Conferences

Scholarly Panels Sponsored by the Louisa May Alcott Society


May 2020: American Literature Association - Cancelled due to COVID-19
San Diego, CA

Teaching Alcott: Alcott in Proximity to Other American Realists, Regionalists, Romantics
Roundtable organized by the Louisa May Alcott Society
Moderator: Gregory Eiselein, Kansas State University

  • John J. Kucich (Bridgewater State University): "Women in the Nineteenth Century: Revising Moods and Revisiting Margaret Fuller"
  • Elif Armbruster (Suffolk University): "Teaching Alcott and Stowe: The Literary Activism of Regional Writing"
  • Jennifer L. Putzi (College of William & Mary): "Intersectional Identities in Alcott and Her Contemporaries"
  • Christine Doyle (Central Connecticut State University): "Alcott, James, and Psychological Realism"
  • Kristen Proehl (SUNY-The College at Brockport): "Sentimental Realism: Little Women, The Red Badge of Courage, and Postbellum Contexts"
Alcott and Adaptation
Organized by the Louisa May Alcott Society
Chair: Mark Gallagher, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Amanda Adams (Muskingum University): “‘Honest Sentiment’: Little Women on Screen and the Problem of the Sentimental”
  • Anne Phillips (Kansas State University): “‘So easily and quickly the bratty sister’: Adapting Amy March”
  • Jaimie McGovern (Boston College): “‘I Care More to Be Loved’: Making Queer Spaces in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women”


May 2019: American Literature Association
Boston, MA

Adventures in Alcott Scholarship at the Concord Free Public Library
Organized by the Louisa May Alcott Society
Chair: Joel Myerson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina

  • Daniel Shealy (UNC-Charlotte): “Louisa May Alcott’s Forgotten Flower Fable”
  • Krissie West (Independent Scholar): “Archives and Absence: Reading the Alcotts in the Concord Free Public Library”
  • Leslie Perrin Wilson (Curator: William Munroe Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library): “Alcott Collection-Building and Scholarship at the CFPL: Whereto from Here?”
Notorious Women, Sensational Texts: The Lives, Writings, and Reforms of Louisa May Alcott and Lydia Maria Child
Organized by the Lydia Maria Child and Louisa May Alcott Societies
Co-Chairs: Sandra Burr, Northern Michigan University; and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Penn State Altoona

  • Elizabeth Dean (Rutgers University): “Queer(ed) Kinship and the Sketch: A Genealogy of Political Care in Child and Alcott”
  • Jane Sciacca (Wayland Historical Society and Minutemen National Historic Park): The Wayside, “Writers, Reformers, and Neighbors: The Ties that Bind Lydia Maria Child and Louisa May Alcott” 
  • Monika Elbert (Montclair State University): “The Spectacle of the City and the Drama of Charity in Child’s and Alcott’s Writings”


November 2018: Society for the Study of American Women Authors
Denver, CO

"Reforms of All Kinds": Louisa May Alcott and the Public Humanities Roundtable
Co-Chairs: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis and Daniel Shealy

  • Marlowe Daly-Galeano, “Artistic Attempts" and “Literary Lessons”: A Class Project in Community Engagement and Service Learning
  • Randi Lynn Tanglen, “Hope and Keep Busy”: The Role of the Public Intellectual in Daunting Political Times
  • Anne K. Phillips, “Conversations: University and Community Celebrations of #LittleWomen150”
  • Melissa McFarland Pennell, “From Discovery/Recovery to Public Humanities: Bringing the Work of American Women Writers into Community Consciousness”
  • Mark Gallagher, “An Exhibit Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women”
  • Ariel Silver, "From Old-Fashioned Girl to Pioneer Women"


May 2018: American Literature Association
San Francisco, CA

Session 1: Roundtable Discussion on “The Newness of Little Women”
Moderators: Gregory Eiselein and Anne K. Phillips, Kansas State University

  • Sarah Wadsworth (Marquette University): “‘New Friendship Flourished Like Grass in Spring’: The Newness of Friendship in Little Women” 
  • Daniel Shealy: "Wedding Marches": Alcott, Marriage and the Newness of Little Women
  • Krissie West (University of Reading, UK): "Little Women Revisited: Alcott and New Media”
  • Marlowe Daly-Galeano (Lewis-Clark State College): “The Newness of Little Women and the Ephemeral Horror Mash-Up”
  • Elise Hooper (Independent Scholar): “Girl Power: A Look at Recent Little Women Adaptations” 
Session 2: Alcott in the Classroom
Chair: Christine Doyle, Central Connecticut State University

  • Gregory Eiselein (Kansas State University): “Louisa May Alcott, Major Author”
  • Anne K. Phillips (Kansas State University): “‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’: Alcott’s Eight Cousins in the Collegiate Classroom”



May 2017: American Literature Association

Boston, MA

Session 1: "Louisa May Alcott in Concord"

  • Mark Gallagher (University of California, Los Angeles):“Louisa May Alcott and Transcendentalism’s Affective Legacy” 
  • Anne K. Phillips (Kansas State University): “‘To the Schoolmates of Ellsworth Devens . . . This Village Story is Affectionately Inscribed’” 
  • Tracey A. Cummings (Lock Haven University): “Louisa May Alcott’s Re-‘Work’ing of Thoreau’s Walden” 
Session 2: Rebecca Harding Davis and Louisa May Alcott
  • Jane E. Rose (Purdue University Northwest-Westville Campus): “Reclaiming the Spiritual Self through Maternal Benevolent Feminism in Rebecca Harding Davis’s Margret Howth and Louisa May Alcott’s Work” 
  • Katie Waddell (University of Kentucky): “Waiting: Temporality and the Race Question in Louisa May Alcott and Rebecca Harding Davis” 
  • Sarah Gray (Langston University): “Market Negotiations: Rebecca Harding Davis’s and Louisa May Alcott’s Representations of Women, Work, and Marriage” 
  • Arielle Zibrak (University of Wyoming Casper): “‘Life and Labor’ in the 1870s: Davis and Alcott on Work” 


May 2016: American Literature Association
San Francisco, CA

Session 1: “Representations of Teaching and Learning in Alcott"

  • Anne Boyd Rioux (University of New Orleans): “Little Women In and Out of School” 
  • Daniel Shealy (University of North Carolina-Charlotte): ‘“Allurements of the Flesh’: Louisa Alcott on Popular Culture and the Education of Youth” 
  • Azelina Flint (University of East Anglia): “Resisting a Transcendental Education: Louisa May Alcott’s Feminist Self-Culture” 
  • Deanna Stover (Texas A&M University):“American Woman: Feminine Speech and the Reformation of National Identity in Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl” 
Session 2: "Alcott for Grown-Ups"
  • Chris Doyle (Central Connecticut State University), “Sensational Realism: Alcott’s A Long Fatal Love Chase,"
  • Alicia Beeson (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), “Bridging the Adult/Child Divide: ‘Transcendental Wild Oats’”
  • Sarah Wadsworth (Marquette University) "Diana and Persis and Roderick and Roland: Alcott, James, and the Roman Künstlerroman”


May 2015: American Literature Association
Boston, MA

Session 1: “Conversations: Fuller, Alcott, and Others”
(co-sponsored with the Margaret Fuller Society)
  • Katie Kornacki (University of Connecticut), “‘A Loving League of Sisters’: The Legacy of Margaret Fuller’s Boston Conversations in Louisa May Alcott's Work: A Story of Experience”
  • Marielena James (University of Pretoria, South Africa), “The Ideals of Companionate Marriage: A Conversation Between Louisa May Alcott and Margaret Fuller”
  • Helen Deese (Massachusetts Historical Society), “Caroline Healy Dall and the Mantle of Margaret Fuller”
Session 2: Transatlantic Alcott
  • Beverly Lyon Clark (Wheaton College), “Picturing Europe in Little Women”
  • Ellen Campbell (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), “Revising the Marriage Plot in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda”
  • Charlene Avallone (Kailua Hawai’i), “Alcott Rewrites George Sand: Moods and Jacques”


May 2014: American Literature Association
Washington, DC

Session 1: "'I Want Something To Do': Alcott, Whitman, and Nursing in the Nation’s Capital"
Chairs: Ed Folsom, University of Iowa, and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Penn State Altoona
  • Emily Waples (University of Michigan), “Nursing’s Domestic Grotesque: Alcott, Whitman, and the Civil War Wounded”
  • Sören Fröhlich (University of California San Diego), “The Pail Tells the Tale: Blood, Nursing, and the Remade Nation” J.D. Isip, Texas (A & M University-Commerce), “‘This Heart’s Geography’s Map’: Alcott and Whitman Sketching an Affective Landscape”
Session 2: "Louisa May Alcott’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century: Moods at 150"
Chair: Anne Phillips, Kansas State University
  • Daniel Shealy (University of North Carolina-Charlotte), "'Playing with edge tools': Teaching Louisa May Alcott’s Moods"
  • Christine Doyle (Central Connecticut State University), “Moods: ‘The Oversoul’ and Oysters” Mary Lamb Shelden (Virginia Commonwealth University), "'Shakespeare’s Tragedies Became Her Study': Women’s Genius and the Marriage Question"


May 2013: American Literature Association
Boston, MA

Session 1: "Celebrating the Sesquicentennial of Hospital Sketches: A Teaching Round Table"
Moderator: Daniel Shealy (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
  • Mary Lamb Shelden (University College, Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • Shari Goldberg (University of Texas at Dallas)
  • James Hewitson (University of Tennessee)
  • Marlowe Daly-Galeano (Lewis-Clark State College)
  • Paul J. Medeiros (The Thoreau Society)
Session 2: "Re-visioning Alcott: Her Impact on the Work of Later Writers and Artists"
Chair: Beverly Lyon Clark (Wheaton College [Mass.])
  • Gregory Eiselein (Kansas State University): “Louisa May Alcott, Patti Smith, and Punk Aesthetics”
  • Anne K. Phillips (Kansas State University): “‘Certainly Reminiscent of Alcott’s Little Women’: The Marches, the Penderwicks, and 'the Family Story as Genre”
  • Lauren Rizzuto (University of Florida): “‘Jo March Is Pregnant and Laurie’s the Father’: Fanfiction and Little Women”


November 2012: Society for the Study of American Women Writers
Denver, CO

“Louisa May Alcott’s Engaged Citizenship”
Chair: Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonwealth University)
  • Emily Dolan (University of CT): “Louisa May Alcott’s Rehabilitation of the Fallen Woman in Behind a Mask”
  • Emily Waples (University of Michigan): “The Child Citizen: Utopian Education and Louisa May Alcott’s Moods”
  • Amy M. Thomas (Montana State University): “Alcott and the Democracy of Literature: Parallel Writings in The Woman’s Journal and The Youth’s Companion”


May 2012: American Literature Association
San Francisco, CA

Session 1: “Teaching Alcott in Survey and Seminar”
Chair: Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonweath University)
  • Gary Williams (University of Idaho): “Alcott, Julia Ward Howe, and the Ways Logs Turn to Ashes”
  • Mischa Renfroe (Middle Tennessee State University): “Teaching Alcott in ‘Law and Literature’”
  • Gregory Eiselein (Kansas State University): “Gender, Comedy, and Teaching Eight Cousins in the Alcott/Twain Seminar”

Session 2: “Louisa May Alcott and Literary Theory”
Chair: Gregory Eiselein (Kansas State University)
  • Sean McAlister (University of British Columbia): “Moods and Masquerades: Alcott’s Emersonian Experiments”
  • Bruce Ronda (Colorado State University): “‘Little’: Souvenirs and Interiors in Eight Cousins”
  • Ilana Vine (New York University): “‘She Will Make a Charming Little Mother’: Oedipal Ties and Family Fictions in An Old-Fashioned Girl


May 2011: American Literature Association
Boston, MA


Session 1: “Alcott and Other Authors”
Chair: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Penn State Altoona)

  • Yvonne Elizabeth Pelletier (University of Tennessee): “Alcott and the Byronic Figure”
  • Jennifer Gurley (LeMoyne College): “Resisting Emerson and Extending Ellen Sturgis Hooper”
  • Robert Arbour (Indiana University): “Nursing a Nation: The Wartime Sentimentality of Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman”
Session 2: “Alcott as Pop Culture Icon”
Chair: Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonweath University)

  • Daniel Shealy (UNC Charlotte): “‘The Autograph Fiend is Abroad’: Louisa May Alcott and Fame”
  • Beverly Lyon Clark (Wheaton College): “Little Women Spinoffs a Century Ago; or, Beth Becomes an Entrepreneur”
  • Marlowe Daly-Galeano (University AZ): “Writing in the Movies: Jo March as an Author in Little Women Films”


May 2010, American Literature Association
San Francisco, CA

“Women’s Communities of Work in Alcott’s Circle”
Chair: Laura Dassow Walls (USC)

  • Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonwealth University): “‘Our Best Thanks to the Sewing Circle’: Concord Endeavors on Behalf of the Holley School for Freedmen”
  • Miki Pfeffer (University New Orleans): “Tilting towards Community: Writing Women at the World’s Fair in New Orleans, 1884-1885”
  • John Matteson (John Jay College, CUNY): “‘In the Face of Cruelest Facts’: Margaret Fuller, Working Girls, and the Trouble with Chastity”


May 2009: American Literature Association
Boston, MA


Session 1: “Recent Alcott Scholarship”
Chair: Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonweath University)

  • Leslie Perrin Wilson (Concord Free Public Lib.): “Beyond Amy March: May Alcott as Artist”
  • Roberta Trites (Illinois State University): “Alcott and the Genesis of the Adolescent Reform Novel”
  • Daniel Shealy (University of NC Charlotte): “‘All America Seems To Be Abroad’: The Alcott Sisters’ European Tour”
Session 2: “Roundtable: Making the Documentary Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women”
Chair: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Penn State Altoona)

  • Nancy Porter (Producer/Director)
  • Harriet Reisen (Producer/Director/Screenwriter)
  • Joel Myerson (University SC)
  • John Matteson (John Jay College, CUNY)


May 2008: American Literature Association
San Francisco, CA

Session 1: “The Concord Reformers”
Chair: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Penn State Altoona)

  • Katherine Adams (University Tulsa): “Self Possession Rightly Understood: Property and Individuality in Two Alcott Utopias”
  • Jessica A. Isaac (University KS): “‘Little Almost Publics’: Louisa May Alcott’s Work and the Function(ing) of the American Family”
  • John Matteson (John Jay College, CUNY): “‘Hitherto Unexplored Crypts of Psychology’: The Alcotts and the Spiritual Healing Movement”
Session 2: “Roundtable: Teaching Little Women”
Moderator: Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonweath University)

  • Anne Phillips (Kansas State University): “‘Borne out shrieking by the hero’ or ‘the villain’? Using Textual Variants from Little Women in the Classroom”
  • Anne Bruder (University NC Chapel Hill): “Texts and Contexts: Louisa May Alcott in the American Studies Classroom”
  • Gregory Eiselein (Kansas State University): “Contextualizing Little Women”


May 2007: American Literature Association
Boston, MA


Session 1: “The Dramatic Alcotts”
Chair: Chair: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Penn State Altoona)

  • Jennie McDonald (University of Denver): “Gothic Elements and Movie Adaptations of ‘The Witch’s Curse’”
  • Laura King (University of Chicago): “Jo March as Playwright: Success or Sellout?”
  • Julie Wilhelm (University of CA Davis): “‘Don’t laugh, act as if it was all right!”: The Witch’s Curse and other Clumsy Gender Theatrics in Little Women”
Session 2: “Orchard House, Historical and Imaginative”
Chair: Jan Turnquist (Orchard House)

  • Mary Lamb Shelden (Northern IL University): “Jo March: The Sanewoman in the Attic”
  • Caroline Hellman (CUNY): “Building Castles of Reform: Louisa May Alcott’s Material Feminism”
  • Callie Sadler Oppedisano (Tufts University): “What They Wore: ‘The Rival Prima Donnas’ to Roderigo”


November 2006: Society for the Study of American Women Writers
Philadelphia, PA


“Women’s Letters and the Culture of Reform”
Chair: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Penn State Altoona)

  • Helen Deese (Mass. Historical Soc.): “Reformers at Odds: Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Caroline Healy Dall”
  • Mary De Jong (Penn State Altoona): Comment on Deese, re: Peabody and Dall in the correspondence of Anna Q. T. Parsons
  • Mary Lamb Shelden (No. ILL Univ): “‘In the Concord Barrel’: The Louisa May Alcott-Sallie Holley Correspondence”
  • Sandy Petrulionis (Penn State Altoona): Comment on Shelden, re: importance of letters for Concord women abolitionists


May 2006: American Literature Association
San Francisco, CA

“The Alcotts in Fiction”
Chair: Mary Lamb Shelden (Northern ILL University)

  • Janice Alberghene (Fitchburg State College): “Louisa and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”
  • Larry Carlson (College of Charleston): “Orpheus at War: March as Fictional(ized) History”
  • Daniel Shealy (University NC Charlotte): “‘The Curious Role of Lady Detective’: The Louisa May Alcott Mysteries”


May 2005: American Literature Association
Boston, MA

“Alcott in the New Century: Establishing a Louisa May Alcott Society”
Chair: Mary Lamb Shelden (VA Commonweath University)

  • Daniel Shealy (University NC Charlotte)
  • Joel Myerson (USC)
  • Sarah Elbert (SUNY Binghampton)