Call for Papers

Through this Call for Papers, the JASNA Ohio North Coast Region invites submission of proposals for breakout sessions at the 2024 AGM, and applications for the New Voices Breakout Speaker grant.

The AGM theme is “Austen, Annotated: Jane Austen’s Literary, Political, and Cultural Origins.”

Although for much of her life Jane Austen lived quietly in rural country villages in southern England, she was not disconnected from the world. She read widely, attended plays in London, played and transcribed new musical pieces, and was surrounded by a network of family and friends who shared information about the world with her.

In her novels, Austen’s chosen art form, she engages with the changing ideas and current events of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Her precision is evident in her surviving manuscripts, but some of her meaning may be lost to us today. Although the in-jokes and references to current events and public figures would have been obvious to those of her contemporaries who were not “dull elves,” modern readers rely on annotations and the work of cultural historians to plumb the depth of Austen’s genius.

At this AGM we will focus on Austen’s world and how it influenced her novels, juvenilia, and letters. While we only know with certainty some few of the books, plays, letters, and newspapers she read, we also know there must have been so much more she absorbed from the rich, revolutionary culture in which she lived. Her family were great novel-readers, and her own novels offer clues about the fiction and other genres that influenced her. She grew up in a house that doubled as a school preparing boys for university, with a father writing sermons and managing a farm. She had brothers in the Navy, at university, at least one taking the Grand Tour of continental Europe, and one in banking. She knew about war, enslavement, and revolutions that toppled monarchies. She benefited from discoveries in science and changes in commerce and industry. She was almost certainly exposed to new ideas about the role of women in society.

We will gather to explore Jane Austen’s origin story: where she came from, the world of ideas in which her genius was steeped, and the revolutionary world that inspired her to lead her own revolution through her chosen art form, the novel.

General Guidelines and Expectations

Every year, JASNA selects intriguing speakers from academia and a wide variety of other backgrounds. As the AGM is JASNA's premier event, we seek speakers who not only have demonstrated expertise in their subject areas, but have experience presenting their findings in a lively and engaging manner.

An audiovisual setup (microphone, projector, and screen; additional equipment may be available upon request) will be available, and we strongly encourage presenters to use visuals and to prepare notes or a script designed specifically for delivery to a live audience.

Breakout presentations are typically 30 to 40 minutes long, followed by a short question-and-answer period. We are open to a variety of formats: traditional presentations, panel sessions, debates, moderated discussions, and others may be proposed. Regardless of format, breakout sessions must be related to the conference theme.

Except in exceptional circumstances, speakers shall prepare an essay version of their presentation for consideration for publication in JASNA's journals, Persuasions and Persuasions Online.

More information about expectations, as well as presentation tips and sample proposals are available from the JASNA Breakout Sessions Advisor at

Submission Instructions

For the 2024 AGM, breakout proposals will be collected by means of an easy-to-use Google Form. You will be asked to provide your contact information and other background on the form (no cover letter is necessary), and you may either type in your abstract and brief biographical statement or upload files with these elements.

Click here to submit your breakout session proposal.

The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2023. Selections will be announced in early 2024.

New Voices Breakout Speaker Application Process

JASNA AGM teams have always sought to include new voices and fresh perspectives in our speaker lineups. To support this goal, one first-time AGM speaker will be recognized as the 2024 JASNA New Voices Breakout Speaker. Selection will be based on the strength of the breakout session proposal, with additional consideration of a short personal statement. The selected speaker will receive complimentary conference registration, a $300 travel grant, and recognition in the conference program and website.

New Voices Breakout Speaker Application Instructions

Anyone who has not spoken previously at an AGM may apply. If you would like to be considered, please prepare and submit your breakout session proposal and cover letter as noted above, by using this link to the Google Form. On the form, you will be asked to provide a brief personal statement (100-word maximum) describing how your participation, or your topic, would support JASNA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion at its conferences. For this purpose, we are using a broad, multidimensional definition of diversity and inclusion and are encouraging applicants to frame their personal statements in any way they wish. Age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, language, and other factors may be included; applicants who have occupations or hobbies that provide a distinctive insight into Austen’s work may discuss them; or, in cases where the topic of a presentation addresses diversity and inclusion directly, that may be highlighted. (Any one of these factors is sufficient; applicants do not need to try to address them all.) The most important thing is to prepare a top-notch proposal on a fresh topic that aligns with the conference theme, as selection committees will evaluate abstracts in a blind process before personal statements are reviewed.

Applicants may have attended past AGMs but must not have served as an AGM speaker previously. All breakout speakers must be members of JASNA in good standing at the time of AGM registration, but JASNA membership is not required to submit a proposal.

JASNA will evaluate applications alongside breakout session proposals November through December 2023 and announce a selection in early 2024. Strength of the breakout session proposal and its contribution to the conference theme (“Austen, Annotated: Jane Austen’s Literary, Political, and Cultural Origins”) is the primary consideration, with the personal statement considered next.

Click here to submit your New Voices Breakout Speaker grant application.

Amy Patterson
Jennifer Weinbrecht
2024 AGM Co-Coordinators