Call for Emerson Society Program Committee Members

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

—Emerson, “Friendship” (1841)

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society seeks two persons to serve on the Emerson Society
Program Committee, beginning in January 2023. This committee annually organizes panels for
ALA (the American Literature Association) and TAG (the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering),
and panels for SAAP (the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy), regional MLA
associations, and C19 (the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists) as interests and
opportunities allow. In past years the Emerson Society co-sponsored “Transatlanticism in
American Literature” (Oxford 2006), “Conversazioni in Italia” (Florence 2012), and
“Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion” (Heidelberg 2018). We’re
looking for persons interested in supporting and developing RWES programs that nurture
international conversation, interdisciplinary inquiry, and collaboration between scholarly
societies. Committee members on this four-person committee serve two-year terms (renewable).
Service includes drafting and circulating CFPs, organizing and chairing panels (when relevant),
communicating with the Emerson Society Media Committee, and attending biannual RWES
board meetings (remotely or in person). If interested, please contact Prentiss Clark

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society


RWES panel for TAG 2023

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society will sponsor a panel at the 82nd Annual Gathering of the Thoreau Society (July12-16, 2023) exploring the themes of Thoreau, politics, and extinction.

“Fates, Fortunes, and Resources in the Postbellum Republic”

In his 1863 lecture “Fortune of the Republic,” and at the peak of his lecture career after
the Civil War, Emerson sounded the poles of hope and despair as he surveyed the state of the
nation. He anticipated “a new era of equal rights” (LL II: 334) yet in his journal he remarked,
“We hoped that in the Peace, after such a war, a great expansion would follow in the mind of the
country: grand views in every direction,—true freedom in politics, in religion, in social science,
in thought. But the energy of the nation seems to have expended itself in the war, and every
interest is found as sectional & timorous as before” (JMN XV: 77-8). This panel invites papers
that explore how Emerson figures the fate of the nation and its resources, broadly defined, in the
wake of the Civil War. How does he reassess, revise, and/or elaborate on his thinking about
nature, technology, economy, and/or power? In what ways does he grapple with
“extinction”—personal, political, philosophical—and/or attempt to defy them? This panel is
especially interested in papers that engage with Emerson’s later work, such as “American
Civilization” (1862), “Fortune of the Republic” (1863), “Resources” (1864), “Progress of
Culture” (1867), “Farming” (1870), and Natural History of Intellect (1870-71), and papers that
reflect on continuities, shifts, and/or changes in Emerson’s thinking as he confronts the fates,
fortunes, and “resources” of the postwar American landscape.

More details about TAG may be found here:

 Send 300-word abstracts by 15 January 2023 to Peter Balaam (


Emerson Society Panels ALA 2023

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society will sponsor two panels at the 34th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association, to be held May 25–28, 2023, at the Westin Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Both panels will honor the contributions of the late professor Joel Myerson.

“Editing Emerson”

The Society welcomes proposals concerning the theory and practice of editing Emerson. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks, one of the first scholarly editions of a major American literary figure, remains to this daya remarkable achievement. The Belknap series of the Collected Works, fifty years in the making, provides the complete standard edition of Emerson’s writing. It therefore seems appropriate to ask if the study of Emerson has entered a new phase. Does the completion of the scholarly editions of public and private writing foreclose certain forms of scholarly attention? Or do they provide insights and opportunities for younger scholars interested in working on digital editions? How might digital editions reimagine or refigure the JMN or the Collected Works? Proposals might also explore current editorial efforts related to Emerson, such as The Almanacks of Mary Moody Emerson: A Scholarly Digital Edition, or consider diverse archives still in need of scholarly editions. 

“Emerson in Conversation” 

The Society seeks papers that place Emerson in conversation with new and unexpected interlocutors. “In excited conversation we have glimpses of the universe,” Emerson notes; elsewhere, in “Circles,” he observes the tendency of conversationalists to outgrow one another. We welcome papers that imagine Emerson in “excited conversation” across diverse time periods, geographies, media, and cultures. We also welcome papers in which conversationalists probe the limitations of Emersonian thought on their way to other discussions. 

More details about the ALA may be found here:

Send 300-word abstracts by 15 January 2023 to Randall Fuller ( 

Membership in the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society is required of presenters.

Awards Announcements and TAG cfp coming soon…

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society announces awards for projects that foster appreciation for Emerson

*Graduate Student Conference Paper Award*

Provides up to $750 of travel support to present a paper on an Emerson Society panel at the American Literature Association Annual Conference (May 2023) or the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering (July 2023). Please submit a carefully crafted 1-2-page single-spaced conference paper proposal by January 15, 2023. Please note: all proposals should address the 2023 CFPs posted at and should be submitted directly to the panel chair listed on the Society’s website.

Please note: all proposals should address the 2023 CFPs posted at and should be submitted to Randall Fuller (randallfuller@ku.eduand Peter Balam (

*Research Grant*

Provides $500 to support scholarly work on Emerson. Preference is given to junior scholars and graduate students. Please submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a carefully crafted 1-2-page single-spaced project proposal, including a description of expenses needed to complete the project, by April 1, 2023 to Austin Bailey ( ) and Georgia Walton ( ).

*Pedagogy or Community Project Award* 

Provides $500 to support projects designed to bring Emerson to a non-academic audience. Please submit a confidential letter of recommendation and a carefully crafted 1-2page single-spaced project proposal, including a description of projected expenses, by April 1, 2023 to Austin Bailey ( ) and Georgia Walton ( ).

*Subvention Award* 

Provides up to $500 to support costs for the publication of an upcoming scholarly book or article on Emerson. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation from an academic mentor or colleague, and a 1-2-page proposal, including an abstract of the forthcoming work and a detailed description of expenses, by April 1, 2023 to Austin Bailey ( ) and Georgia Walton ( ).

*Undergraduate Student Essay Prize*

Undergraduate students are welcome to submit 1,000-1,500-word academic essays on any topic relevant to the study of Emerson—his life, work, national and transnational reception, importance within and beyond U.S. literature and culture, and/or contemporary relevance. Winning essays will demonstrate originality, clarity, and rigorous engagement with Emerson. Selected essays may be returned to applicants with suggested revisions. The winning essay will be published in The Emerson Society Papers and the writer awarded $100.
• Submissions should be 1,000-1,500 words and follow the 9th edition of MLA style.
• Submissions should include a cover letter containing the applicant’s name, essay title, academic status and affiliation, e-mail address, and postal address.
• Please submit documents by email—with the subject line “Emerson Society Student Essay Prize”—to Prentiss Clark ( by April 1, 2023.

The Society welcomes and encourages submissions on Emerson and his circle from diverse perspectives and critical methodologies, as well as by marginalized and/or traditionally underrepresented groups. All proposals will be evaluated based on the general strength of the submission and clearly articulated relevance to the individual award
or grant.

Award recipients must become members of the Society; membership applications are

available at