SURF Grant Leads to Conference Presentation

Lauren Swing, who graduated with a double-major in English and Political Science in May, and I presented a paper entitled “Lippard, Buntline, and the Problem of Female Agency in the ‘Male Novel’” at the American Literature Assocaition conference in Boston on May 27. We developed the paper from our work, funded by a 2010 SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty) grant, on mid-nineteenth-century “city mysteries” or urban crime fiction. In our presentation we described the genre’s tendency to type-cast women (mostly as innocent girls resisting seduction, or fallen women who become prostitutes) before exploring two exceptional, even heroic female characters in the novels The Quaker City and The Mysteries and Miseries of New York. The paper was part of a panel on “Social Identity and City Mysteries Fiction.“