AGM 2021 Breakout Sessions

“A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages…”
                                                                                               —Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 8

You may choose one breakout presentation in each session: A, B, C, D, E, and F. As currently planned, some of the presenters in each session will deliver their presentations twice during the conference. The remaining will each give one live presentation and will be recorded (see the AGM FAQ for more information about content to be made available online). The breakout schedule is subject to adjustment if changes occur in speaker or facility availability.

UPDATE: Maria Clara Pivato Biajoli, Gillian Dooley, Hazel Jones, and Robert Sylvester have informed us that they are unable to attend the AGM.

In addition to Breakout Sessions, AGM attendee registration includes all presentations under the Plenary Speakers and Special Interest tabs.

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SESSION A

A1. Austen and Vermeer, Fellow Artists

Marsha Huff, Wisconsin Region

Reviewing the novel Emma in 1816, Walter Scott compared Jane Austen’s work to the genre painting of 17th-century Flemish masters. Drawing on Scott’s observation, this presentation examines a dozen paintings by Johannes Vermeer and pairs seven of them with passages from Austen’s novels, read by actors, to illustrate the comparable manner in which the two artists depicted the lives of women. The lecture analyzes the composition of each Vermeer painting and of each Austen scene to demonstrate how the artists’ choices contribute to the structure and theme of their work.

Marsha Huff is an attorney specializing in nonprofit organizations. She was co-coordinator of the 2005 AGM in Milwaukee. As President of JASNA from 2006 through 2010, Marsha presented lectures to numerous JASNA Regions, and she was a breakout speaker at the 2019 AGM in Williamsburg. Her essay “Sir Thomas Bertram and the Slave Trade” is in the summer 2021 issue of Persuasions On-Line.

A2. Jane Austen Society of TikTok

Linley Erickson, Greater Chicago Region
Elizabeth Roy, Connecticut Region
Rhonda Watts, Puget Sound Region

Every Austen fan knows that her works are just as relevant now as they were 200 years ago, and the Jane Austen Society of TikTok is proof. This interactive audiovisual presentation will introduce the world of Jane Austen fandom on the popular social media video app TikTok, and explain how this cutting-edge technology is being used to contextualize Austen’s 19th century works for a 21st century audience.

Linley Erickson is the Membership Secretary of the JASNA Greater Chicago Region. She holds a Master of Arts in History. Elizabeth Roy is a current student at Dickenson College. She is an American Studies major and an English minor. Her work related to all things Jane Austen can be seen on her TikTok account, @misselizabeth1813. Rhonda Watts playfully discusses Austen’s works and other literature on her blog and social media as Rhonda With A Book and produces and co-hosts the pop culture analysis podcast Pop DNA. Rhonda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and is currently studying for her Master’s in Communications and New Media. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with far too many books.

A3. “A Young Lady of Spirit Happened to be at the Playhouse”: Austen Re-Writes the Archetypal Coquette for Regency England

Claudia Martin, Binghamton University

In Eliza Haywood’s novella Fantomina (1725), a young lady at the playhouse finds the real acting happening in the audience, where a woman is flirting and manipulating a crowd of gentlemen. This figure of the coquette, a woman publicly performing femininity in pursuit of pleasure and masculine attention, was an archetype that Austen knew well from plays and fictions of the 18th century. Yet, when creating her own flirtatious females, Austen reimagines and rewrites this stock figure to conform to more restrained Regency tastes for marriage and morality, while revealing that even this limited role for women can be empowering. This presentation will look at theatrical influences on Austen’s flirts, using film clips to suggest why the coquette readily adapts to film and cross-cultural adaptations.

Claudia Martin is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in both the English Department and the Engineering School at Binghamton University, teaching 18th and 19th century British Literature, Law and Literature, Bad Girls and Wicked Women in Fiction, and Engineering Communications. Her research focuses on the relationship between novels of the long 19th century and the network of laws and socio-legal practices that dispossessed women. Previously, Claudia was a Deputy Attorney General in Pennsylvania, a Pro-Tem Judge in California, and a travel writer for The San Francisco Examiner. Her essays have appeared in Persuasions, the Victorians Institute Journal, and other publications.

A4. Contemplating Beauty: Jane Austen’s Women as Connoisseurs

Natasha Duquette, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College, Ontario

In her 1778 novel Evelina, Frances Burney satirically connects the discourse of taste to men’s voyeuristic practices via reference to an aristocratic lord as a connoisseur of beauty. In Jane Austen’s novels, especially in Pride and Prejudice, Austen flips this dynamic by depicting women’s contemplation of landscapes, art, and male countenances, with the focus of a connoisseur. This session will illustrate how in Austen’s first three novels women’s connoisseurship progresses in stages: through familiarity with familial art, to contemplation of formal portraiture, and finally to art collection. We will also analyze scenes of women’s connoisseurship in select Austen film adaptations.

Dr. Natasha Duquette is Academic Dean and Professor of Literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is author of 30-Day Journey with Jane Austen (Fortress Press, 2020) and co-editor, with Dr. Elisabeth Lenckos, of Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, Harmony (Lehigh University Press, 2013). She has authored multiple articles for Persuasions and has presented at AGMs in Chicago, Portland, Montreal, Huntington Beach, and Williamsburg.

A5. The Culinary Arts at Chawton Cottage

Julienne Gehrer, Metropolitan Kansas City Region

Jane Austen wrote in a sensory-stimulating environment alive with the arts of bread baking, mead making, beekeeping, preserving, and cooking. We see culinary arts reflected in both Jane’s writing and Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, the handwritten recipes of Jane’s closest friend and housemate. Join this extensive and highly visual exploration of the first facsimile edition of Martha’s book. See Jane’s favorite foods recreated with unprecedented access to Jane Austen’s House, Chawton House, and the Knight-crested Wedgwood. Learn the provenance and historical context of the manuscript, including women’s roles of managing the kitchen, bake house, dairy, game larder, and poultry yard.

Julienne Gehrer has presented at numerous AGMs, served on JASNA’s Board, and coordinated the 2018 AGM. She has spoken at Jane Austen’s House, “Jane Austen Literary Dinner,” AGM “Cheese Tour of Jane Austen’s England,” and PBS “Great British Brunch.” Her articles have appeared in Persuasions and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. Her books include Dining with Jane Austen and Martha Lloyd’s Household Book: The Original Manuscript from Jane Austen’s Kitchen, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

SESSION B

B1. Performing to Strangers: Private Art and Public Performance

Elaine Bander, Montreal Region

“Amateur” and “professional” were not terms employed in Austen’s time in the sense that we use them, but the distinction existed and was socially impermeable: ladies and gentlemen did not perform publicly, or for profit. Yet Austen became a professional artist seeking public and payment for her performances. By exploring these issues in Austen’s fiction and practice, we will see how rigid social distinctions between amateurs and professionals were evolving and liminal.

Elaine Bander, retired from the Dawson College English Department, has served JASNA since 1993 as Vice-President (Publications), Regional Coordinator (Montreal), Travelling Lecturer, International Visitor, and Coordinator of the 2014 AGM in Montreal, and has spoken to many AGMs and Regions. She is currently President of JASNA (Canada). Her chapter “Jane Austen and the Georgian Novel” is forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Cheryl A. Wilson and Maria Frawley.

B2. With Variations for Piano-Forte: Music Reflecting Current Events in Ackermann's Repository of Arts

Andrea Cawelti, Harvard University

Ackermann's Repository of Arts is famous for its spectacular fashion plates, but less well-known are its monthly music reviews, which provide a time capsule of the music recommended to the fashionable public from 1809-1829. In comparing musical subjects to historical events, patterns emerge which show that domestic music was directly related, inspiring and reinforcing in its performers a personal connection to Britain’s place on the world stage. Enjoy an overview of this music, illustrated with recordings and examples from the Ward Collection at the Harvard Theatre Collection, and linked to the significant events later in Austen’s life.

Andrea Cawelti, a former opera singer, is the John M. Ward Music Cataloger at Houghton Library, Harvard University. The Ward Collection comprises significant resources in British music composed for the stage as well as for the home throughout the life of Jane Austen, among other performance-related holdings. Andrea has published several articles on material from the collection. She joined Jeff Nigro at the 2016 DC AGM, presenting “Divas in the Drawing Room.”

B3. Music Therapy in Austen’s Fiction

Linda Zionkowski, Ohio University

A pianist throughout her life, Austen intuitively understood what cognitive science now asserts about the curative power of music: that it calms anxiety, lowers stress, and helps reduce depression in those who sing or play an instrument, and even in those who listen. Throughout her fiction, music created and sung at home provides refuge and regeneration for women facing isolation or enduring psychological trauma. We will discuss how Austen portrays music as therapy for her emotionally troubled female characters and how this theme becomes a focal point in filmed versions of her novels.

Linda Zionkowski is Samuel and Susan Crowl Professor of Literature in the English Department at Ohio University. Her latest book is Women and Gift Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Fiction: Richardson, Burney, Austen. Several of her articles have appeared in Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line, and her essays on Austen and music have been published in two recent collections, entitled Jane Austen and Masculinity and Art and Artifact in Austen. Along with Miriam Hart, she is currently editing a volume of essays entitled Women and Music in Georgian Britain. She was a breakout speaker at the 2016 and 2018 JASNA AGMs.

B4. Henry the Next: Shakespeare’s Histories and Jane Austen’s Art of Dramaturgy

Lesley Peterson, Winnipeg Region

To turn prose history into drama, a playwright must alter events and compress time. Jane Austen’s very short play, Sir Charles Grandison, based on Richardson’s very long novel of the same name, shows her an apt pupil of Shakespeare in this regard. Excerpts from Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, The Visit, and The History of England, alongside select moments in Shakespeare, will (via Powerpoint and handouts) highlight Austen’s engagement with Shakespearean dramaturgy. We will then bring these ideas to life collaboratively with a staged reading of Sir Charles Grandison. Participants choose whether to perform, observe, or help direct this light-hearted production.

Lesley Peterson is retired from the University of North Alabama where, as Professor of English, she taught both Shakespeare and Jane Austen; she also teaches Shakespeare to children and is Editor of the Journal of Juvenilia Studies. She has directed Austen’s juvenile drama The Visit and has published on Jane Austen’s juvenilia in Persuasions On-Line.

B5. The Artist and the Austen Collector

Juliette Wells, Goucher College

For more than forty years, two devoted Janeites—Alberta H. Burke of Baltimore, a self-taught expert in Austen, and Averil G. Hassall of Oxfordshire, a visual artist and teacher—collaborated on building Alberta’s famed collection of Austen materials, now housed at Goucher College. Averil’s key role has only recently come into focus, thanks to correspondence donated to Goucher by one of her sons. This extensively illustrated talk will introduce the two women and share stories of the artifacts they preserved, including artwork and unique records concerning English stage adaptations of Emma and Pride and Prejudice from the 1940s and 1950s.

Juliette Wells, Professor of Literary Studies at Goucher College, is the author of two histories of Austen’s readers—Reading Austen in America and Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination—and is working on a third. For Penguin Classics, she created 200th-anniversary editions of Persuasion and Emma. Her most recent publication on Austen and the arts is “Intimate Portraiture and the Accomplished Woman Artist in Emma,” in the collection Art and Artifact in Austen.

B6. Good, Quick, Cheap: Historically Inaccurate Costume Design Choices in Austen Adaptations

Alyssa C. Opishinski, Capital New York Region

When a new Austen adaptation premieres, a popular focus for criticism has become the historical accuracy of the costumes. Historical accuracy in film and theatre, however, is extremely rare and difficult to achieve. This presentation offers insight into the roles of the designer and costumes to foster an understanding and appreciation of it as a living art form, rather than as a failed historic recreation. The audience will be taken on the journey of “concept to costume,” exploring costume design theory to practical problems faced by the designer. The phenomenon of “costume-critical” media will be briefly examined.

Alyssa C. Opishinski is a theatrical costume designer and dress historian. She is currently taking time out of her costuming career to obtain a master's degree in Fashion History at the University of Rhode Island, in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. Her focus is on Western European fashion history from 1790-1830.

SESSION C

C1. Jane Austen Goes to the Opera

Douglas Murray, Belmont University

Jane Austen, proficient in music and devotee of the theatre, would be pleased to know that her fiction continues to inspire singers and composers. In this session Los Angeles-based mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin, New York-based composer Rachel deVore Fogarty and librettist Douglas Murray will explore why Austen’s characters are suited to opera and the choices which singers, librettists and composers must make to bring Austen to the stage. The session will conclude with the world premiere of a song cycle drawn from the opera Persuasion performed by Ms. Martin accompanied by Ms. deVore Fogarty.

Douglas Murray (Professor of English, Belmont University, Nashville) has written numerous essays on Jane Austen, most recently on Northanger Abbey and the #MeToo movement. This is his seventh JASNA presentation. Rising mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin has commissioned two song cycles based on Sense and Sensibility. Rachel deVore Fogarty’s works have been performed throughout the United States and the United Kingdom; her opera The Necklace, based on the de Maupassant story, will be premiered in China.

C2. “Two hands and a new thimble”: Embroidery in Austen--Fine Art or Women’s Work?

Robin Henry, Texas South Central Region

In 1984, Rzsika Parker’s The Subversive Stitch argued that separating embroidery from the fine arts contributed to the marginalization of women’s work. Batchelor and Larkin’s Jane Austen Embroidery: Regency Patterns Reimagined for Modern Stitchers, argues for Austen’s prowess with a needle. Early feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft eschewed embroidery, adopting the default male position that women’s work was lesser; Austen did not. This presentation will analyze Austen’s references to embroidery through the framework of Parker’s thesis to determine how Austen uses her female characters’ embroidery skills, or lack thereof, as markers of class, femininity, and artistic expression.

Robin Henry is a librarian and adjunct professor of Humanities and Library Science. Her research interests are the history of women’s reading and writing. Past presentations include “Men Reading Badly” at the 2018 AGM and serving as a panelist for “ReSisters of Americanization” at Northeast MLA in 2019. Her blog series, Austenalia, appears at Readerly.net.

C3. Francis and Charles Austen and the Art of Sketching

Toby R. Benis, St. Louis University

Francis and Charles Austen began their military careers at the Royal Naval Academy in Portsmouth. The curriculum combined education in the science of seamanship with instruction in polite accomplishments such as drawing and dancing. The brothers' papers include sketches of shorelines, boats, bridges, and cottages. Such artistry was important training for sketching coastlines and making maps, one of an officer's key skills. This backdrop sheds new light on moments in Austen's novels that connect the military with the arts.

A professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at St. Louis University, Toby Benis has published extensively on Austen and her contemporaries. Her most recent book is Romantic Diasporas: French Emigres, British Convicts, and Jews. Her current book project, entitled Jane Austen's Neighborhood, explores the figure of the neighbor and the neighborhood in Austen's fiction.

C4. The World of Jane Austen Soundtracks

Ruth Mudge, Chicago Region

Soundtracks are one of the many vehicles used to portray the emotions, tone, era, comedy and more within films. In listening to and comparing musical themes, particularly from adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, this session will uncover the variety of ways that soundtracks interpret Jane’s stories. A few of the musical choices include exploring instrumentation options, staying in the classical era or radically departing from it, the use of character themes vs. emotional swells, even the use of a pianoforte vs. the use of a modern piano, to uncover how music powerfully impacts the telling of these beloved stories.

Ruth Mudge is a cello and piano instructor in the western suburbs of the Chicago area. She also freelances regularly with local orchestras and ensembles. Ruth has written and collaborated on several soundtrack analysis projects over the past few years, and more recently began teaching soundtrack classes on Zoom, ranging from Harry Potter to The Sound of Music to a series on Jane Austen adaptations.

C5. “My Name Was Norval”: Douglas, Elocution, and Acting in Mansfield Park

Susan Allen Ford, Delta State University

When Tom Bertram defends himself by reciting the beginning of a speech from John Home’s tragedy Douglas, he points us not only to that play but also to a feature of the Bertram brothers’ education: recitation. At this moment of moral crisis in Mansfield Park, why should we think about this play? this speech? Why might Austen remind us of the elocution movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries? Answering these questions highlights another way that the artistic culture of her youth and adulthood saturates Austen’s fiction—and how it penetrates other aspects of her characters’ world.

Susan Allen Ford has been Editor of Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line since 2006 and is a Life Member of JASNA. She is Professor of English Emerita at Delta State University and has published essays on Jane Austen and her contemporaries, the gothic, and Shakespeare. She is slowly working on a book on what Austen’s characters are reading, Jane Austen’s ‘Great Readers’: When Characters Read Books.

C6. “Here, There, and Everywhere”: Jane Austen in the Contemporary Popular Arts

Laura Dabundo, Kennesaw State University

The title is from Sanditon, which recently saw an unhappy televised life. That’s one instance of what has been called Austen’s inspired afterlife. Legions of imitators, devotees, and imaginists (borrowing Emma Woodhouse’s self-description) extensively expand the canon in six categories: sequels and prequels; retellings of the originals; novels in which Austen or her works are plot devices; filmed adaptations; theatrical presentations; and creative nonfiction. The discussion is representative and descriptive, suggesting how the Austen milieu, expanding outward from the creations of a spinster in the countryside of early nineteenth-century England, became a veritable industrial complex and conquered the world.

Laura Dabundo is Professor of English, Emerita, at Kennesaw State University. Austen has long been a focus of her teaching and scholarship. Her works include the first Encyclopedia of Romanticism, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley and Their Sisters, The Marriage of Faith: Christianity in Jane Austen and William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen: A Companion (2021). She has presented papers in England, Ireland, Canada, and the USA, including a JASNA AGM and a conference at Chawton House.

SESSION D

D1. Satirical Cartoons and Austen’s Church of England

Brenda S. Cox, Georgia Region

Clergymen and the church play major roles in Austen’s novels. Popular satirical cartoons lampooned many of the underlying church issues. We’ll look together at some widely published cartoons by Hogarth, Rowlandson, and Newton and see how Austen’s characters might have fit into them. In this interactive session, we’ll imagine the Crawfords in a sleepy London church, Edmund Bertram in an “enthusiastic” Methodist meeting (where Mary Crawford says he belongs), Henry Tilney in a parish meeting, and Dr. Grant in his parsonage. From Richard Newton’s “Clerical Alphabet,” we’ll learn more about rectors like Mr. Collins, vicars like Mr. Elton, and curates like Charles Hayter.

Brenda S. Cox has extensively researched the church in Jane Austen’s England. She is writing a book called Fashionable Goodness: Faith in Jane Austen’s England, which explores connections between Austen’s work, her Church of England, and prominent church events and people of the time. She is a co-administrator and regular contributor to “Jane Austen’s World” and writes for her blog, “Faith, Science, Joy, and Jane Austen.” She led a breakout session at the 2019 AGM.

D2. “Two hands and a new thimble”: Embroidery in Austen--Fine Art or Women’s Work?

Robin Henry, Texas South Central Region

In 1984, Rzsika Parker’s The Subversive Stitch argued that separating embroidery from the fine arts contributed to the marginalization of women’s work. Batchelor and Larkin’s Jane Austen Embroidery: Regency Patterns Reimagined for Modern Stitchers, argues for Austen’s prowess with a needle. Early feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft eschewed embroidery, adopting the default male position that women’s work was lesser; Austen did not. This presentation will analyze Austen’s references to embroidery through the framework of Parker’s thesis to determine how Austen uses her female characters’ embroidery skills, or lack thereof, as markers of class, femininity, and artistic expression.

Robin Henry is a librarian and adjunct professor of Humanities and Library Science. Her research interests are the history of women’s reading and writing. Past presentations include “Men Reading Badly” at the 2018 AGM and serving as a panelist for “ReSisters of Americanization” at Northeast MLA in 2019. Her blog series, Austenalia, appears at Readerly.net.

D3. The Culinary Arts at Chawton Cottage

Julienne Gehrer, Metropolitan Kansas City Region

Jane Austen wrote in a sensory-stimulating environment alive with the arts of bread baking, mead making, beekeeping, preserving, and cooking. We see culinary arts reflected in both Jane’s writing and Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, the handwritten recipes of Jane’s closest friend and housemate. Join this extensive and highly visual exploration of the first facsimile edition of Martha’s book. See Jane’s favorite foods recreated with unprecedented access to Jane Austen’s House, Chawton House, and the Knight-crested Wedgwood. Learn the provenance and historical context of the manuscript, including women’s roles of managing the kitchen, bake house, dairy, game larder, and poultry yard.

Julienne Gehrer has presented at numerous AGMs, served on JASNA’s Board, and coordinated the 2018 AGM. She has spoken at Jane Austen’s House, “Jane Austen Literary Dinner,” AGM “Cheese Tour of Jane Austen’s England,” and PBS “Great British Brunch.” Her articles have appeared in Persuasions and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. Her books include Dining with Jane Austen and Martha Lloyd’s Household Book: The Original Manuscript from Jane Austen’s Kitchen, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

D4. Music Therapy in Austen’s Fiction

Linda Zionkowski, Ohio University

A pianist throughout her life, Austen intuitively understood what cognitive science now asserts about the curative power of music: that it calms anxiety, lowers stress, and helps reduce depression in those who sing or play an instrument, and even in those who listen. Throughout her fiction, music created and sung at home provides refuge and regeneration for women facing isolation or enduring psychological trauma. We will discuss how Austen portrays music as therapy for her emotionally troubled female characters and how this theme becomes a focal point in filmed versions of her novels.

Linda Zionkowski is Samuel and Susan Crowl Professor of Literature in the English Department at Ohio University. Her latest book is Women and Gift Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Fiction: Richardson, Burney, Austen. Several of her articles have appeared in Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line, and her essays on Austen and music have been published in two recent collections, entitled Jane Austen and Masculinity and Art and Artifact in Austen. Along with Miriam Hart, she is currently editing a volume of essays entitled Women and Music in Georgian Britain. She was a breakout speaker at the 2016 and 2018 JASNA AGMs.

D5. “A Young Lady of Spirit Happened to be at the Playhouse”: Austen Re-Writes the Archetypal Coquette for Regency England

Claudia Martin, Binghamton University

In Eliza Haywood’s novella Fantomina (1725), a young lady at the playhouse finds the real acting happening in the audience where a woman is flirting and manipulating a crowd of gentlemen. This figure of the coquette, a woman publicly performing femininity in pursuit of pleasure and masculine attention, was an archetype that Austen knew well from plays and fictions of the eighteenth-century. Yet, when creating her own flirtatious females, Austen re-imagines and re-writes this stock figure to both conform to more restrained Regency tastes for marriage and morality, while revealing that even this limited role for women can be empowering. This presentation will look at theatrical influences on Austen’s flirts, using film clips to suggest why the coquette readily adapts to film and cross-cultural adaptations.

Claudia Martin is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in both the English Department and the Engineering School at Binghamton University, teaching 18th and 19th century British Literature, Law and Literature, Bad Girls and Wicked Women in Fiction, and Engineering Communications. Her research focuses on the relationship between novels of the long 19th century and the network of laws and socio-legal practices that dispossessed women. Previously, Claudia was a Deputy Attorney General in Pennsylvania, a Pro-Tem Judge in California, and a travel writer for The San Francisco Examiner. Her essays have appeared in Persuasions, the Victorians Institute Journal, and other publications.

SESSION E

E1. “Two or three French cooks at least”: Art and Artistry in Regency Cooking

Kim Wilson, Wisconsin Region

This session looks at the grand dishes and confectionary creations seen on the tables of British elites in Jane Austen’s time and how the works of such great chefs as Antonin Carême (employed by the Prince Regent) elevated the presentation of food to the level of art. We’ll discuss how professional confectioners made a fashionably artistic table available not just to those who employed French chefs, but to anyone who could afford it. We’ll also imagine what we could expect to see on the tables of Austen’s various characters, from Mr. Darcy to the socially anxious Mrs. Bennet.

Kim Wilson is a writer and speaker, a Life Member of JASNA, and Regional Coordinator for JASNA-Wisconsin Region. She has presented at several previous AGMs. She is the author of At Home with Jane Austen, Tea with Jane Austen, and In the Garden with Jane Austen, and is currently writing Entertaining Mr. Darcy.

E2. Jane Austen Society of TikTok

Linley Erickson, Greater Chicago Region
Elizabeth Roy, Connecticut Region
Rhonda Watts, Puget Sound Region

Every Austen fan knows that her works are just as relevant now as they were 200 years ago, and the Jane Austen Society of TikTok is proof. This interactive audiovisual presentation will introduce the world of Jane Austen fandom on the popular social media video app TikTok, and explain how this cutting-edge technology is being used to contextualize Austen’s 19th century works for a 21st century audience.

Linley Erickson is the Membership Secretary of the JASNA Greater Chicago Region. She holds a Master of Arts in History. Elizabeth Roy is a current student at Dickenson College. She is an American Studies major and an English minor. Her work related to all things Jane Austen can be seen on her TikTok account, @misselizabeth1813. Rhonda Watts playfully discusses Austen’s works and other literature on her blog and social media as Rhonda With A Book and produces and co-hosts the pop culture analysis podcast Pop DNA. Rhonda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and is currently studying for her Master’s in Communications and New Media. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with far too many books.

E3. With Variations for Piano-Forte: Music Reflecting Current Events in Ackermann's Repository of Arts

Andrea Cawelti, Harvard University

Ackermann's Repository of Arts is famous for its spectacular fashion plates, but less well-known are its monthly music reviews, which provide a time capsule of the music recommended to the fashionable public from 1809-1829. In comparing musical subjects to historical events, patterns emerge which show that domestic music was directly related, inspiring and reinforcing in its performers a personal connection to Britain’s place on the world stage. Enjoy an overview of this music, illustrated with recordings and examples from the Ward Collection at the Harvard Theatre Collection, and linked to the significant events later in Austen’s life.

Andrea Cawelti, a former opera singer, is the John M. Ward Music Cataloger at Houghton Library, Harvard University. The Ward Collection comprises significant resources in British music composed for the stage as well as for the home throughout the life of Jane Austen, among other performance-related holdings. Andrea has published several articles on material from the collection. She joined Jeff Nigro at the 2016 DC AGM, presenting “Divas in the Drawing Room.”

E4. Henry the Next: Shakespeare’s Histories and Jane Austen’s Art of Dramaturgy

Lesley Peterson, Winnipeg Region

To turn prose history into drama, a playwright must alter events and compress time. Jane Austen’s very short play, Sir Charles Grandison, based on Richardson’s very long novel of the same name, shows her an apt pupil of Shakespeare in this regard. Excerpts from Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, The Visit, and The History of England, alongside select moments in Shakespeare, will (via Powerpoint and handouts) highlight Austen’s engagement with Shakespearean dramaturgy. We will then bring these ideas to life collaboratively with a staged reading of Sir Charles Grandison. Participants choose whether to perform, observe, or help direct this light-hearted production.

Lesley Peterson is retired from the University of North Alabama where, as Professor of English, she taught both Shakespeare and Jane Austen; she also teaches Shakespeare to children and is Editor of the Journal of Juvenilia Studies. She has directed Austen’s juvenile drama The Visit and has published on Jane Austen’s juvenilia in Persuasions On-Line.

E5. The Artist and the Austen Collector

Juliette Wells, Goucher College

For more than forty years, two devoted Janeites—Alberta H. Burke of Baltimore, a self-taught expert in Austen, and Averil G. Hassall of Oxfordshire, a visual artist and teacher—collaborated on building Alberta’s famed collection of Austen materials, now housed at Goucher College. Averil’s key role has only recently come into focus, thanks to correspondence donated to Goucher by one of her sons. This extensively illustrated talk will introduce the two women and share stories of the artifacts they preserved, including artwork and unique records concerning English stage adaptations of Emma and Pride and Prejudice from the 1940s and 1950s.

Juliette Wells, Professor of Literary Studies at Goucher College, is the author of two histories of Austen’s readers—Reading Austen in America and Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination—and is working on a third. For Penguin Classics, she created 200th-anniversary editions of Persuasion and Emma. Her most recent publication on Austen and the arts is “Intimate Portraiture and the Accomplished Woman Artist in Emma,” in the collection Art and Artifact in Austen.

E6. Good, Quick, Cheap: Historically Inaccurate Costume Design Choices in Austen Adaptations

Alyssa C. Opishinski, Capital New York Region

When a new Austen adaptation premieres, a popular focus for criticism has become the historical accuracy of the costumes. Historical accuracy in film and theatre, however, is extremely rare and difficult to achieve. This presentation offers insight into the roles of the designer and costumes to foster an understanding and appreciation of it as a living art form, rather than as a failed historic recreation. The audience will be taken on the journey of “concept to costume,” exploring costume design theory to practical problems faced by the designer. The phenomenon of “costume-critical” media will be briefly examined.

Alyssa C. Opishinski is a theatrical costume designer and dress historian. She is currently taking time out of her costuming career to obtain a master's degree in Fashion History at the University of Rhode Island, in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. Her focus is on Western European fashion history from 1790-1830.

SESSION F

F1. “Composed by an African": Ignatius Sancho's Country Dances

Lisa Brown, Central and Western New York Region

Ignatius Sancho was born on a slave ship during the long Middle Passage. He became an abolitionist, writer, and businessman; he was the first black person to vote in a British general election, and at his death in 1780, the first to have his obituary printed in British newspapers. He is well known in the U.K. today (though virtually unknown in the U.S.), but few British people have any idea he wrote exquisite country dances. After a brief biography, Sancho’s music, signature dance sequences, and a full dance will be demonstrated (live or on video).

A decade ago, Lisa Brown moved to a new city for more frequent access to JASNA meetings and English country dances. She is Regional Coordinator of the Central and Western New York Region and is well known for her popular AGM workshops and fashion shows. During the pandemic, Lisa created Jane Austen Bingo and has been calling Zoom bingo for JASNA Regions across North America. She regularly gives presentations on the Georgian era and is proprietress of Regency Rentals, a costume rental business.

F2. Francis and Charles Austen and the Art of Sketching

Toby R. Benis, St. Louis University

Francis and Charles Austen began their military careers at the Royal Naval Academy in Portsmouth. The curriculum combined education in the science of seamanship with instruction in polite accomplishments such as drawing and dancing. The brothers' papers include sketches of shorelines, boats, bridges, and cottages. Such artistry was important training for sketching coastlines and making maps, one of an officer's key skills. This backdrop sheds new light on moments in Austen's novels that connect the military with the arts.

A professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at St. Louis University, Toby Benis has published extensively on Austen and her contemporaries. Her most recent book is Romantic Diasporas: French Emigres, British Convicts, and Jews. Her current book project, entitled Jane Austen's Neighborhood, explores the figure of the neighbor and the neighborhood in Austen's fiction.

F3. The World of Jane Austen Soundtracks

Ruth Mudge, Greater Chicago Region

Soundtracks are one of the many vehicles used to portray the emotions, tone, era, comedy and more within films. In listening to and comparing musical themes, particularly from adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, this session will uncover the variety of ways that soundtracks interpret Jane’s stories. A few of the musical choices include exploring instrumentation options, staying in the classical era or radically departing from it, the use of character themes vs. emotional swells, even the use of a pianoforte vs. the use of a modern piano, to uncover how music powerfully impacts the telling of these beloved stories.

Ruth Mudge is a cello and piano instructor in the western suburbs of the Chicago area. She also freelances regularly with local orchestras and ensembles. Ruth has written and collaborated on several soundtrack analysis projects over the past few years, and more recently began teaching soundtrack classes on Zoom, ranging from Harry Potter to The Sound of Music to a series on Jane Austen adaptations.

F4. “My Name Was Norval”: Douglas, Elocution, and Acting in Mansfield Park

Susan Allen Ford, Delta State University

When Tom Bertram defends himself by reciting the beginning of a speech from John Home’s tragedy Douglas, he points us not only to that play but also to a feature of the Bertram brothers’ education: recitation. At this moment of moral crisis in Mansfield Park, why should we think about this play? this speech? Why might Austen remind us of the elocution movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries? Answering these questions highlights another way that the artistic culture of her youth and adulthood saturates Austen’s fiction—and how it penetrates other aspects of her characters’ world.

Susan Allen Ford has been Editor of Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line since 2006 and is a Life Member of JASNA. She is Professor of English Emerita at Delta State University and has published essays on Jane Austen and her contemporaries, the gothic, and Shakespeare. She is slowly working on a book on what Austen’s characters are reading, Jane Austen’s ‘Great Readers’: When Characters Read Books.

F5. “Here, There, and Everywhere”: Jane Austen in the Contemporary Popular Arts

Laura Dabundo, Kennesaw State University

The title is from Sanditon, which recently saw an unhappy televised life. That’s one instance of what has been called Austen’s inspired afterlife. Legions of imitators, devotees, and imaginists (borrowing Emma Woodhouse’s self-description) extensively expand the canon in six categories: sequels and prequels; retellings of the originals; novels in which Austen or her works are plot devices; filmed adaptations; theatrical presentations; and creative nonfiction. The discussion is representative and descriptive, suggesting how the Austen milieu, expanding outward from the creations of a spinster in the countryside of early nineteenth-century England, became a veritable industrial complex and conquered the world.

Laura Dabundo is Professor of English, Emerita, at Kennesaw State University. Austen has long been a focus of her teaching and scholarship. Her works include the first Encyclopedia of Romanticism, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley and Their Sisters, The Marriage of Faith: Christianity in Jane Austen and William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen: A Companion (2021). She has presented papers in England, Ireland, Canada, and the USA, including a JASNA AGM and a conference at Chawton House.

F6. Contemplating Beauty: Jane Austen’s Women as Connoisseurs

Natasha Duquette, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College, Ontario

In her 1778 novel Evelina, Frances Burney satirically connects the discourse of taste to men’s voyeuristic practices via reference to an aristocratic lord as a connoisseur of beauty. In Jane Austen’s novels, especially in Pride and Prejudice, Austen flips this dynamic by depicting women’s contemplation of landscapes, art, and male countenances, with the focus of a connoisseur. This session will illustrate how in Austen’s first three novels women’s connoisseurship progresses in stages: through familiarity with familial art, to contemplation of formal portraiture, and finally to art collection. We will also analyze scenes of women’s connoisseurship in select Austen film adaptations.

Dr. Natasha Duquette is Academic Dean and Professor of Literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is author of 30-Day Journey with Jane Austen (Fortress Press, 2020) and co-editor, with Dr. Elisabeth Lenckos, of Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, Harmony (Lehigh University Press, 2013). She has authored multiple articles for Persuasions and has presented at AGMs in Chicago, Portland, Montreal, Huntington Beach, and Williamsburg.