomew, The Carlbrook School

3. “Reconsidering Hemingway on Film: Race, Politics and the Specter of the Cold War,” Peter Lancelot Mallios, The University of Maryland


Thursday, May 22, 3:00 – 4:20 pm

Session 5-H Rebecca Harding Davis, Peterson’s Magazine, and Reform

Sponsored by: The Society for the Study of Rebecca Harding Davis and Her World

Chair: Robin Cadwallader, Saint Francis University

1. “‛I am Awkward in My New Vocation’: Davis’s Resistance to the ‘Disease of Money Getting,’” Arielle Zibrak, Case Western Reserve University

2. “The Sympathetic ‘I’: The Gothic and Civil Commitment in Rebecca Harding Davis’s ‘Put Out of the Way,’” Sarah Gray-Panesi, Middle Tennessee State University

3. “The Gender Politics of Marital Pursuit in Rebecca Harding Davis’s A Wife, Yet Not a Wife,” Jane E. Rose, Purdue University North Central


Friday, May 23, 8:10 – 9:30 am

Session 7-E Mark Twain’s Readers: Explorations in Reception

Organized by the Reception Study Society

Chair: Ellen Gruber Garvey, New Jersey City University

1. “Readers Write Back: Mark Twain’s Fan Mail and Eccentric Receptions,” James L. Machor, Kansas State University

2. “The Pistol and the Press: The Reception of Mark Twain, Sensational Reporter,” Jarrod Roark, University of Missouri-Kansas City

3. “Reading Twain’s Mysteries: From Pudd’nhead Wilson to a Double Barrelled Detective Story,” Philip Goldstein, University of Delaware-Wilmington


Friday, May 23, 9:40 – 11:00 am

Session 8-A Catharine Maria Sedgwick in/and Washington D.C.: A Roundtable Organized by the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society

Moderator: Jenifer Elmore, Palm Beach Atlantic University

1. “The Personal Becomes Political: Sedgwick’s Early Letters,” Patricia Larson Kalayjian, California State University, Dominguez Hills

2. “Catharine Sedgwick’s Emancipation Proclamations: In the Parlor, the Pulpit, and the Press, 1827-1836,” Lucinda Damon-Bach, Salem State University

3. “Agrarian Law and the Problem of ‘Unsubdued Land’ in Sedgwick’s Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home (1841), ” Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University

4. “‘Wider abuses make rebels’: Sedgwick’s Shifting Stance on Slavery in the 1850s,” Deborah Gussman, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey


Friday, May 23, 2:10 – 3:30 pm

Session 11-H Culture and Context in Stephen Crane’s Work

Organized by the Stephen Crane Society

Chair: Benjamin F. Fisher, University of Mississippi

1. “’A Spector of Reproach’: Revisiting Figures of Shame in The Red Badge of Courage,” Keiko Nitta, Rikkyo University/Yale University

2. “Stephen Crane’s Literary Journalism and the Limits of Liberalism in the Progressive Era,” Clemens Spahr, Mainz University

3. “Structures of Feeling within Stephen Crane’s ‘The Blue Hotel,’” Robert Welch, Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Friday, May 23, 3:40 – 5:00 pm

Session 12-C Online in the Old Classroom

Organized by the Society of Early Americanists

Chair: Edward Whitley, Lehigh University

1. “Teaching T(homas) Paine through Rap Genius: Early American Literature and Collaborative Literacy,” Kacey Tillman, University of Tampa & Jeremy Dean, PhD,

2. “ ‘The simple, compact, well join’d scheme’: Creating Multimodal Experiences for Students of Early American Literature Using Webbased Resources,” Jeff Everhart, Longwood University

3. “The New Leviathan: How I Implemented the AAS’s Periodicals Database in My Traditional American Literature Survey Class, and Lived to Tell the Tale,” Joshua Matthews, Dordt College


Saturday, May 24, 11:00 am – 12:20 pm

Session 17-E Publishing Matters in the American Renaissance.

1. “Conversation and Editorial Authority in Transcendentalist Periodicals,” Todd H. Richardson University of Texas of the Permian Basin

2. “Emerson, Greeley, and the Digital Archive,” Lloyd Willis, Lander University

3. “‘A paint mixed by another person’: Hawthorne, Poe, Dickinson, Spofford, and the Plagiarism Issue in Nineteenth-Century American Literature,” David Cody, Hartwick College

4. “Antebellum School Readers, Slavery, and Market Censorship,” Joe Lockard, Arizona State University


Saturday, May 24, 12:30 – 1:50 pm

Session 18-B Melville and the Politics of Print

Organized by the Melville Society

Chair: Anne Baker, North Carolina State University

1. “Teasing the Whale: ‘The Town Ho’s Story’ as Told in Harper’s,” Jarad Krywicki, University of Colorado

2. “‘Quite an Original’: The Reproducibility of Print and the Aesthetics of The Confidence Man,” Katie McGettigan, University of Keele

3. “Whale 2.0: Situating Melville in the Online Reading Renaissance,” David O. Dowling, University of Iowa


Saturday, May 24, 2:00 – 3:20 pm

Session 19-J African American Short Fiction in the 1890s

Organized by the Paul Laurence Dunbar Society

Chair: William Hardwig, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

1. “Charles Chesnutt and the Place of Race in the Regionalist Atlantic Story,” Jill Spivey Caddell, Cornell University

2. “Charles Chesnutt’s Animal Metaphors,” Thomas Morgan, University of Dayton

3. “Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Communities of Debt,” Christine A. Wooley, St. Mary’s College of Maryland


Saturday, May 24, 5:00 – 6:20 pm

Session 21-B American Editorial Platforms: From Print to Performance

Organizers: Dr. Cecily Swanson, New York University and Dr. Jane Carr, New York University

Chair: Dr. Allison Wright, Virginia Quarterly Review and University of Virginia

1. “Social Psychology in American Modernist Magazines,” Cecily Swanson, New York University

2. “Mapping the Editorial Networks of Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s The Provincial Freeman,” Jim Casey, University of Delaware

3. “Editorial Failures and Radical Clerks in American Literary History,” Dr. Jane Carr, New York University

CFP: American Literature Association, May 22-25, 2014

RSAP seeks proposals for the American Literature Association’s 25th Annual Conference, 22-25 May 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. Proposals are requested for the following:

1. War and/in American Periodicals after 1914

As spaces of dialogue and dissent, American periodicals have played a formative role in the negotiation of war’s meaning in American culture. This panel seeks 15-20–minute papers that might address any aspect of this topic, including but not limited to: seriality and war; soldier newspapers; trench journalism; periodicals and the home front; fictional representations of war in periodicals; periodicals as spaces for dialogue and dissent about war; anti-war publications; responses to war in black periodicals; war in visual culture; the imagined communities of wartime America; literary style and war correspondence; etc. Please email 300-word abstract and C.V. to Amanda Gailey at gailey [at] by December 15, 2013; please put “RSAP panel submission” in the subject line.

2. “Graphic Humor in American Periodicals”

Abstracts (300 words max.) are encouraged on subjects addressing “graphic humor” in American periodicals.  Subjects could range from cartoon strips to political cartoons to illustrations, and may include alternative interpretations of the term “graphic.”  Papers should focus on the periodical context of the subject, as well as broader concerns of interpreting humor. This panel is co-sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association and the Research Society for American Periodicals. Please e-mail abstracts no later than January 10, 2013 to Tracy Wuster (wustert [at] with the subject line: “AHSA/RSAP session, 2013 ALA.”


Notifications will go out no later than January 20, 2013.

Announcing the Fifth Annual Proquest/RSAP Essay Prize

Deadline: December 13, 2013

Proquest and the Research Society for American Periodicals (RSAP) proudly announce the 5th annual $1000 article prize.

The prize will be awarded for the best article on American periodicals by a pre-tenure or independent scholar published in a peer-reviewed academic journal with a publication date during 2013. Two runners up will receive $500 each. Articles will be judged by a committee of three scholars appointed by the RSAP Advisory Board.

The fifth annual ProQuest-RSAP Article Prize will be awarded at the American Literature Association (ALA) conference in Washington, DC, May 22-25, 2014. The winner and two runners up will be notified by the end of January 2014. They will be featured as panelists on an RSAP-sponsored distinguished papers panel at ALA, and will receive their awards at a reception hosted by the organization.

Applicants are invited to submit electronic copies of their articles with a contest registration form for download here. Please send the article and registration form to the committee’s chair, Bill Hardwig at whardwig [at] Documents should be sent in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

All copies must be formatted for blind review and thus without identifying references or title.

Deadline: December 13, 2013

Questions & Submissions? Contact Prize Committee Chair, Bill Hardwig, at whardwig [at]

Additionally, please feel free to download and share the prize poster.

ALA 2013

RSAP gave out prizes and also hosted two great panels, a roundtable on research opportunities and challenges presented by this year’s ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize winners, and another roundtable on “New Directions in African American Periodicals Research.” Check this space for CFPs for next year’s panels!

Plaque awarded to the winner of the biennial EBSCOhost Prize for Best Monograph on American Periodicals, Jared Gardner, for his book The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture (University of Illinois Press, 2012)

Congratulations to the Winner of the 2012 EBSCOhost-RSAP Book Prize

Professor Jared Gardner’s The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture (University of Illinois Press) will be celebrated as the winner of the EBSCOhost-RSAP Book Prize at the 24th annual conference of the American Literature Association in Boston, May 23-26, 2013.

Recognizing the best title published by an academic press in the field of American periodical studies, the prize is sponsored jointly by EBSCOhost and the Research Society for American Periodicals.  It is presented every other year at the RSAP Business Meeting.  The present competition considered titles from across the field published between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012.

Jean Lee Cole (Loyola University Maryland), Craig Monk (University of Lethbridge), Cynthia Patterson (University of South Florida), and Karen Roggenkamp (Texas A&M University-Commerce) judged The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture “extremely important for advancing both periodical study and the study of early American literature, which has been undergoing rapid (and welcome) transformation in recent years.”

The presentation in Boston will also acknowledge Ellen Gruber Garvey’s Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford University Press), a title the committee found “revelatory and transformative,” with its honorable mention for 2011-12.

ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize for 2012 Winners Announced

The Research Society for American periodicals is please to announce the winners of the 2012 ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize. The ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize recognizes the best articles on American periodicals published in peer-reviewed journals by a pre-tenure or independent scholar. Judges Bill Hardwig (chair) , Sara Lindey, and Ben Fagan have worked tirelessly to identify essays that represent some of the most innovative and exciting periodical research work of the past year.

The first prize winner of the ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize for an essay published in 2012 is James Berkey, Duke University, for his essay, “Splendid Little Papers from the ‘Splendid Little War’: Mapping Empire in the Soldier Newspapers of the Spanish American War.”

The two Honorable Mention Award winners for 2012 are Rochelle Zuck, University of Minnesota Duluth, for “‘Yours in the Cause’: Readers, Correspondents, and the Editorial Politics of Carlos Montezuma’s Wassaja” and Jessica Isaac, University of Pittsburgh, for “Youthful Enterprises: Amateur Newspapers and the Pre-History of Adolescence, 1867-1883.”

All three authors will receive checks to help cover some of their work and travel expenses when they discuss their work at their roundtable on their scholarship and their methodology at the Boston ALA in May 2013. The winner’s award is provided by ProQuest, and supplementary funds for the Honorable Mentions are provided by RSAP.

Our judges had these choice word for the 2012 winners…

James Berkey (Lecturing Fellow, Thompson Writing Program, Duke University)

“Splendid Little Papers from the ‘Splendid Little War’”: Mapping Empire in the Soldier Newspapers from the Spanish-American War,” Journal of Modern Periodical Studies (3.2) 2012: 158-174.

The award committee was especially impressed with the attention given to the often-overlooked military publications. We thought the article did an especially nice job of documenting the multiple audiences and the international circulation (both literarily and figuratively) of the ideas about the Spanish-American war within the periodicals. Your essay’s sense of how the logic of imperialism was encoded in these periodicals gives us new ways to think about the war, the nature of turn-of-the-century imperialism, military journalism, and periodical culture more generally.

~Honorable Mention~

Jessica Isaac (PhD Candidate, University of Pittsburgh)

“Youthful Enterprises: Amateur Newspapers and the Pre-History of Adolescence, 1867-
1883,” American Periodicals (22.2) 2012: 158-177.

The committee admired your article’s consideration of the myriad influences on the formation of adolescent identity of this era, from the proliferation of the toy press to the changing social role of teenagers, from the significant function that the amateur press played in the exploration of this identity to the growth of a communal bond of adolescents, even as the definition of this bond shifted and evolved. Your essay also makes a compelling case that we need to be paying attention to these often-overlooked amateur publications, especially when we consider adolescence.

~Honorable Mention~

Rochelle Raineri Zuck (Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth)

“’Yours in the Cause’: Readers, Correspondents and the Editorial Politics of Carlos Montezuma’s Wassaja,” American Periodicals (22.1) 2012: 72-93.

The committee made special note of your article’s call for increased attention to be given to the understudied archives of American Indian journalism. While such recovery work is admirable on its own, your article’s exploration of how this journalism allowed Montezuma to offer alternate perspectives on Indian affairs was extremely illuminating, demonstrating what the best examples of periodical studies can accomplish. Finally, your attention to Montezuma’s editorial decisions and engagement with the readership wonderfully nicely revealed the tensions between “assimilation,” intertribal communication, and tribal pride/identity.

Call for Participants for a Roundtable on “African American Periodicals: New Directions” for the 2013 American Literature Association Annual Conference

Recent reconsiderations of African American literature in dialogue with print culture studies have been provocative, but scholarly attention has often remained focused on bound books. Black periodicals were the site of much of the richest African American textual work throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth and so demand fuller attention. To explore possible methods, subjects, and questions surrounding a “new” sense of Black periodicals, the Research Society for American Periodicals will host a roundtable on “African American Periodicals: New Directions” at the American Literature Association meeting to be held in Boston, 23-26 May 2013.

Proposals from potential participants should outline brief (seven- or eight-minute) presentations that share information on a specific research project that is innovative in content, method, and/or archive. Ideally, the research presented should function as a case study that addresses some of the following questions. How might African American literary studies change, challenge, benefit, and benefit from dialogues with periodical studies—and vice versa? What kinds of scholarship on African American periodicals should be produced in the next five years? What archival work might be most beneficial? How might we assess extant resources in terms of value and accessibility? What inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches might prove especially effective?

One-page proposals (preferably in .docx, .doc, or .pdf) along with short bios or one-page CVs should be submitted to Eric Gardner at by 10 January 2013.

Please include “ALA: RSAP African American Periodicals” in the subject line. Presenters will need to be members of RSAP by 1 March 2013.

Announcing the EBSCO/RSAP $1,500 Book Prize

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2012.

For the author of the best monograph on American periodicals published by an academic press between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012

The prize will be awarded at the American Literature Association (ALA) conference in Boston, MA, May 23-26, 2013.
Books will be judged by a peer review of three scholars chosen by the RSAP Advisory Board.

Applicants should download and submit a completed registration form (see details, below) and FOUR hard copies of their work to

Craig Monk

Department of English

University of Lethbridge

4401 University Drive West

Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, T1K 3M4

The winner and up to two honorable mentions will be notified by March 1, 2013 and will be recognized at an RSAP-sponsored panel/event at ALA. Applicants to the EBSCOhost-RSAP Book Prize must be current members of RSAP when they submit their books.

Please feel free to download and share the prize poster.