2016 RSAP Book Prizes Awarded

RSAP is pleased to announce this year’s Book Prizes. The prize is awarded to the best monographs on American periodicals published by an academic press between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016.


Eric Gardner, Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture (NY: Oxford UP, 2015)


Elizabeth Groeneveld, Making Feminist Media: Third-Wave Magazines on the Cusp of the Digital Age (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2016)

Benjamin Fagan, The Black Newsaper and the Chosen Nation (Athens: Univ. Georgia Press, 2016)

Grant Wythoff, The Perversity of Things: Hugo Gernsback on Media, Tinkering, and Scientification (NY: Columbia UP, 2016)

Announcing the 2016 RSAP Book Prize

The Research Society for American Periodicals (RSAP) proudly announces its $1000 Book Prize

The prize will be awarded for the best monograph on American periodicals published by an academic press between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Books will be judged by a peer review of three scholars chosen by the RSAP Advisory Board.

The Book Prize will be awarded at the American Literature Association (ALA) conference in Boston, MA, May 25-28, 2017. The winner and up to two honorable mentions will be notified by March 1, 2017 and will be recognized at an RSAP-sponsored reception at ALA.

Applicants, who must be current members of RSAP when they submit their books, should download and submit a completed registration form and THREE hard copies of their work by December 15, 2016 to:

Mark Noonan

503 Namm Hall

Department of English

New York City College of Technology, CUNY

300 Jay Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Please direct any questions to Book Prize Committee Chair, Mark Noonan, at mnoonan@citytech.cuny.edu.

Click here for Registration Form

ALA 2016 CFPs

The RSAP offers the following CFPs for the ALA, May 2016:

CFP for “Digital Lacunae: What Are We Missing?” 

We invite proposals on the topic “Digital Lacunae” for the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, California, May 26-29, 2016 (http://alaconf.org/). This roundtable will be sponsored by the Research Society for American Periodicals.

As digital repositories have become standard sites for researching and teaching American periodicals, the seduction of countless available texts and improved digital tools seem to be luring us into mistaking these resources as comprehensive. But what are we missing? We would like to hear proposals for papers that discuss texts that are not included in digital collections (or are only inadequately represented) or on how digital tools and methods distort the literary historical landscape.

For example, presenters might consider:

What gets “forgotten” when periodicals are not included for digitization?

What difference does it make that periodicals in regions like the Northeast are robustly favored in the necessary selection process, while those in the South are often suppressed and those in the Midwest are quietly discarded?

Which journals enjoy scholarly appeal thanks to better search engines and best digital practices?

How do subscription fees affect what we study?

What becomes of advertising in digital repositories and digital periodical scholarship?

Please email a 250-word abstract and contact information to Amanda Gailey (gailey@unl.edu) and Benjamin Fagan (bfagan434@gmail.com) by January 10, 2016.

CFP for “Woman Thinking” at ALA 2016

We welcome proposals on the topic “Woman Thinking: Public Intellectualism in U.S. Periodical Culture” for the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, May 26-29, 2016 (http://alaconf.org/). This panel will be co-sponsored by the Research Society for American Periodicals and author societies including the Lydia Maria Child Society, the Anna Julia Cooper Society, the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society, the Edwidge Danticat Society, the Margaret Fuller Society, the Society for Rebecca Harding Davis and Her World, the Emily Dickinson International Society, and the Elizabeth Oakes Smith Society.

 Historically, women have been excluded from the markers of intellectualism available to men, ranging from the academy to the church to the state. American periodical culture provided an alternative forum for women thinkers to participate in intellectual exchange and, in so doing, influence public opinion, critique societal practices, and advance human knowledge and freedom. While illuminating studies have linked women’s periodical work to their activism, less attention has been paid to the ways that women have engaged with periodical culture to establish themselves as intellectual authorities in the public mind. For this panel, we seek papers that explore the relationship between women’s periodical work and public intellectualism in America. We wish to emphasize that we look for papers on all women working and writing in periodicals, including those without author societies, such as Frances E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells, Zitkala-Ša, Sarah Winnemucca, Sarah Josepha Hale, Fanny Fern, Grace Greenwood, etc.

In “The American Scholar,” Ralph Waldo Emerson described the ideal citizen as “Man Thinking.” How did women use periodicals to assert themselves as citizen-thinkers in their own right? How did this work against or in conjunction with women’s societal roles (domestic or otherwise) and how might this relate to the expanding boundaries of the positions of women and intellectuals in American society? How wide of a public does a woman need to address to be considered a public intellectual—local, regional, national, global? What types of literacy/writing may define women as intellectuals? In the case of editing, women often worked with an invisible hand, performing intellectual labor as feminized “carework.” How might such work be made visible to literary historians, and how might we think about editing as a way for women to enter public, intellectual discourse? As recent discussions in news and social media outlets have made clear, women of color have faced and continue to face distinctive exclusions from public intellectualism (consider the debate surrounding Melissa Harris-Perry as a public intellectual, for example). How have women of color established their own traditions of public intellectualism through periodical work? What do we have to gain by examining women’s periodical work through the lens of public intellectualism and what might we lose?

Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief biographical statement to Sarah Olivier at Sarah.Olivier@du.edu and Jean Lee Cole at jlcole@loyola.edu by January 10, 2016.


Ryan Cordell wins ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize

The ProQuest/RSAP Article Prize is awarded for the best article on American periodicals published in a peer-reviewed journal during 2013 by a pre-tenure or independent scholar. The prize was awarded on Friday, May 23, 2014, at the American Literature Association conference.

Winner: Ryan Cordell (Assistant Professor, English, Northeastern University), for “‘Taken Possession of’: The Reprinting and Reauthorship of Hawthorne’s ‘Celestial Railroad’ in the Antebellum Religious Press,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 7.1 (2013).

The committee praised the article’s stunningly lucid and accessible prose. The essay was valued not only for its use of periodicals as sources, but its contribution of a new model of how to read periodicals. Mining the archive of reprinted versions of Hawthorne’s “The Celestial Railroad” gives readers new insights into the popularity of this text and its circulation among and reception by nineteenth-century readers. The use of digital collation tools to uncover Hawthorne’s “social text” provides a fresh perspective, an innovative methodology, and, ultimately, a fascinating untold story.

Honorable Mention: Melissa Renn (Senior Curatorial Research Associate, Harvard Art Museums), for “Beyond the ‘Shingle Factory’: The Armory Show in the Popular Press after 1913,” Journal of Curatorial Studies 2.3 (2013): 384-404.

This essay is noteworthy for its fresh take on a well-known story.  In historicizing the reception of the 1913 Armory Show in the popular press over several decades, this article is able to question the predominant notions about Marcel Duchamp being the central artist of the show.  It also deftly charts how the narratives within popular periodicals about the initial reaction to, and “meaning” of, the artwork shifted over time.  The article too makes an important contribution to periodical studies by reminding us to consider not just how texts and events are discussed in their immediate aftermath, but to consider how the reception of major events such as the Armory Show unfolds over the course of decades.

Honorable Mention: Charlton Yingling (PhD Candidate, History, University of South Carolina), for “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,” Early American Studies (11.2) 2013: 314-348.

The committee commented that, in tracing out the strategic and symbolic use of Haiti within the African American press, this essay offers a model of the way that periodical research can help expand our understanding of the complex dynamics of race and representation as they are shaped over time.  The article identifies an important (and understudied) shift from racial formations that drew on rhetorics of Pan-African or Negro identity to one framed as “colored,” a shift the author links to New York City’s early black press.  In so doing, it makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the role played by the African American press in nineteenth-century American culture.

The finalists also participated in a roundtable discussion at ALA earlier in the day.

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] unl.edu 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] gmail.com) with the subject line: “AHSA/RSAP session, 2013 ALA.”


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

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)

Three Panels at the ALA

The Research Society for American Periodicals is pleased to announce three panels at the upcoming 23rd annual Conference of the American Literature Association, May 24-27, 2012, in San Francisco. For more information about the conference, please refer to the ALA’s website. Exact times and days for our panels are yet to be determined. Check back with us for further panel scheduling updates.

PANEL 1. Periodicals and Working Class Cultures: 19th Century

Chair: Bob Scholnick, College of William and Mary

1. “Hidden Agendas: Editorial Disconnect in The Rural Magazine and Literary Evening Fire-Side (1820)” Callie Kostelich, Texas Christian University

2. “A Transatlantic Working-Class Consciousness? Poetry and Self-Representation in Working-Class Newspapers, 1830-1860,” Marianne Mallia Holohan, Duquesne University

3. “The Reaction of Professional Penmen to the late 19th Century Commercial and Office Revolution,” Michael Knies, University of Scranton

4. “Missed Opportunity: T.S. Arthur and Early Antebellum Baltimore
Working Class Periodicals,” Peter Molin, United States Military Academy


PANEL 2. Periodicals and Working Class Cultures: 20th Century

Chair: Cynthia Patterson, University of South Florida Polytechnic

1. “Julia Ruuttila, Radical Journalism, and the Transformation of Working-Class Politics, 1945-54,” Victoria Grieve, Utah State University

2. “Unity and the Making of Canadian Class-Consciousness in the 1930s,” Andrea Hasenbank, University of Alberta

3. “Shopping for Manhood: Black Mask Advertising and Working-Class Masculinity,” Clare Rolens, UC San Diego


PANEL 3. ProQuest & RSAP Article Prize Winners Roundtable – Strategies for Success

Chair: William J. Hardwig, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

1. “‘Americans As They Really Are’: The Colored American and the Illustration of National Identity,” Benjamin Fagan, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

2. “Boys Write Back: Self-Education and Periodical Authorship in Late-Nineteenth-Century American Story Papers,” Sara Lindey, St. Vincent College

3. “‘Their faces were like so many of the same sort at home’: American Responses to the Indian Rebellion of 1857,”
Nikhil Bilwakesh, University of Alabama


The Research Society for American Periodicals solicits proposals for papers on American periodicals and working class cultures to be delivered at the American Literature Association’s 23rd Annual Conference, 24-27 May 2012 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco in Embarcadero Center.

Consider periodicals such as The Messenger (founded as the official organ for the Pullman Porter’s Union) to the Worker’s Daily – What role have periodicals played in forming and re-forming class consciousness among the working classes in the U.S.? What unique methodological challenges do working-class periodicals pose? How do working-class periodicals expand our understanding of readership and activism, labor and literary culture? How does literature or literary criticism in The Partisan Review or The New York Review of Books shape our understanding of the high-brow or low-brow audiences?  What brow is the New Yorker, anyway?  What are the challenges & possibilities for teaching material that concerns working class issues from highbrow sources?  Conversely, what in various working class periodicals was designed explicitly or implicitly to teach?  We seek submissions concerning any aspect of American working-class magazines, newspapers, or periodicals in any form.

Please send a one-page abstract submissions to Susanna Ashton at sashton [at] clemson.edu by *January 16th 2012. *

Please put “RSAP panel submission” in the subject line, thanks.