Cooper Panels at the ALA Conference

The James Fenimore Cooper Society has organized a three-panel paper at each of the American Literature Association’s annual Conferences since 1990. Beginning in 1993, most of these papers have been published as James Fenimore Cooper Society Miscellaneous Papers, and we are happy to include most of them on our website.

In transcribing papers, obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected, but spelling and grammar have been left as the authors intended. Only rarely have direct quotations been checked and/or corrected. Illustrations in the original have been retained; occasionally new illustrations have been substituted or added. Tables and charts may have been modified to suit the website format.

Institutional affiliations are recorded as of the time the paper was given.

1990 ALA Conference — San Diego, May 1990

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Lapp, Peter C. (Queen’s University), Cooper’s Doubloon: The Domains of Language in Cooper’s Major Works.
  2. Morton, Richard (McMaster University), Perception and Reality: The Novelist, the Deerslayer and the Reader . Deerslayer deals with surface appearances and hidden realities.
  3. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Cooper Revises the First Great American Novel. Cooper’s careful revisions of The Spy over many years.

1991 ALA Conference — Washington, DC, May 1991

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Bailey, Brigitte (University of New Hampshire), “Like Another Wife” : Cooper, Cole, and the Italian Landscape [revised version published in David C. Miller, ed., American Iconology: New Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature, Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 92-111, as “The Protected Witness: Cole, Cooper and the Tourist’s View of the Italian Landscape.”].
  2. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Cooper, Hennepin, and the Inland Sea.
  3. Rust, Richard D., (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), The Art of The Pathfinder. The novel as a carefully crafted work of art.

1992 ALA Conference — San Diego, May 1992

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Engell, John (San Jose State University), Neither Book nor Moccasin: Reading Sound in The Last of the Mohicans.
  2. Gladsky, Thomas S. (Central Missouri State University), Cooper’s Other Americans: Cultural Diversity and American Homogeneity. Cooper shared many of the Nativist, anti-foreigner, views of his time.
  3. Wallace, James D. (Boston College), Cooper and Slavery. Complexity of Cooper’s anti-slavery views, as shown in Satanstoe.

1993 ALA Conference — Baltimore, May 1993

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Wish-ton-Wish: Muck or Melancholy. Sources of The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish and why Cooper called the whip-poor-will a wish-ton-wish, which is a plains Indian name for prairie dog.
  2. Kalayjian, Patricia Larson (California State University, Dominguez Hills), Cooper and Sedgwick: Rivalry or Respect? Relations between Cooper and Catharine Maria Sedgwick.
  3. Salamon, Linda B. (Essex Community College), “A Life in the Woods” : Failure of Leadership in The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish, The Pioneers, and The Crater. Religion and historical process in Cooper’s views of leadership.

1994 ALA Conference — San Diego, June 1994

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Bagby, George F. (Hampden-Sydney College), Kindred Spirits: Cooper and Thoreau. Similarities in ethical, political, economic, and environmental spheres.
  2. Michaelsen, Scott (University of Texas, El Paso), The Color Line, Beavers and the Destructuring of White Identity in Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. Complexities of color between “black” beavers and bears, “white” Europeans, and “red” Indians.
  3. Franklin, Wayne (Northeastern University), Cooper and New York’s Dutch Heritage. Cooper’s exceptional understanding of New York Dutch rural building practices.

1995 ALA Conference — Baltimore, May 1995

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Cooper, Bancroft, and the Voorhees Court Martial. Cooper’s involvement in the 1845 Voorhees court martial spurred the founding of the Naval Academy, but disillusioned Cooper with the Navy.
  2. Schramer, James J. (Youngstown State University), “A Bold Stroke against the Wilderness”: Wyandotté and Cooper’s Critique of the Jeffersonian Ideology of Domestic Production . The failure of Jeffersonian agrarianism in Wyandotté, and in Cooper’s America.
  3. Starobin, Christina (Ramapo College), Reading Cooper. How a teacher learned to enjoy Cooper — and to impart that enjoyment to students.

1996 ALA Conference — San Diego, June 1996

Chair: Deborah J. Dietrich (California State University at Fullerton)

  1. Axelrad, Allan M. (California State University at Fullerton), Cooper, Aristocracy, and Capitalism. Cooper not only despised “aristocracy”, but saw it in the growing commercial/political oligarchy of American capitalism.
  2. Mazel, David (Louisiana State University), Shooting as Performative Speech in The Last of the Mohicans. The “speech” of Hawkeye’s gun likened to the Spanish Requeirimiento placing American Indians under the Spanish crown.
  3. MacDougall, Hugh C. (James Fenimore Cooper Society), First and Last Tales: “Imagination” and “The Lake Gun”. Introduction to two little-known Cooper short stories.

1997 ALA Conference — Baltimore, May 1997

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Dekker, George G. (Stanford University), Border and Frontier: Tourism in Scott’s Guy Mannering and Cooper’s The Pioneers. Two approaches to the “tourist” and cultural exoticism.
  2. Ganter, Granville (City University of New York), Battles of Rhetoric: Oratory and Identity in Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. Use of “Indian rhetoric” by Cooper, and by Indians themselves.
  3. Wallace, James D. (Boston College), Cooper on Corporal Punishment. Flogging, whether at sea or of a slave, is morally corrupting to the flogger.

1998 ALA Conference — San Diego, May 1998

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Mann, Barbara (University of Toledo), Man with a Cross: Hawkeye Was a “Half-Breed”. Cooper intended Natty Bumppo as being of mixed European/Indian race.
  2. Schramer, James J. (Youngstown State University), “A Union of Art and Nature”: Cooper and American Landscape Aesthetics. The Coopers (James and Susan), landscape, and gardens.
  3. Shour, Nancy C. (Independent Scholar), Heirs to the Wild and Distant Past: Landscape and Historiography in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers. Cooper’s landscapes record a past to be preserved for coming generations.

1999 ALA Conference — Baltimore, May 1999

Chair: Robert D. Madison (United States Naval Academy)

  1. Kalter, Susan (University of California at San Diego), The Last of the Mohicans as Contemporary Theory: James Fenimore Cooper’s Philosophy of Language . Cooper assumes a linguistic hierarchy reflecting mental and political power.
  2. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Submission and Restoration in The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish. Historical background to the novel.
  3. Person, Leland S. (University of Alabama), Masculinities on the Warpath: Gender and Race in The Deerslayer. [not available for publication here]

2000 ALA Conference — Long Beach, California, May 2000

Chair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

  1. Dekker, George (Stanford University), Romantic Tourism, Fictionality, and The Water Witch [not available for publication here]
  2. Harthorn, Steven P. (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), “Few Get as Far South as I Have Been”: Stimson in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Sea Lions. The annoyingly pious Stimson is essential to Cooper’s religious message.
  3. Owen, William (Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto), Natty Changes His Will: Legacies and Beneficiaries in The Deerslayer and The Prairie. Why Natty leaves his possessions to Hard-Heart in The Prairie, but retroactively makes Chingachgook’s bride his heir in The Deerslayer.

001 ALA Conference — Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 2001

hair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

002 ALA Conference — Long Beach, California, May 2002

hair: Hugh C. MacDougall (James Fenimore Cooper Society)

003 ALA Conference — Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 2003

hair: Rochelle Johnston (Albertson College of Idaho)

004 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, May 2004

hair: John Engell (San Jose State University)

005 ALA Conference — Boston, Massachusetts, May 2005

hair: Lance Schachterle (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

006 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, May 2006

hair: Matthew Wynn Sivils (Oklahoma State University)

007 ALA Conference — Boston, Massachusetts, May 2007

hair: Matthew Wynn Sivils (Westminster College)

008 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, May 2008

anel 1 (General Topics)

Chair: Signe Wegener (University of Georgia)

Panel 2 (Cooper’s Indians)

Chair: Barbara Mann (University of Toledo)

  1. Murray, Keat (Lehigh University). Indians and Dissembling Gentlemen in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers. The real John Heckewelder is not the idealist figure of Cooper’s fancy, and Cooper’s Pioneers is not a classless society.
  2. Schwartz, Rebecca Ayres (University of Delaware). Historicism and Nostalgia in Thomas Cole’s Last of the Mohicans. Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans and Thomas Cole’s four paintings based on it use nostalgia to create a sense of national identity.

009 ALA Conference — Boston, Massachusetts, May 2009

anel 1 (Fenimore Cooper: Fresh Biographical and Historical Contexts)

Chair: Lance Schachterle (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

  • ranklin, Wayne (University of Connecticut). Cooper in the Netherlands. Cooper’s Visits to the Netherlands and Belgium (1828, 1830, 1832) and his writings about New Netherland, especially The Water-Witch (1830).
  • Madison, Robert D. (University of Arkansas). Cooper and Nuttall: the Course of Empire. The eccentric naturalist Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859) as a source for Cooper’s The Prairie and its Obed Bat.
  • Scannavini, Anna (Università dell’Aquila). Typographies of Writing in The Bravo. Cooper’s understanding and use of pre-unification Italian dialects, including that of Venice, in the novel.

Panel 2 (Talking about Fenimore Cooper with Undergraduates)

Chair: Signe Wegener (University of Georgia)

  1. Elliott, James P. (Clark University). The Children of Natty Bumppo: Undergraduate Responses to Cooper. Teaching Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans as novel and (Michael Mann) film.
  2. Walker, Jeffrey (Oklahoma State University). Selling Cooper, Selling Chicago; or, Selling Mohicans as Bestseller . Teaching Cooper: Going beyond race, gender, and ethnicity to consider writing, publishing, distributing, and reading novels in the 19ᵗʰ century.
  3. Mann, Barbara Alice (University of Toledo). Leather-Stocking Misegenation. Teaching Cooper: the Leather-Stocking Tales were denounced as “dirty books” violating sexual, racial, and religious taboos; why not teach them that way?

010 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, May 2010

anel 1 (James Fenimore Cooper: Nation, Law, and the Sea)

Chair: Allan Axelrad (Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton)

Panel 2 (James Fenimore Cooper: Sources and Silences)

Chair: Matthew Wynn Sivils (Iowa State University)

  1. Franklin, Wayne (University of Connecticut). Cooper, Bacchus, and Veveyk: Sourcing The Headsman. [not available for publication here]
  2. Shapiro, Joe (Stanford University). The Rights of Man to Property: Land, Labor and Class in James Fenimore Cooper. [not available for publication here]
  3. Wegener, Signe (University of Georgia). What’s in an Accent? Cooper’s “Vanishing Scotsmen” in the Leather-Stocking Tales . Cooper’s minimal but changing use of the Scottish accent, as ethnic and class indicator.

011 ALA Conference — Boston, Massachusetts, May 2011

anel 1

Chair: Matthew Wynn Sivils (Iowa State University)

Panel 2

Chair: Lance Schachterle (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

  1. Iglesias, Luis A. (University of Southern Mississippi). Race and the Sea: The Black Sailor in Cooper’s Sea Novels. [not available for publication here]
  2. Sillin, Sarah (University of Maryland). The Politics of International Friendship in James Fenimore Cooper’s Novels. Cooper’s approval of sympathetic friendship across cultural and national lines.
  3. Sivils, Matthew Wynn (Iowa State University). Cooper’s Gothic Topography: The Blood Stained Land of The Last of the Mohicans. [not available for publication here]

012 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, May 2012

anel 1: (Anxieties, Appetites, and Cultural Obsessions in the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper)

Chair: Steven P. Harthorn (Williams Baptist College)

  • ann, Barbara Alice (University of Toledo). James Fenimore Cooper and ‘The Pledge.’ Cooper — who liked his glass — fights off the “tea-totallers” of his time.
  • Wegener, Signe O. (University of Georgia) Sustenance and Colonization: Fenimore Cooper’s Culinary Excesses.” The Crater steadfastly argues that agricultural products promote and reinforce trade, colonization, and religious conversion.”
  • Duquès, Matthew (Vanderbilt University) New Spanish Studies in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Prairie. [not available for publication here]

Panel 2: (Transnational and Transhistorical Perspectives on James Fenimore Cooper’s Early Fiction)

Chair: Rochelle Raineri Zuck (University of Minnesota Duluth)

  1. Crane, James (The College of St. Scholastica). Love and Liberty: A Transatlantic Adaptation of The Pilot. Edward Ball (1792-1873), as “Fitzball” a prolific writer of English melodrama, transforms the novel into a highly successful musical burletta for a patriotic British audience.
  2. Scannavini, Anna (Università dell’Aquila), The Long Shadow of The Pioneers (as an Environmental Text) . English laws protecting game (for the privileged) as a background to the novel.
  3. Rosenthall, Karen (Rice University). Exploring the Alliances of Political Economy: The Financial Panic of 1819 and The Last of the Mohicans. Deeply affected by the financial collapse of 1819, Cooper looks to the past for guidance as to the future.

Panel 3: (Writing the Lives of Three Fenimores: Confluences of History, Culture, and Literature)

Chair: Stephen Carl Arch (Michigan State University)

  1. Franklin, Wayne (University of Connecticut) Crowd-Sourcing a Life: James Fenimore and the Other Coopers. [not available for publication here]
  2. Johnson, Rochelle (The College of Idaho). The Messy Nexus of Racism, Religion, and Philanthropy: Representing Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Labors . [not available for publication here]
  3. Rioux, Anne Boyd (University of New Orleans). Unearthing the Author Through History: Writing the Life of Constance Fenimore Woolson. [not available for publication here]

Other ALA panels (Native American Literature and Print Culture)

Wallace, David Shane (American University in Bulgaria). Copway’s Homage to Cooper: Redefining the ‘Vanishing American,’. George Copway (1818-1869), a traveled and literary Ojibwa Indian, honors the elderly Cooper.

Other ALA panels (Forms of Transnational Literature)

Rumbinas, Barbara & Zygmunt Mazur, (Jagiellonian University, Poland). Adam Mickiewicz and James Fenimore Cooper: A Reappraisal. Explores the friendship between Cooper and the Polish poet and nationalist Adam Mickiewicz.

013 ALA Conference — Boston, Massachusetts, May 2013

anel 1: (James Fenimore Cooper and Spirituality/Religion)

Chair: Lance Schachterle (Worcester Polytechnic Insitute)

  • eprnik, Michal (Palacký University, Olomouc), How Much “Moravian” is Natty Bumppo?. His relationship to the Moravian Church in which he was reared increases from The Pioneers, through The Prairie, The Prairie, The Pathfinder, and The Deerslayer.
  • Mann, Barbara Alice (University of Toledo), James Fenimore Cooper and God. Spiritual but critical of organized sects, as demonstrated in The Redskins, The Wing-and-Wing, The Crater, and The Deerslayer.
  • Madison, Robert D. (University of Arkansas), Oak Openings: A Christian Novel. Of Cooper’s works, uniquely based on “conversion through the witness of martyrdom”; comparisons with The Sea Lions, The Wing-and-Wing, and The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish.

Panel 2: (James Fenimore Cooper and History)

Chair: Rochelle Raineri Zuck (University of Minnesota Duluth)

  1. Iglesias, Luis (University of Southern Mississippi), Narrating History in Precaution: The Genre of Masculine Sentimentality . Forecasting Cooper’s later fiction, Denbigh is both a man of feeling and a man of action.
  2. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Patriotism and Caste in The Chainbearer: Cooper’s Fifth Revolutionary War Novel . [not available for publication here]
  3. Ryan, Susan M. (University of Louisville), Cooper’s Slump: Property, Reputation, and the Trials of National Authorship. [not available for publication here]

014 ALA Conference — Washington, D.C., May 2014

anel 1: (James Fenimore Cooper and Politics)

Chair: Luis A. Iglesias (University of Southern Mississippi)

Panel 2: (James Fenimore Cooper’s International Dimensions)

Chair: Rochelle Raineri Zuck (University of Minnesota Duluth)

  1. Betjemann, Peter (Oregon State University), Framing the Transnational Subject in Cooper: Thomas Cole’s 1827 Paintings after The Last of the Mohicans. [not available for publication here]
  2. Genova, Thomas (University of Minnesota, Morris), Family Entanglements: Cooper in Nineteenth-Century South America. How Juan León Mera’s Cumandá reconfigures Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans to serve the author’s own nation-building purposes in Ecuador.
  3. Rumbinas, Barbara and Zymunt Mazur, (Jagiellonian University), Adam Mickiewicz: A Catalyst for James Fenimore Cooper’s Support for Polish Independence. Influence of Mickiewicz on Cooper.
  4. Scannavini, Anna (Università dell’Aquila), Cooper’s Italian Seas. The varied significance to Cooper of the seas around Italy.

015 ALA Conference — Boston, Mass., May 2015

anel 1: (Cooper and Children’s/Young Adult Literature)

Chair: Keat Murray (California University of Pennsylvania)

Panel 2: (Transnational Cooper)

Chair: Lance Schachterle (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

  1. Mann, Barbara Alice (University of Toledo), “Riotous Living”: James Fenimore Cooper, Accused Aristocrat. Cooper: called “aristocratic” in America; an “ill-mannered rube” in Europe.
  2. Murray, Keat (California University of Pennsylvania), “Singularly Situated” in Antarctica: Transatlantic Imaginaries in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Monikins. A novel that deserves more critical attention.
  3. Rezek, Joseph (Boston University), Bentley’s Standard Novelist: James Fenimore Cooper. [not available for publication here]
  4. Scannavini, Anna (Università dell’Aquila), Cooper’s and Hawthorne’s Italian Landscapes. [not available for publication here]

016 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, June 2016

anel: Cooper and Visual Culture

Chair: Anna Scannavini (Università dell’Aquila)

017 ALA Conference — Boston, Mass., May 25-28, 2017

anel: Style and Genre in James Fenimore Cooper’s Novels

Chair: Signe Wegener (University of Georgia)

Panel: James Fenimore Cooper and American Women Writers

Chair: Luis A. Iglesias (University of Southern Mississippi)

  1. Avila, Beth (Independent Scholar), “She Never Became What She Once Was”: Cooper, Sedgwick, and the American Pirate Story . Cooper’s The Red Rover and Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie (both 1827).
  2. Clark, Beverly Lyon (Wheaton College, Mass.), Rethinking Cora and Alice, from Dime Novels to Debby Barnes. Early “Beadle’s Dime Novel” Indian captivity tales (Ann Sophia Stehens’ Malaeska the Indian Wife (1860), Mahaska, The Indian Princess (1863), and The Indian Queen (1864), and Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s The Sagamore of Saco (1868), compared with Constance Lindsay Skinner’s modern Debby Barnes, Trader (1932), and with Cooper.
  3. Kadish, Philip (Hunter College, CUNY), Race-Science Rhetoric as Political Panacea: James Fenimore Cooper’s Influence on Harriet Beecher Stowe . Cooper’s adoption and criticism of racial theories of Buffon and Condorcet, in The Pioneers (1823), Notions of the Americans (1828) and The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish (1829).

Panel: Form and Globalization in James Fenimore Cooper’s Novels

Chair: Anna Scannavini (Universitè dell’Aquila)

  1. Garcia, John J. (California State University, Northridge), A Matter of “Improvements”; Cooper, Race, and Manuscript Alterations in the Transatlantic Revision of The Spy. Changes Cooper made in the 1831 British edition, notably concerning the Black character Caesar Thompson.
  2. Kundu, Gautam (Georgia Southern University), The Twin Caves at Glans Falls: Gothic Techniques in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. Gothic characteristics of the cave scenes in Chapters 5-9.
  3. Wegener, Signe O. (University of Georgia), A Brave New World: Wilderness Dreams and Female Empowerment from Vineland to the Pacific. Strong women, not just in Cooper, but in earlier international writings including: Freydis in the Icelandic Saga of Erick the Red (ca. 1000); Queen Calafia in Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, Las Sergas de Explandián (1510); Unca in Unca Eliza Winkfield (pseud.), The Female American (1767); and “The Lady” in Abraham Panther (pseud.), The Panther Captivity (1787).

018 ALA Conference — San Francisco, California, May 24-27, 2018

anel: The Frontier in American Literary Imagination

Chair: Luis A. Iglesias (University of Southern Mississippi)

  1. Grunes, Marissa (Harvard University), Constructing the Frontier: Natty’s Cabin as Lyrical Trope [abstract].
  2. Arch, Stephen Carl (Michigan State University), Oak Openings and the Michigan Frontier in the Antebellum American Literary Imagination.
  3. Williams, Jericho (Spartanburg Methodist College), Guide (Me) Dog: A New Frontier of Companionship in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Prairie.

Panel: James Fenimore Cooper and the Winds of Change

Chair: Stephen Arch (Michigan State University)

  1. Dostal, Michelle (Oklahoma State University), “Blood Purer and Richer”: The Disruptive Presence of Cora in The Last of the Mohicans.
  2. Mann, Barbara Alice (University of Toledo), “Cup and Saucer” Divorce: Cooper and Women’s Rights.
  3. McWilliams, Ryan (University of California, Berkeley), The Terror in Templeton: Burkean Communities in The Pioneers.
  4. Yueling, Ma (South China University of Technology), Cooper and Democratic Elitism.

019 ALA Conference — Boston, Massachusetts, May 23-26, 2019

anel: James Fenimore Cooper and the Literary Age of Jackson

  1. Black, Christopher Allan (Auburn University),  Benevolent Colonization or Subjugation of the Noble Savage? James Fenimore Cooper and William Gilmore Simms Debate Indian Removal in the Literary Age of Jackson.
  2. Christophersen, Bill (Independent Scholar),  The “Amaranthine Flower” of Virtue: Cooper’s Pathfinder as Democratic Trail-Blazer
  3. Rumbinas, Barbara (Independent Scholar), James Fenimore Cooper on Manipulation, Corruption, and Enfranchisement in the Jacksonian Age

anel: Reading for Enchantment: Reading James Fenimore Cooper and His Contemporaries

  1. Begg, Leah A. (University of Connecticut),  “I See Nothing but Land and Water; and a Lovely Scene It Is”: Nature’s Enchantment in The Last of the Mohicans
  2. Franklin, Wayne (University of Connecticut),  The Prairie, Space, and Aesthetic Pleasure.
  3. Iglesias, Luis A. (University of Southern Mississippi),  Cooper, Cole and the Melancholy Sublime