Mary Ann Chapman
Relevant Degree Programs
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Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton); Onoto Watanna (Winnifred Eaton); US literature; American Literature; print culture; periodicals; suffrage literature, literature of social movements; 20th century American poetry; 19th-century American literature; race, class and gender; Asian American literature; public humanities; public pedagogy; alt-ac careers
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
“Emily Dickinson, Material Rhetoric, and the Ethos of Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Poetry” examines the ethos of women’s poetry as it was negotiated through the material rhetoric of mid-nineteenth-century American periodicals, and Emily Dickinson’s strategic alignment with that ethos to paradoxically distance herself from the literary market. As I argue, Dickinson negotiated an enduring marginality that would forestall her entry into public modes of poetic address while she lived, in order to preserve a poetic address that could foster interpersonal affectivity. Establishing the methodological framework for my study, the introduction demonstrates how material rhetoric contributes to the ethos of poetry by defining ethos as emerging from a poetry’s delivery and reception in material contexts of address. Chapter 1 maps the ethos of women’s poetry as it develops in the U.S. between 1830 and 1864, and especially the crucial ground that Civil War newspapers provided for the negotiation of a gendered authorial ethos for women’s poetry. Chapter 2 demonstrates how Dickinson’s poetry was implicated in such negotiations, as her poems were published in her daily newspaper, the Springfield Republican, under literary editor Fidelia Hayward Cooke during the early 1860s. Arguing that this implication transformed her poetic address and prompted decisive action on her part to limit further publication, I then investigate the ethos Dickinson herself negotiated with poetry she addressed to correspondents. Chapter 3 reads Dickinson’s negotiation of an amateur ethos with her correspondent Thomas Wentworth Higginson as a deliberate move to indefinitely defer her entry into the literary market. Chapter 4 maps Dickinson’s practice of sending poetry as, in, or with letters to correspondents, to demonstrate her investment in mobilizing interpersonal affectivity through personal, specific—not public, unspecific—poetic address. This dissertation makes substantial contribution to the field in three ways: it redresses the critical omission of materiality in the study of the rhetoric of nineteenth century American women’s poetry; it extends feminist historiography of women’s rhetoric to include the materiality of poetic address; and it extends the study of Dickinson in context, by situating her among her peers, deeply and inextricably in the material context of mid-nineteenth-century periodical culture.
This dissertation contributes to the fields of Canadian literature, American literature, and transnational and hemispheric studies by examining Canada’s place in American Renaissance discussions about imperialism, citizenship, and racial and national identity. In the nineteenth-century US, Canada became symbolically important because of its perceived common origins with the US as well as its increasing resistance to forms of American imperialism. Canadian Migrations examines the significance of the Canada-US relationship by analysing literary representations of two population movements across the Canada-US border: the 1755 deportation of French Catholic Acadians from Canada to the American colonies and the antebellum flight of African Americans north to Canada. American authors gravitated towards these narratives of displacement to and from Canada in order to discuss the meaning of American citizenship and the treatment of racial minorities within US borders. I argue that both of these Canada-US movements prompted critical inquiries in US culture about forms of American imperialism. In Part One, I examine authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who portrayed the violent expulsion of Acadians by British troops justified the creation of the United States as a necessary defense against imperial rule. Yet the Acadian expulsion also prompted these authors to question the contemporary US government’s own displacement of racial and linguistic minorities through slavery and westward expansion. In Part Two, I examine the northward movement of fugitive slaves across Lake Erie to Canada. By crossing Lake Erie, Black migrants—and the iconic texts written about them—challenged the conceptual categories that sustained US slavery and imperialism. Authors such as Stowe, Josiah Henson, Lewis Clarke, and William Wells Brown described scenes of nautical transit and transformation across the Lake Erie Passage to contest US slavery and to develop notions of Black citizenship. By recovering this conversation about the significance of Canada-US cross-border movement, I position nineteenth-century Canada within the movement of people and ideas across the Black Atlantic world. Together, my chapters demonstrate how the imagined community of the United States emerged through a series of complex political, cultural, and literary negotiations with Canada.
My dissertation examines the cultural functions of poetry in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. After 9/11, poems could be found in many and unexpected places: they were posted on the internet in the tens of thousands; published in newspapers, magazines, and single-author books; read aloud on television and on radio and collected in at least ten anthologies. Seeking to explain this surge in poetry’s popularity, many critics have discussed the genre’s ability to provide comfort. I suggest that poems after 9/11 be seen also as examples of memory scholar Marita Sturken’s “technologies of memory”: politically-charged objects through which memories are shared, produced, and given meaning. I argue that poetry can be held accountable for its production of the memory of 9/11 and that it can be investigated for the multiple functions it serves in the aftermath of crisis. Using the resources of memory studies, and of cultural studies of poetry, my dissertation makes a case for poetry’s political, memorial, witness, and public-discourse functions. My chapters explore (1) the popularity of W.H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939” after 9/11 and the contemporary politics of the poem’s circulation; (2) the memorial function of poetry as that function is negotiated in a text installation in the newly-built 7 World Trade Centre; (3) the function of poetry as witness and the way the mediation of 9/11 invites a reconsideration of the witness position itself; and (4) the public-discourse function of poetry found, for example, at poetry.com, where 55, 031 people have uploaded their 9/11 poems. By studying poetry’s national presence after 9/11, I challenge the idea, dominant especially since the mid-twentieth century, that poetry is a marginal genre in literature and culture. I also challenge the mid-twentieth century notion that poetry’s value can best be found in its timelessness. Poetry had many timely functions after 9/11 and can be read as a set of discursive practices integrated in our everyday lives.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
From 1925 to 1962, the Ryerson Press published 200 short, artisanally printed books of poetry by emerging and established Canadian authors. Series editor Lorne Pierce introduced the series alongside other nationalistic projects in the 1920s in order to foster the development of an avowedly Canadian literature. Pierce initially included established Confederation poets in the series, such as Charles G.D. Roberts, and popular late-romantic poets Marjorie Pickthall and Audrey Alexandra Brown. In response to shifting literary trends in the 1940s, Pierce also included the work of modernists such as Anne Marriott, Louis Dudek, and Al Purdy. Following Pierre Bourdieu, I read the Ryerson series as a sub-field of literary production that encapsulates broader trends in the Canadian literary field in the first half of the twentieth century. The struggle between late-romantic and modernist producers to determine literary legitimacy within the series constitutes the history of the field in this period. Pierce’s decision to orient the series towards modernist innovation during the Second World War was due to late romantics’ loss of their dominant cultural position as a result of shifting literary tastes. Modernist poets gained high cultural capital in both the Ryerson series and the broader field of Canadian literary production because of their appeal to an audience of male academics whose approval ensured their legitimacy. Late-romantic poets, by contrast, lost cultural capital due to their inability to captivate an audience of academic “tastemakers” and, in some instances, due to their gender, as editors frequently framed female poets as opposed to emerging modernism to dismiss their work. My examination of Pierce’s editorial policies and the poetry in the series will re-contextualize a now-canonical Canadian modernism in relation to concurrent literary trends and will assert the importance of the chap-book genre for both late-romantic and modernist poets struggling to determine the shape of Canada’s poetry in the early to mid-twentieth century.
- Edith Eaton's expanding oeuvre (2017)
American Periodicals, 27 (1), 6-10
- Cross-cultural affinities between native American and white women in the Alaska Widow by Edith Eaton (Sui Sin Far) (2013)
MELUS, 38 (1), 155-163
- Magazines, modernity, and the middle class (2013)
American Literary History, 25 (2), 430-440
- Finding Edith Eaton (2012)
Legacy, 29 (2), 263-269
- The "thrill" of not belonging: Edith Eaton (Sui Sin Far) and flexible citizenship (2012)
Canadian Literature, 2012 (212), 191-195
- Treacherous texts: U.S. suffrage literature, 1846-1946 (2010)
Treacherous Texts: U.S. Suffrage Literature, 1846-1946, 1-334
- A "evolution in ink": Sui Sin Far and chinese reform discourse (2008)
American Quarterly, 60 (4), 975-1001
- "are women people?": Alice Duer Miller's poetry and politics (2006)
American Literary History, 18 (1), 59-85
- Performing culture (2002)
American Literary History, 14 (1), 149-159