Call for Papers: Alcott at American Literature Association [Proposals due Jan 15, 2023]

The Louisa May Alcott Society is sponsoring two panels at the 34th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association, to be held May 25-28, 2023, at The Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116. 

Session 1: Working for 150 Years: An Anniversary Panel on Alcott’s Work


2023 marks one hundred fifty years since the release of Louisa May Alcott’s Work: A Story of Experience. Published by Roberts Brothers in 1873, Alcott’s novel depicting Christie Devon’s exploration of independence, labor, love, and community over the course of her adult life has long resonated with readers as one of Alcott’s most honest and complex narratives. Despite the novel’s esteem among scholars and Alcott aficionados, it has remained in the shadows of Alcott’s better-known children’s literature like Little Women. This panel brings Work into the spotlight, considering its role in Alcott’s career, the development of critical Alcott studies, and the portrayal of nineteenth-century working women’s lived experiences. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to) the following:


  • Reading Work in conversation with Alcott’s oeuvre or other texts of its time
  • Approaches to teaching the novel
  • Critical responses to the text over time
  • The novel’s legacy in the twenty-first century
  • Discussion of race, class, gender, or sexuality
  • Messages about mental health, poverty, or social stigma
  • Biographical and historical contexts
  • Writing and publishing history
  • The future of Work


Please send one-page abstracts to Marlowe Daly-Galeano ( by January 15, 2023. Early submissions welcome.


Session 2: Alcott in the Archives: Utilizing Collections


Two archivists—Leslie Morris, Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard University; and Anke Voss, Director of Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library—will open this session by describing their institutions’ significant Alcott collections. To complete this session, we are seeking proposals for brief presentations (about 5 minutes each) from scholars who have done archival research pertinent to the life and writings of L.M. Alcott. We are also interested in short presentations that might critically reflect on Alcott studies in light of archival research, theory, or practices. The roundtable format will encourage audience participation. 


One-page proposals should be sent to Wesley Mott ( and Daniel Shealy ( by January 15, 2023. Early submissions welcome.


A flyer with this information cane be found below. Please share with interested colleagues and with relevant listservs or organizations to which you belong. If you have questions, please contact Greg anytime at .

CFP ALA 2023