CFP from the JER: Joy and Pleasure in Difficult Times

The Journal of the Early Republic invites proposals for a forum of short (2000 word) essays on how diverse people in the era of the early American republic took pleasure and found joy in little things. As literary scholar Tara Bynum has recently written, each of us “from time to time (albeit not always) feels good.” As historians, we are interested in crises and suffering, but sometimes we lose sight of the resilience of the human spirit. People’s lives in the past, as today, were complicated, and they found room for what Bynum refers to as “quotidian simple pleasures that make life easier.”

We are interested in various kinds of pleasure: sensory, emotional, culinary, sexual. We particularly seek essays that focus on discrete moments, microhistories or vignettes of pleasure, that illuminate how someone in the past found joy. We are hoping for essays that examine the diverse communities that composed the world of the early republic and that historicize the experience of, or the pursuit of, pleasure or joy, including social histories and the histories of children.

We anticipate presenting first drafts of the forum at the OAH annual conference in April 2025 as a sponsored session, after which they will be considered for publication as a forum in the Journal of the Early Republic.

This forum is edited by Kellie Carter Jackson, Ronald Angelo Johnson, and Johann Neem. Proposals should be sent to by March 1, 2024. Proposals should be limited to a short 1-2 paragraph description of your anticipated essay and a short (1-3 page) C.V. For more information, please contact the Journal’s editors Ronald Angelo Johnson ( or Johann Neem (

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *