Emersonian Perspectives (co-sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society)

(Panel / In-Person)

Special Session
American / Shifting Perspectives

Susan Dunston (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology)
sdun@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society invites papers that explore the conference theme “Shifting Perspectives” in the context of Emerson’s work and reception. Contributions may address how perspective informs Emerson’s philosophy, aesthetics, poetics and politics. They may also explore in what ways Emerson’s work teaches us to shift our approaches to reading, thinking, feeling, writing and teaching. Finally, they may also show how other philosophers, poets and artists shift our perspective on Emerson.

“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” Emerson unsettles things—from religious orthodoxies to disciplinary conventions—and his body of writing provokes as well as demonstrates shifting perspectives. This panel, sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, seeks to showcase research in nineteenth-century literature and culture that speaks to the PAMLA conference theme “Shifting Perspectives.” The panel is interested in contributions that look at how temporal, spatial and critical perspective informs Emerson’s philosophy (e.g. metaphysics vs. perfectionism), aesthetics, poetics, and politics. Contributions may also explore the ways in which Emerson’s work teaches us to shift approaches to reading (e.g. “active reading”), thinking, feeling (e.g. grief), writing (essays vs. poems) and teaching (e.g. books vs. teachers). Papers may also address how other philosophers (e.g. Nietzsche, Cavell, Rancière), poets (e.g. Novalis) and artists shift our perspective on Emerson.