Department of English

Graduate student Anna Stewart wins Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Tue, March 29, 2011
Graduate student Anna Stewart wins Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship

The Department of English congratulates graduate student Anna Stewart on winning a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. The $25,000 stipend will allow Stewart to spend the next year completing her dissertation, "Beyond Obsolescence: The Reconstruction of Abolitionist Texts" (abstract below).

The American Council of Learned Societies offered seventy of these competitive fellowships for the 2011–2012 academic year. The ACLS committee judged proposals based on "the quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature" and "the potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge," among other criteria.

Beyond Obsolescence: The Reconstruction of Abolitionist Texts

Antebellum abolitionist writing has long been revered by cultural historians and literary scholars for the “cultural work” that it performed: namely, to help bring about the end of slavery in the United States. But what happened to abolitionist texts, initially primed with a pointed and timely social agenda, after emancipation?  Most critical conversations around major abolitionist texts focus on their original antebellum publications.  This study challenges that reductive frame and demonstrates the significance of the republication, adaptation, and reception of those texts during their afterlives from 1863 to 1877, well after slavery had been abolished.  Drawing on extensive archival research as well as scholarship on book history and material culture, this project connects textual revisions to the shifting politics of Reconstruction—and especially the debate over the political position of the African Americans the original abolitionist texts had sought to emancipate.

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