Early American Literature invites proposals for a special issue, “Reframing 1620.”

May 29, 2019

Its first peoples called themselves “Wôpanâak”--people of the first light. It had been their homeland for thousands of years, before Europeans began to appear along its shores. English colonists who arrived to stay, in 1620, saw it as “Plymouth.”

The year 2020 will mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of Plymouth colony, the first permanent English settlement in the American northeast. This anniversary is certain to inspire new scholarly discussion. While recent scholarship has often turned to other sites of encounter and colonialism, Plymouth retains a tight grip on the American imagination. Its founding has an indelible place in popular memory. And the histories of this place, and these peoples, remain relevant. As is evident in the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s ongoing struggle to protect its sovereignty and self-determination, the legacies of Plymouth’s founding continue to unfold.

What new approaches to Plymouth colony—and Wampanoag country—will yield new insights? What lessons remain to be culled? This special issue of Early American Literature will explore the evolution of historical and literary scholarship on Plymouth and its surrounding history and mythology. We seek papers reflecting new approaches to Plymouth colony, its history and literature, its environs, its associated characters, and its legacies, including its connections to and effect on Native communities, American identity, and historical memory.

The histories and stories that have framed 1620 should be reconsidered to reflect the multiple dimensions of Plymouth in Wampanoag country. Therefore, we seek to reframe 1620 in a special issue of EAL as a collaborative format. No one article needs to attempt to do it all, but the multiple voices that will comprise the issue will be an attempt to reflect the multivalent nature of 1620. We welcome articles on narration, identity, race, culture, material culture and book history, language, medicine, religion, politics, communication, economics, geography and the environment.

The issue will be guest-edited by Katherine Grandjean (Wellesley College) and Sarah Schuetze (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay). Final articles, running c. 8,000 words, will be peer reviewed. The journal projects a publication date of late 2020 or early 2021.

Please send 250–word proposals by July 15th to Katherine Grandjean (kgrandje@wellesley.edu) and Sarah Schuetze (sarahcschuetze@gmail.com). Complete essays of selected proposals will be due to the guest editors by October 15th.