James Fenimore Cooper Society Website
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SUNY Oneonta Cooper Seminars

Updated March 2017

Return to Articles & Papers

Since 1978, the State University of New York College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta) has sponsored a biennial Seminar/Conference on James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art. Seminar/Conferences have been held in June or July of 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Originally conceived by SUNY Oneonta History Professor and Dean Carey W. Brush, the Seminar was coordinated by English Professors George A. Test (SUNY Oneonta) from 1978-1991, James A. Wallace (Boston College) from 1993-1995, James Devlin (SUNY Oneonta) from 1997-2001, Richard E. Lee (SUNY, Oneonta) from 2003-2007, Roger Hecht (SUNY Oneonta) since 2009.

Contributors have included most American and many overseas Cooper specialists. Many scholars commencing their serious study of Cooper, and a number of non-academics, have also participated. The papers from each of the Seminars have been published by SUNY Oneonta, and are now for the first time made more widely available by publication on the Cooper Society website. Papers have been processed by Hugh C. MacDougall, Society Webmaster.

Since 1999 the Seminar/Conference has been opened to papers about Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894), James Fenimore Cooper's daughter and an important author in her own right.

The Society would like to express its gratitude to the State University of New York College at Oneonta for authorizing our reproduction of papers presented at the Cooper Seminars.

The papers are archived here chronologically, but may also be accessed through the finding aids at Articles & Papers. In transcribing papers from the original published version, obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected, but spelling and grammar have been left as the authors intended. Only very rarely have direct quotations been checked and/or corrected. Tables and charts have been modified to suit the website form. Illustrations in the original have been retained (but often modified as to size and placement) when discussed in the text, or when especially germane to the discussion; occasionally new illustrations have been substituted or added.

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

For information on this and on back issues, write to:

Professor Roger W. Hecht
English Department
SUNY College at Oneonta
Oneonta, NY 13280

1978 1st Seminar/Conference

  1. Beard, James Franklin (Clark University), Introduction. Introduction to the first Cooper Seminar; and to the Seminar series as a whole. [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Elliott, James P. (Clark University), Editing Cooper's Works. The New York State University Press "Cooper Edition". [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. House, Kay Seymour (San Francisco State University), Cooper's Females. Cooper reflects American literary conventions of his time, but sometimes pushes their limits. [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Larkin, F. Daniel (SUNY Oneonta), Cooper Country.Local historical background to Cooper's life and work. [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Madison, Robert D. (Northwestern University), Getting Under Way with James Fenimore Cooper. Some knowledge of sailing ship terminology will enhance enjoyment of the sea novels. [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Philbrick, Thomas L. (University of Pittsburgh), Cooper Country in Fiction. Significance of place in Cooper's fiction, especially in the four "Otsego novels." [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Ringe, Donald A. (University of Kentucky), Cooper's Mode of Expression. Cooper's complex descriptive genius, exemplified in Lionel Lincoln, Wyandotté and especially The Pioneers. [1978 SUNY SEMINAR].
  8. Williams, Kennedy Jr. (University of Kentucky), Cooper's Use of American History. Especially in Lionel Lincoln and The Last of the Mohicans. [1978 SUNY SEMINAR]

1979 2nd Seminar/Conference

  1. Fiedler, Leslie A. (SUNY Buffalo), James Fenimore Cooper: The Problem of the Good Bad Writer. Cooper's "schlock" reveals American culture's racist, sexist, imperialist, and genocidal underside. [1979 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Kelly, William P. (Queens College, City University of New York), History, Language, and The Leatherstocking Tales. Historiography of later Tales contrasted with that of earler ones, and with Scott's Waverley novels. [1979 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Peck, H. Daniel (University of California at Santa Barbara), Place into Space: from The Pioneers to The Deerslayer. Otsego Lake as the center of Cooper's imagination. [1979 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Pickering, James A. (Michigan State University), Cooper's Otsego Heritage: The Sources of The Pioneers. Sources in Cooperstown local history. [1979 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Starna, William A. (SUNY Oneonta), Cooper's Indians: A Critique. Ethnohistorical background to the New York Indians of the Leatherstocking Tales. [1979 SUNY SEMINAR]

1980 3rd Seminar/Conference

  1. Ashley, Leonard R.N. (Brooklyn College, City University of New York), The Onomastics of Cooper's Verbal Art in The Deerslayer and Elsewhere. Conscious artistry in Cooper's use of names compensates for his other literary faults. [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Denne, Constance Ayers (Baruch College, City University of New York), Cooper in Italy. Background, composition, and reception of Gleanings in Europe: Italy. [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Denne, Constance Ayers (Baruch College, City University of New York), Cooper's Use of Setting in the European Trilogy. Settings in The Bravo, The Heidenmauer, and The Headsman as artistic keys to Cooper's meaning. [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Mani, Lakshmi (Rochester Institute of Technology), James Fenimore Cooper and the Apocalpyse. End-of-the world motifs in the Leatherstocking Tales and The Crater [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Philbrick, Thomas L. (University of Pittsburgh), Cooper in Europe: The Travel Books. Background to the five travel books. [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Walker, Warren S. (Texas Tech University), Cooper's Fictional Use of the Oral Tradition. Cooper's use of folk speech, folk types, and folk-lore, with a detailed, annotated bibliography. [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Walker, Warren S. (Texas Tech University), Cooper's Yorkers and Yankees in the Jeffersonian Garden. A Jeffersonian agrarian democrat confronts the commercial Yankee invasion of New York. [1980 SUNY SEMINAR]

1982 4th Seminar/Conference

  1. House, Kay S. (San Francisco State University), Cooper's Adaptations of Romance Conventions and Structures. Cooper understood and used, but also adapted, the long-standing traditions of the Romance. [1982 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Madison, Robert D. (Northwestern University), Cooper's Place in American Naval History. Importance of his History of the Navy of the United States of America. [1982 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Madison, Robert D. (Northwestern University), with Mary K. Madison (Northeastern University), Guides in the Wilderness: An Extract, Glossary, and Chart of Cooper's Fictional and Factual Boat Journeys on Lake Ontario.. Cruise of the Scud in The Pathfinder compared, in a chart, with the route taken by Cooper from Oswego to Niagara in 1809, as recorded in his biography of fellow-officer Melancthon Woolsey. With a glossary of marine terms used in The Pathfinder by Mary K. Madison. [1982 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Cooper's Attitude toward England. Cooper's complex reactions, reflected in Notions of the Americans, Gleanings in Europe: England, and, much more ambiguously, in his fiction. [1982 SUNY SEMINAR]

1984 5th Seminar/Conference

  1. Adams, Charles H. (University of Virginia), "The Guardian of the Law"; George Washington's Role in The Spy. Conflict in Cooper between law and higher principle, especially as seen in The Spy. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Alpern, Will J. (Prudential-Bache Securities), Indians, Sources, Critics. Cooper's sources, especially Moravian missionaries to the Mohegan/Mohicans of Connecticut/New York; efforts to discredit Cooper by Louis Cass and Mark Twain. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Egger, Irmgard (University of Vienna), Cooper and German Readers. In reading Cooper Germans could dream of a freedom not found in daily life, as German children still do; but his socio/political criticism has been ignored. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Egger, Irmgard (University of Vienna), The Leatherstocking Tales as Adapted for German Juvenile Readers. Making Cooper fit -- literarily, morally, and politically -- for German youth. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Kowalewski, Michael (Rutgers University), Fictions of Violence in The Deerslayer. Cooper's use of language, as word music in the tradition of the romance, should not be judged in terms of literary realism. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Cooperstown's Contribution to Cooper Scholarship. Cooperstown's contributions to growth of Cooper appreciation. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Cooper's Columbus. Irving had already written a definitive narrative of Columbus' voyage; in Mercedes of Castile, Cooper tried and failed to tell the story in dialogue. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) Textual Editing and the Cooper Editions. Problems of editing, exemplified in The Pioneers, The Deerslayer, and especially The Spy. [1984 SUNY SEMINAR]

1986 6th Seminar/Conference

Dedicated to Martha Chambers (1925-1986). Teacher, Librarian, Archivist,
Enthusiastic Supporter of the Cooper Seminars

  1. House, Kay S. (San Francisco State University), Cooper as Historian. The Pilot understood John Paul Jones better than Samuel Morison; The Last of the Mohicans depicts the Iroquois better than Colden, Parkman or Morgan. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Person, Leland S., Jr. (Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne) The Leatherstocking Tradition in American Fiction: or, The Sources of Tom Sawyer: A Descriptive Essay. The source of Tom Sawyer, in characters, theme, and many plot details is -- Cooper's The Pioneers ! [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Ringe, Donald A. (University of Kentucky), The Last of the Mohicans as a Gothic Novel. Cooper's Americanization of the Gothic Mode in the novel and elsewhere. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Shillinglaw, Susan (San Jose State University), Cooper's Fathers and Daughters: The Dialectic of Paternity. Cooper's brave patriarchs nurture dutiful but independent and sensitive daughters. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Shillinglaw, Susan (San Jose State University), Pictorial Space as Identity in The Deerslayer. In seeking their identities, Deerslayer moves successfully outward towards a world of action; Judith unsuccessfully inward towards a world of self-understanding. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Walker, Jeffrey (Oklahoma State University), Fenimore Cooper's Wyandotté and the Cyclic Course of Empire. Influence of Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire series. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Wallace, James D. (Boston College), "The Paradise of Women": The Domestic Sphere in Notions of the Americans. Contradictory notions of separate spheres (for women, Indians, etc.) pervade both Notions and Cooper's other writings. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Werlock, Abby H.P. (Hamilton College), Courageous Young Women in Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales; Heroines and Victims. Cooper's Leatherstocking heroines (Elizabeth Temple, Cora Munro, Ellen Wade, Mabel Dunham, Judith Hutter) are spirited, independent, and courageous. [1986 SUNY SEMINAR]

1989 7th Seminar/Conference

Dedicated to James Franklin Beard (1919-1989). "Why has thou left us, pride of the Wapanachki!"

  1. Bevilacqua, Winifred Farrant (Universita Degli Studi di Torino), Fictional Design and Historical Vision in The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper draws on literary tradition and ends with the victory of "civilization," but also repeatedly undermines this triumphalism by suggesting other options and lost opportunities. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Buchholz, Douglas (University of Pennsylvania), Landownership and Representations of Social Conflict in The Pioneers. A Marxist reading of the novel, with Cooper as a proto-Marxist "socio-historical realist" employing "supreme...socio-ideological acuity." [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Darnell, Donald (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Cooper's Problematic Pilot: "Unrighteous Ambitions" in a Patriotic Cause. Cooper questions the character of John Paul Jones (Mr. Gray), in The Pilot because, despite his heroism, he is not a real gentleman. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Hales, John (California State University at Fresno), American Millenialism and The Crater. Despite comparisons with Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire, Cooper's The Crater is theologically and historically optimistic. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. House, Kay S. (Editor-in-Chief, Cooper editions), Cooper's Status and Stature Now. Tour d'horizon of Cooper studies today; more esteemed abroad than at home. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Kandl, John (New York University), Natty and the Judge: The Pictorial Development of An Ambivalent Theme in The Pioneers. Four scenes from the novel illustrate the irreconcilable conflict between the values of Natty and of Templeton. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Lapp, Peter C. (Queen's University, Kingston), Cooper and his Critics on Character: Distinctiveness, Design and Plausibility. Reliance of Cooper (and his early readers) on character trait psychology, exemplifed especially in The Pioneers, Wyandotté, Satanstoe, and The Prairie, and reactions of contemporary and modern critics. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. MacDougall, Hugh C. (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Cooperstown's Cooper. How Cooperstown influenced Cooper, and was reflected in his works. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  9. Marshall, Ian (Pennsylvania State University, Altoona), Cooper's "Course of Empire": Mountains and the Rise and Fall of American Civilization in The Last of the Mohicans, The Spy, and The Pioneers. In The Crater Cooper borrowed Thomas Cole's mountain image to symbolize God; in his earlier novels mountains symbolize America. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  10. Morton, Richard (McMaster University), The Double Chronology of Leatherstocking. Reading the Leatherstocking Tales in order of their publication, or in the order of Natty Bumppo's fictional life, provides different insights; both are valid. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  11. Pascal, Richard (Australian National University), Hawkeye and Chingachgook in the Outback: James Fenimore Cooper in Australian Literature. Though Cooper was widely read in 19th century Australia, his romantic portrayal of Native Americans and his environmental concerns struck few chords, and he was rarely imitated. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  12. Philbrick, Thomas (University of Pittsburgh, emeritus), Cooper and the Literary Discovery of the Sea. Cooper's eleven sea novels created the genre, and, more generally, that of environment interacting with fictional characters. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  13. Redekop, Ernest H. (University of Western Ontario), Cooper's Emblems of History. Using landscape to portray history in The Last of the Mohicans, Satanstoe, The Heidenmauer, and The Crater (in the last, Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire). [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  14. Ringe, Donald A. (University of Kentucky), Cooper Today: A Partisan View. Critical survey of Cooper criticism up to 1989, and call for examination of the religious and moral vision central to his work as a whole. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]
  15. Sawaya, Francesa (Cornell University), Between Revolution and Racism: Colonialism and the American Indian in The Prairie. Cooper's Indians reflect colonialism and the "sentimentalized racism" of his day. [1989 SUNY SEMINAR]

1991 8th Seminar/Conference

  1. Bagby, George F. (Hampden-Sydney College), The Temptations of Pathfinder : Cooper's Radical Critique of Ownership. Cooper's views on property in The Pathfinder at odds with the conservative ideas expressed in the Littlepage novels. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. D'Ambrosio, Paul S. (New York State Historical Association), Light Upon the Glimmerglass: Cooper and the American Landscape Painters of Otsego Lake. The Otsego of The Pioneers, Home as Found, and The Deerslayer contrasted with that of 19th century landscape painters. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. House, Kay S. (Editor-in-Chief, Cooper editions), The State of Fenimore Cooper-James F. Beard Affairs. The status of the Cooper Edition, and the nature and disposition of James F. Beard's files and materials on Cooper. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Madison, Robert D. (United States Naval Academy), Cooper, Slavery, and the Spirit of the Fair. Cooper expressed essentially racist and pro-slavery views in Notions of the Americans, The Chainbearer, and the posthumously published "New York." [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Mate, Laurence (University of Chicago), How Rhetoric Figures in Cooper's Fiction; Or, Epitaph Upon Epitaph. As exemplified in The Chainbearer and other novels, Cooper uses rhetoric in complex ways that are important in understanding his meaning. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. McWilliams, John (Middlebury College), Revolution and the Historical Novel : Cooper's Transforming of European Tradition. The Spy and Lionel Lincoln reject the wavering European hero of Scott, Balzac, and Pushkin, but accept the notion of innate character. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Michaelsen, Scott (SUNY Buffalo), Cooper's Monikins: Contracts, Construction, and Chaos. Cooper's views of Constitutional (and contract) interpretation are at the heart of The Monikins. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Ringe, Donald A. (University of Kentucky), The Bravo : Social Criticism in the Gothic Mode. Brilliant use of Gothic literary style to depict a Republic reduced to totalitarian terror by commercial greed; 18th century Venice in history; America (??) in the future. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  9. Starobin, Christina (New York University), The Monikins. Radical ideas about property, cushioned by the use of animals (from the Hindu "Ramayana"??) in Cooper's "beast fable," compared with The American Democrat and the Leatherstocking Tales' Natty Bumppo. [1991 SUNY SEMINAR]
  10. [Taylor, Alan (Boston University), Who Murdered William Cooper? The family tradition of William Cooper's murder, accepted by generations of biographers and critics, is without foundation; William Cooper died a peaceful and natural death.] (Originally published in New York History) [1991 NY HISTORY ARTICLES]

1993 9th Seminar/Conference

Dedicated to George A. Test, Coordinator Emeritus of the Cooper Seminar,
whose selfless devotion has made us all better teachers, scholars, and students.

  1. Axelrad, Allan M. (California State University at Fullerton), Epiphany at Ischia: The Effect of Italy on James Fenimore Cooper's Literary Landscape Painting. How Cooper fell in love with Italian scenery, learned to tell picturesque from sublime, and feared the wilderness. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Baveystock, Freddy (Oxford University), Probable Fictions and Improbable Truths: The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish, Notions of the Americans and Cooper's Quarrel with History. Cooper's views of the relationship between fiction and history, and of the nature of truth. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Fanuzzi, Robert (St. Johns University), Empire of Tears. Cooper (and Catharine Maria Sedgwick) used a feminized historical novel to transform the Indian captivity tale into the sentimental novel. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Rans, Geoffrey (University of Western Ontario), Ordering Leather-Stocking. Reading the Leather-Stocking Tales in the order of publication (rather than that of Natty Bumppo's life) enhances the reader's understanding of Cooper's complex meanings. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Sappenfield, James A. (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee), Editing James Fenimore Cooper. Theory, challenges, and limitations in the textual editing of the Cooper Edition, especially The Last of the Mohicans, The Two Admirals, and The Bravo. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Smith, Gail K. (Marquette University), Relics and Repetition in The Deerslayer. Cooper's characters, and the reader, are constantly asked to draw uncertain conclusions from fragmentary evidence (relics), in constant patterns of repetition. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Walker, Jeffrey (Oklahoma State University), The Importance of Flotsam and Jetsam in Editing the Unpublished Letters of James Fenimore Cooper. Problems of locating; Cooper's handwriting, spelling, and punctuation; survey of newly found letters. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Wallace, James D. (Boston College), Race and Spiritualism in Satanstoe. A partially cancelled authorial footnote about an African-American psychic medium in Cooperstown illustrates the cultural tensions surrounding the representation of race in the novel. [1993 SUNY SEMINAR]

1995 10th Seminar/Conference

  1. Axelrad, Allan M. (California State University at Fullerton), "Aristocracy forsooth!...the blackguard is the aristocrat" : James Fenimore Cooper on Congress and Capitalism. His reputation to the contrary, Cooper detested "aristocracy," which he associated with rising American capitalism. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Carleton, Chris (Universiti Sain Malaysia, Penang), Justice and Moral Courage in The Spy. Cooper's concern is moral rather than social, in contrast to British novels by Godwin, Bulwer-Lytton, and Dickens. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Daly, Robert (SUNY Buffalo), From Paradox and Aporia to Cultural Hybridization and Complex Adaptive Systems: New Theories and the Uses of Cooper at the Present Time. Contemporary literary theory continues to reveal new meanings in and deepen our understanding of Cooper's works. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Franklin, Wayne (Northeastern University), The Last of the Coopers. Significance of James Cooper's 1826 legal change of his name to James Fenimore Cooper. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. MacDougall, Hugh C. (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Examining Man's "Latent Sympathies" in The Heidenmauer. A morality tale about the frailties of men who are neither all good nor all bad. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Mann, Barbara A. (University of Toledo), Whipped Like a Dog: Crossed Blood in The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper's treatment of Cora Munro and Natty Bumppo reveals a deep understanding of the problems of mixed race -- African-American and Native American -- in colonial America. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Suzuki, Taisuke (Asahi University, Japan), Some Comments on the Critical History of James Fenimore Cooper. Survey of 25 articles and book reviews relating to Cooper, published in American Literature between 1930 and 1955. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Walker, Jeffrey (Oklahoma State University), Deconstructing an American Myth: Hollywood and The Last of the Mohicans. The films have "rewritten Cooper's plot, miscast and mislabeled his characters, modernized his dialogue, misunderstood his themes, and misrepresented history." [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]
  9. Wallace, James D. (Boston College), The Black Sailor and The Red Rover. The comparatively favored status of African-American sailors in the early Republic allowed Cooper to explore racial diversity. [1995 SUNY SEMINAR]

1997 11th Seminar/Conference

  1. Bailey, Brigitte (University of New Hampshire), The Panoptic Sublime and the Formation of the American Citizen in Cooper's Wing-and-Wing and Cole's Mount Etna from Taormina, Sicily. Novel and the painting both make use of a panoramic view, reflecting parallel changes in their creators' outlooks in the 1840s. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Buchenau, Barbara (University of Goettingen, German), 'Wizards of the West'? How Americans respond to Sir Walter Scott, the 'Wizard of the North'. How Cooper diverged from Scott and European writers, and Child (Hobomok) and Sedgwick (Hope Leslie) carried the divergence further. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Clarke, Colin A. (George Washington University), Like a Mirror Reflecting Itself: Natty Bumppo, The Virginian, and the Fate of the American Frontier. The Last of the Mohicans prefigures the American "Western novel," but its multiplicity of voices (heteroglossia) distinguishes it from Owen Wister's classic "Western." [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Crawford, James (Curator, Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery), James Fenimore Cooper and the Art of the Erie Canal. New York landscape art influenced by Cooper's Notions of the Americans and The Last of the Mohicans. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Davey, Michael J. (Ohio State University), Plainly Bred in the Woods: Manners as Mode in The Pioneers. Not just autobiographic nostalgia, the novel is also an outsider's critique of genteel society in 19th century America. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Ganter, Granville (City University of New York Graduate Center), Voices of Instruction: Oratory and Discipline in Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans and The Redskins. Complexities in Cooper's use of "Indian oratory," and in his sources of information, [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Goldbaek, Henning (Institute of Comparative Literature, University of Copenhagen), Poe and Cooper: A comparison, between an American Democrat and a Southern Gentleman. Despite major differences in outlook, parallels can be found in the two writers. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Hancuff, Richard (George Washington University), Without a Cross: Writing the Nation in The Last of the Mohicans. Racial/ethnic/national control over diversity in the novel echoes the creation of the American nation. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  9. Johnston, Paul K. (State University of New York at Plattsburgh), A Puritan in the Wilderness: Natty Bumppo's Language & American Nature Today. The Pioneers secularized the Puritan idea of Biblical "wilderness", and bequeathed it to modern environmentalism. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  10. Kelly, Thomas O., II (Siena College), Whites and Indians and White Indians: The Last of the Mohicans from James Fenimore Cooper to Daniel Day Lewis. Despite its proclaimed "sensitivity," the 1992 film, like its predecessors and the novel, and reflecting American values, remains ambivalent about Native Americans. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  11. Lockard, Joseph (University of California at Berkeley), Cooper, Heidegger and the Language of Death: Or, Why is Natty Bumppo Speaking Ebonics? The Pioneers turkey-shooting scene seen as genocidal racism, an example of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger's "inauthentic Da-sein." [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  12. MacDougall, Hugh C. (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Eclipse and Rebirth: The Four Incarnations of James Fenimore Cooper. Solar eclipses -- real and imagined -- illustrate how Cooper "remade" himself in moments of personal crisis, adopting a new outward persona. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  13. Mann, Barbara (University of Toledo), The Other Matter at Detroit: John Heckewelder, Revolutionary Spy. Cooper's informant on Indian culture, the Moravian missionary John Heckewelder, provided General Washington with military intelligence. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  14. Owen, William (Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto), Cooper's Speculations on a New Moral America in the Novels of the 1840s. Cooper's adoption of the "Scottish" Common Sense philosophy facilitated his abandonment, in the later novels, of political for familial and religious solutions to national moral dilemmas. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  15. Pikus, Michael J. (Niagara County Community College), The Redskins; or, Indian and Injin and James Fenimore Cooper's Continuing Historical Paradox. The 1846 novel expresses Cooper's disgust at the Jacksonian America to which he has returned -- both for its expulsion of Native Americans and its political destruction of a liberal landed gentry. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  16. Tawil, Ezra F. (Brown University), Romancing History: The Pioneers and the Problem of Slavery. By using the Indian/settler issue, Cooper was able to engage indirectly the taboo subject (in ante-bellum America) of slavery, opening the road to a national debate. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]
  17. Zhang, Aiping (California State University at Chico), Can the Twain Meet through Acculturation? The Cultural Hybrids in Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Cooper often portrays acculturation of Native Americans (such as The Pioneers' John Mohegan), but concludes that real acculturation between Indian and white is not possible. [1997 SUNY SEMINAR]

1999 12th Seminar/Conference

Special Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and of his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)

  1. Axelrad, Allan M. (California State University at Fullerton), Susan Fenimore Cooper, "The Lumley Autograph," and James Fenimore Cooper's Literary Legacy. The Cooper family deals with the 19th century autograph craze, in life and in SFC's story. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Bakken, Kerry Neville (University of Houston), Housekeeping Is For The Birds: Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours. In SFC's natural world humans co-habit with other animate creatures; as we observe nature, it observes us. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Davey, Michael J. (John Carroll University), Convention and the Limits of Biography for Literary Criticism: Fathers, Daughters, and Sentiment in Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Readers should not assume that JFC's fictional characters are based on real people (such as Hannah Cooper in Pioneers or Susan Fenimore Cooper in Mohicans); rather, his use of "sentimentalism" in Mohicans is satiric and undercut by deliberate "Gothicism." [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Faherty, Duncan (City University of New York Graduate Center), "A Game of Architectural Consequence" : Susan Fenimore Cooper's Dissolving View. How SFC's detailed knowledge of natural history affected her writing; notably her optimistic 1852 essay "A Dissolving View." [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Goldbæk, Henning (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Cooper and the Forest Gentleman. The Last of the Mohicans as a Bildungsroman (novel of apprenticeship) -- a novel of the creation of man, with nature as an image of the historical mind. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Hall, Alvin L. (The Union Institute), A Chance Encounter: Sarah Haven Foster, Susan Fenimore Cooper, and Rural Hours. Discovery of a copy of SFC's Rural Hours extra-illustrated with 129 exquisite paintings of birds and flowers, and tracking down the New Hampshire woman who painted them. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Harding, J. Gregory (Northeastern University), "Without distinction of sex, rank, or color" : Cora Munro as Cooper's Ideal and the Moral Center in The Last of the Mohicans. Cora Munro, though a woman, not quite genteel, and of partly African ancestry, occupies the center between "savagery" and "civility," and represents Cooper's ideal for a virtuous American. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Johnson, Rochelle (Albertson College of Idaho), James Fenimore Cooper, Susan Fenimore Cooper, and the Work of History. SFC's uses of history and natural history both differ from those of her father, and revise the dominant myths of 19th century America. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  9. MacDougall, Hugh C. (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Elinor Wyllis : The Story of Susan Fenimore Cooper's Novel.. Analysis of SFC's almost forgotten 1846 novel: not only significant, but good reading as well. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  10. Magee, Richard M. (Fordham University), Landscape of Loss, Landscape of Promise. Thomas Cole, history, and the Coopers: JFC's landscapes (The Last of the Mohicans) look back with sorrow; SFC's (Rural Hours) look forward with hope. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  11. Norwood, Lisa West (Stanford University), Domesticating Revolutionary Sentiment in Susan Fenimore Cooper's Mount Vernon: A Letter to the Children of America. SFC's 1859 money-raising appeal celebrates Mount Vernon as central to Washington's life, not a retreat from public affairs, thus domesticating patriotism and history. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  12. Owen, William (Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto), From Resistance to Autonomy: Daughter-Father Relationships in The Last of the Mohicans and The Pathfinder. Contest between the cultural values of the (military) fathers and the emerging values of the daughters. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  13. Perrin, Anne (University of Houston), Subversion and Narrative Style in Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours. Narrative strategies used to deliver an environmental "jeremiad" without contravening familial, social, and historical restrictions on female writing. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  14. Ravage, Jessie A. (Independent Scholar, Cooperstown), The Home Book of the Picturesque : Father and Daughter. In this 1852 anthology, JFC's academic essay "American and European Scenery Compared" contrasts with SFC's more personal and place-specific "A Dissolving View," which prefigures realistic American regional sketches. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  15. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Cooper's Revisions for His First Major Novel, The Spy (1821-31). Analysis, with illustrations, of extensive revisions made to The Spy in 1831. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  16. Wegener, Signe (University of Georgia), The Perils of Parenting: Parental Manipulation in The Leatherstocking Tales. That Cooper's fathers assert a dominant family role, but at the same time endanger and manipulate their daughters, is an implicit critique of 19th century fatherhood. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]
  17. Zhang, Aiping (California State University at Chico), The Negotiation of Masculinities: James Fenimore Cooper's Ideology of Manhood in The Last of the Mohicans. By exploring different kinds of men, white and Indian, Cooper helps refine and define American notions of masculinity and identity. [1999 SUNY SEMINAR]

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2001 13th Seminar/Conference

Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
Focus on James Fenimore Cooper's The Prairie (1827) and Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours (1850).

  1. Axelrad, Allan M. (California State University, Fullerton), The Last of the Mohicans and the Holocaust. Contrary to much modern criticism, Cooper's novel is essentially anti-racist, reflecting the racist reality of American culture rather than endorsing it. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  2. Bower, Anne L. (Ohio State University, Marion), Resisting Women: Feminist Students and Cooper's The Pioneers, with a Few Thoughts Concerning Pedagogical Approaches to The Prairie. Getting students to "listen" to Cooper, and then to appreciate him. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  3. Callahan, David (Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal), Who Hides in the Work of James Fenimore Cooper?. The significance of physical concealment in Cooper's works, especially as exemplified in The Spy and The Pathfinder. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  4. Carso, Kerry Dean (Oneonta, New York), The Old Dwelling Transmogrified: James Fenimore Cooper's Otsego Hall. James Fenimore Cooper's remodelling of Otsego Hall, creating the second Gothic mansion in America. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  5. Dyer, Klay (Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada), Turning Over a New Leaf: The Literary Ecologies of Susan Fenimore Cooper and Catharine Parr Traill. A Canadian and and an American naturalist/writer, working separately, created a new literary genre. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  6. Egan, Hugh (Ithaca College), Cooper's Career in the First Person. Cooper's "first person" writings, beginning with the biographical Ned Myers and continuting through The Redskins, in which—contrary to accepted wisdom—Hugh Littlepage's rantings may not reflect the author's views on the rent controversy. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  7. Engell, John (San Jose State University), Reading and Hearing Natty Bumppo's Last Word in The Prairie. Musings on the possible meanings of the illiterate Natty's dying word: "here"—or is it "hear"? [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  8. Flynn, Rebecca (University of Houston), Gendered Space and Judith Hunter in James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer. Complexities of gender roles on the frontier. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  9. Goldbæk, Henning (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), History and Mythology in The Prairie. Law of nature vs. law of civilization, and the Trapper's (Natty's) dream of reconciling them. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  10. Harthorn, Steven P. (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), James Fenimore Cooper and The Crater. Cooper fascination with practical farming, exemplified in his letter on potato blight to The Cultivator, is clearly reflected in "The Crater." [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  11. Johnston, Paul (State University of New York at Plattsburgh), No Name for Sweet William: Rural Intimacy and Rural Estrangement in Susan Cooper and James Fenimore Cooper. For James and other Americans, Nature is to be conquered, or to be valued as a refuge; for Susan and many Europeans, Nature is an intimate part of normal human life; her discussion of flower names in Rural Hours points up this important difference. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  12. MacDougall, Hugh C. (James Fenimore Cooper Society), "Their Waste Has Done It All": The Prairie as a Post-Apocalyptic Novel. Natty Bumppo's vision of the prairies as a man-created desert in which human ruins have turned to dust, just as geological science was making such a chronology conceivable, casts new ecological light on this novel. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  13. Perrin, Anne (University of Houston), Opened Frontiers, Closed Deserts: The Contradictions Between Source and Text in James Fenimore Cooper's The Prairie. While following much of the geographic and ethnographic material in his sources, Cooper contradicts their nationalistic, commercial, and expansionist assumptions. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  14. Pikus, Michael J., (Niagara County Community College), Chopping Away at the New World: The Metaphor of the Axe in The Prairie. The axe as a symbol of destruction, in The Pioneers and The Prairie. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  15. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Civilization and its Discontents: Freud Meets Cooper in The Prairie. Considering this novel in the light of Freud's Civilization and its Discontents, especially as concerns its treatment of the conflict between personal freedom and entering a social compact. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  16. Starobin, Christina (Saugerties, New York), Who Owns the Land and Who Cares for It. Metaphors of birds and beasts in The Prairie [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  17. Suzuki, Taisuke (Asahi University, Japan), The True Beginning of Native American Novels by James Fenimore Cooper and Helen Hunt Jackson. Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales and Jackson's Ramona (1884) as pioneering novels treating Native Americans seriously. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]
  18. Wegener, Signe O. (University of Georgia), Travels Around Lake Otsego: Teaching Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours. Trials, tribulations, and triumphs in teaching it. [2001 SUNY SEMINAR]

2003 14th Seminar/Conference

Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
Focus on James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer (1841) and Susan Fenimore Cooper's Elinor Wyllys (1846).

  1. Axelrad, Allan (California State University, Fullerton), Christmas in Cooperstown and Templeton: The Coopers and the Invention of an American Holiday Tradition. How both James and Susan Fenimore Cooper, in The Pioneers and Rural Hours, commented on and contributed to creating American Christmas traditions (keynote address). [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  2. Crawford, James (Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery), James Fenimore Cooper and his Family in Samuel Finlay Morse's Painting: The Gallery of the Louvre. Analysis of the Morse painting, and significance of its inclusion of the Cooper family. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  3. Hall, Cynthia (University of California, Riverside), The Frontier Dilemma of "Girls Gone Wild": Mabel Dunham's Nineteenth-Century Wilderness Education and Sadistic Interpellation. The Pathfinder describes Mabel Dunham as a weak, passive, female demanding protection; the narrative shows her to be anything but. Nevertheless, there is no place for her on a masculine frontier. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Harthorn, Steven P. (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), Cooper's Autobiography of a Pocket-Handkerchief as a Defense of Authoriship. This work marks a change in Cooper's authorial style to the first person, and despite the unusual narrator may in some respects be considered as symbolically autobiographical in fact. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  5. Jennings, Anne (San Jose State University), In Defense of Judith: A Re-Reading of Cooper's The Deerslayer as Social History. A more positive image of Judith Hutter than that which Cooper provides. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  6. Logacheva, Tamara (Ladomir Publishing, Moscow), James Fenimore Cooper--200 Years of Admiration. Cooper's long-standing success in Russia. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  7. MacDonald, Gary (Virginia State University), What's at Stake? Forms of American Masculinity in James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer. Natty Bumppo is not a conflicted critic/idealizer of American civilization; rather he represents one (Democract -- New York and Southern) vision of that civilization against another (Whig -- New England). [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. MacDougall, Hugh (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Peeling the Onion: Looking for Layers of Meaning in The Deerslayer. Nine layers of meaning, from juvenile to profound, in The Deerslayer. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. Magee, Richard (SUNY Maritime College), Sentimental Enough?: The Literary Context of Elinor Wyllys. Unlike other "sentimental novels" of the period, Elinor Wyllys is opposed to consumer culture, which may help explain its lack of success at the time. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. Roberson, Henry P. (Oklahoma State University), James Fenimore Cooper and Catholicism. How Cooper found a powerful spirituality in the Catholicism he observed in Europe, which surprised, intrigued, and may have changed him. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Schachterle, Lance (Editor in Chief, The Writings of James Fenimore Cooper), The Editorial Crux of "undue erring/undeserving" in The Deerslayer. Background and argument for changing the traditional reading of "undeserving" at the end of The Deerslayer to "undue erring" in the Cooper Edition, with response arguing for "undeserving" by Hugh MacDougall. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  12. Starobin, Christina (Culinary Institute of America), Cooper's Theory of Relativity: Time Travel in the Leatherstocking Tales. Musings on how Cooper asks us to look at time. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  13. Stauffer, John (Harvard University), Interracial Friendships in The Deerslayer. In creating the Natty Bumppo/Chingachgook and similar interracial relationships, Cooper sought to fulfill the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, in imagination if not in reality, and exerted an enormous influence on American literature. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  14. Suzuki, Taisuke (Asahi University, Japan), The Background to Cooper's Literary Works. Musings on D. H. Lawrence's writings about Cooper. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  15. Tamer, Nanette C. (Villa Julie College), Sibi Imperiosus: Cooper's Horatian Ideal of Self-Governance in The Deerslayer. Comparisons between Cooper's and Horatio's notions of virtue. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  16. Van Keuren, Luise (California University of Pennsylvania), Homecoming: Susan Fenimore Cooper Views America's Coming of Age in Elinor Wyllys (1846). How homecoming is a central motif in this novel, as it was in its author's life. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]
  17. Wegener, Signe O. (The University of Georgia), Rewriting the Courtship Novel: James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer. A romance in which the girl doesn't get the boy. [2003 COOPER SEMINAR]

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2005 15th Seminar/Conference

Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
"A Geography of the Mind: Architecture, Landscape and the Imaginative Reconstruction of the Past"
Hugh MacDougall and Steven Harthorn, Editors.

  1. Axelrad, Allan M. (California State University, Fullerton), From Mountain Gothic to Forest Gothic and Luminism: Changing Representations of the Landscape in the Leatherstocking Tales and in American Painting. How Cooper's views of landscape changed, both when he returned from Europe and later. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  2. Beuka, Robert (City University of New York), "The Sigh of Companionless Age": Images of Lost Landscapes in Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours. Rural Hours as a nostalgic environmental work. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  3. Birns, Nicholas New School University), The Unknown War: The Last of the Mohicans and the Effacement of the Seven Years War in American Historical Myth. Why Cooper did not make the Iroquois the heroes of this novel. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Daly, Robert (SUNY Buffalo), Cooper’s Creole: Literature and Ethics in America. (Keynote Address) Multiculturalism and virtue ethics, especially in The Last of the Mohicans. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  5. Dolata, April (Rutgers University), Child and Cooper: Competing Perspectives on Race in Early American Fiction. The Last of the Mohicans as a response to Lydia Maria Child's Hobomok. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  6. Donahue, James (University of Connecticut), Representing Cooper’s Landscape: The N.C. Wyeth Illustrations. The significance of N.C. Wyeth's well-known illustrations of The Last of the Mohicans. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  7. Foulon, Jacqueline (University of Paris), Landscape as Referential Paradox in The Last of the Mohicans. The use of landscape to create a fictional past. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. Harthorn, Steven (University of Tennessee), What Happened to Cooper’s Sixth Leatherstocking Tale?. Did Cooper ever plan a Natty Bumppo novel set during the American Revolution? [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. Hecht, Roger (SUNY Oneonta): “Worse than trash”? Politics, Poetry, and the Anti-Rent Press. The popular press background to The Redskins [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. MacDougall, Hugh (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Behind the Adventure Curtain: The Last of the Mohicans as a Novel of Ideas. Background, and serious social and cultural content concerning the American character, Native Americans, and Race. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Morsellino, John (SUNY Buffalo), Cooper and Creole Democracy. Contrary to much modern criticism, Cooper is a proponant of multiculturalism, as shown in The American Democrat, The Pilot, The Prairie, and The Last of the Mohicans. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  12. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), “I am condemned to remain Eve Effingham for life”: Home as Bound. For all her liberality, the contentment Eve "finds" at "Home" is one of isolation within Templeton. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  13. Starobin, Christina (Culinary Institute of America), Falsification of the Past: Cooper’s Legacy Reexamined and Reclaimed. Musings on Cooper, from Leatherstocking Tales death scenes to today's film and television. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  14. Suzuki, Taisuke (Asahi University, Japan), The Flower Garden of Susan Fenimore Cooper. Musings on the beauties of Rural Hours in the light of Susan's life in the Cooper family. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  15. Walters, Patrick (University of Delaware), Domesticating Wilderness in The Last of the Mohicans. The dangerous animals of real wilderness are replaced by dangerous Indians, or tamed by comic treatment. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]
  16. Wegener, Signe O. (University of Georgia), Ramshackle Residences and Severed Arms: Architectural Foibles and Family Values in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers. Fractured family life in a wealthy but dysfunctional home. [2005 COOPER SEMINAR]

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2007 16th Seminar/Conference

Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
"The Coopers' Worlds: Literature and the Formation of a New American Paradigm"
Hugh MacDougall and Steven Harthorn, Editors.

  1. Axelrad, Allan (California State University, Fullerton), The Last of the Shechemites and The Last of the Mohicans: Race-Killing in Canaan and New Canaan. Racial mixing, American destiny, and the Old Testament. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  2. Daly, Robert (SUNY Buffalo), From Glimmerglass to Mirror Neurosis: Rewiring the Brain in the Quest for American Character. In The Last of the Mohicans, characters learn from each other and from their country, aswe do today. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  3. Foulon, Jacqueline (Université de Paris), A Letter to His Countrymen. An analysis of Cooper's message. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Franklin, Wayne (University of Connecticut), "Everything was Subordinated to Him": Cooper's Resistance to Lafayette. Keynote Address. Cooper and Lafayette. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  5. Harthorn, Steven P. (Williams Baptist College), James Fenimore Cooper, Carey, Lea & Blanchard, and the Fable of the Indulgent Publisher. Cooper's relations with his principal publisher. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  6. Knip, Matthew (CUNY Graduate Center), Cooper's Heroic David Gamut. A re-examination of the Last of the Mohicans music teacher. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  7. Lampe, David (Buffalo State University), Comic Cooper: Thackeray's Burlesque of The Last of the Mohicans and The Pilot. What Cooper did with his sources, and what Thackeray did to him. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. Lang, Christopher Thomas (Lehigh University), Gayle Rubin and Cooper's Spy: War, Trauma, Rupture, and the "Traffic in Women". A passive and an active heroine. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. MacDougall, Hugh (James Fenimore Cooper Society), The Pioneers: Creator of a New York Frontier Image. What kind of frontier did the novel really portray? [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. Morsellino, John (Niagara Community College), Re-Drawing Cooper's Color Line: Interracial Marriage in The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish. Cooper's final word on White/Indian racial mixture. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Pikus, Michael (Niagara Community College), James Fenimore Cooper and the Establishment of the American Local Event. American culture and literature deriving from the specificity of Cooper's vision of America. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  12. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), The Mature Marriage in Cooper's Fiction. Cooper's mature literary marriages -- some successful (especially The Prairie, but also Wyandotté, The Heidenmauer, and The Crater); others ranging from unhelpful (Precaution) to destructive (Jack Tier); contrasted with Howells' Rise of Silas Lapham. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  13. Schramer, James J. (Youngstown State University), Shaping the American Political Landscape: James Fenimore Cooper's and Susan Cooper's Perspectives on Property and Polity. Especially in The American Democrat and Wyandotté. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]
  14. Starobin, Christina (Culinary Institute of America), "Perhaps Some Day it will be Pleasant": Reminiscences of James Fenimore Cooper as told to Dr. Christina Starobin. Imagining what Cooper might think of today's world. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  15. Walker, Jeffrey (Oklahoma State University), The Case of the Missing Corpus: Or, More Flotsam and Jetsam in Editing Fenimore Cooper. Tracking down new Cooper letters. [2007 COOPER SEMINAR]

2009 17th Seminar/Conference

Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
"Global Cooper"
Hugh MacDougall, Editor.

  1. Arch, Steven (Michigan State University), Cooper: The Arabesque and the Grotesque. Grotesque and Arabesque, especially in The Monikins (the whole Antarctic portion) and Homeward Bound (the North African castaways portion). [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  2. Axelrad, Allan (California State University, Fullerton), Historical Contexts of The Last of the Mohicans: the French and Indian War and Mid-1820s America. Indians and African-Americans as viewed in 1750s and 1820s, including Cooper's views. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  3. Daly, Robert (University of Buffalo), Cooper's Stoic Cosmopolitanism: Gleanings in Switzerland. In Gleanings in Europe: Switzerland and Gleanings in Europe: The Rhine, we see how, besides the glorious Alps, Cooper also gradually found a nation that could be both diverse and united; with references to recent philosophical writings by Brian Boyd, Julia Kristeva, Toril Moi, Alain Badiou, and Quentin Meillassoux. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Harthorn, Steven (Williams Baptist College), An Unfired Shot in the Literary Battle of Lake Erie: Cooper's Unpublished Reply to Alexander Slidell Mackenzie [2009 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  5. Lampe, David (Buffalo State University), A Knight of Ancient Chivalry: The Last of the Mohicans as Medieval Romance. Comparisons with Amadis de Gaule and other medieval romances. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  6. MacDougall, Hugh (James Fenimore Cooper Society), The Bravo: Cooper's Message to America. The totalitarian Venetian aristocracy exposed as a warning against economic corporate aristocracy in America. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  7. Poulette, Sarah (Boston College), "Across the Channel:" Susan Fenimore Cooper's Use of France in "Rural Hours". The author's use of French examples to demonstrate her authority as a writer, give rural America equal standing with Europe, and at times demonstrate rural American superiority. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. Ramos, Peter (Buffalo State University), (Never) True Romance: The Function of History and the Imagination in Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper deliberately uses the romance form to present an ideal of inter-racial mixture, but concludes by deeming it historically impossible. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. Schachterle, Lance (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Cooper, Style and The Bravo. Cooper's writing style and its sources; studies of Cooper's style; and (in great detail) an examination of his writing style in The Bravo. [Keynote Address] [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. Schramer, James J. (Youngstown State University), Gleanings of a Harvest Already Gathered: Recollection & Response in Cooper's European Landscapes. Especially as reflected in [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Siewers, Alfred K. (Bucknell University), Cooper's Green World: Adapting Ecosemiotics to the Mythic Eastern Woodlands. A semiotic and philosophical examination of The Deerslayer [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]
  12. Sivils, Matt (Iowa State University), Buffon's Theory of American Degeneracy and the Biogeography of Cooper's The Prairie [2009 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  13. Wegener, Signe O. (University of Georgia), Not Really the Last Mohican: Chingachgook and East Germany's Indian Movement. Why it was Communist East Germany that made the most recent (and perhaps best) film version of The Deerslayer. [2009 COOPER SEMINAR]

2011 18th Seminar/Conference

Conference/Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
"Cooper and his Contemporaries"
Steven Harthorn and Hugh MacDougall, Editors.

  1. Axelrad, Allan (California State University, Fullerton), Leather-Stocking's Mother. Natty Bumppo's early life, as presented by Susan Fenimore Cooper in her 1876 Introduction to The Deerslayer (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin). [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  2. Becker, Robert (Independent Scholar), A Historical Background to the Tenth Chapter of Cooper's The Monikins. Relation of the seemingly dull "protocol" chapter X to the London Conference of 1830-32, which separated Belgium from the Netherlands. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  3. Blakemore, Steven (Florida Atlantic University), Cooper, Basil Hall, and Anglo-American Cultural Wars. Cooper's 1831 article in Colburn's New Monthly Magazine, respondings to Basil Hall's attacks on American culture and society. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Chapman, Schuyler (University of Pittsburgh), Imperfect Fluidity: Mutable Citizenship and the Novels of James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper's ambivilent approach to shifting allegiances in The Pioneers and The Pilot. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  5. Cody, David (Hartwick College), Bierce and the Cooperian Uncanny. Ambrose Bierce's possible borrowings from gothic moments in Cooper—notably in The Pioneers, The Pathfinder, and The Deerslayer. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  6. Coleman, Catherine (University of Texas, Austin), Legal and Moral Vigilance: Cooper Versus the Press. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  7. Daly, Robert (University at Buffalo), Network Culture in James Fenimore Cooper and Catharine Maria Sedgwick. Not just families, but affiliation, covenants, and networks based on choice and volition in the two authors. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. Foulon, Jacqueline (Université de Paris), Breaks and Continuities in Cooper's Representation of the Indian. Four different approaches to Indians, as represented in The Pioneers (realism); The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish (idealistic imagination); Wyandotté (disillusion); and The Oak Openings ("a new Eden"). [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. Gilbert, Margaret (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Emily Dickinson and James Fenimore Cooper: Dickinson's Captive Consciousness. Indirect evidence of Cooper's influence on Dickinson's work. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. Harthorn, Steven P. (Williams Baptist College), Out-Coopering Cooper? Hoffman's Greyslaer and the Critics. Charles Fenno Hoffman's 1840 novel was inevitably read and reviewed in the light of Cooper's domination of frontier stories. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Hillson, Franklin (Morgan State University), The Captivity Narrative and The Last of the Mohicans: Foundation and Modification. Cooper's debt to the captivity narrative tradition established by Mary Rowlindson's 1682 The Sovereignty and Goodness of God. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  12. Katz, Roberta Gray (DePaul University), Thomas Cole: Reading the Paintings from The Last of the Mohicans. Cole's four Mohicans paintings as literary and historical documents, not just landscapes. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  13. Lampe, David (Buffalo State University), Gothic Cooper: The Shaping of The Bravo. Cooper's debt to the Gothic "outlaw" tradition, as reflected in Friedrich Schiller's Die Rauber [The Robbers] and Johann Heinrich Zschokke's Abaellino, der grosse Bandit [The Bravo of Venice]. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  14. Larkin, F. Daniel (SUNY College at Oneonta), America in Conflict, 1835-1850. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  15. MacDougall, Hugh (Corresponding Secretary, James Fenimore Cooper Society), The Novels of John Richardson, "The Canadian Cooper". Introduction to the author (1796-1852) of Wacousta (1832) and The Canadian Brothers (1840), and their debt both to Cooper and to 18th Century Drama. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  16. McClellan, Kendall (Binghamton University), A Less than Revolutionary Romance: Leadership, Liberty, and "the People" in James Fenimore Cooper's The Spy. Differing views of populism in Cooper's novel and in Catharine Maria Sedgwick's The Linwoods. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  17. Phillips, Catherine A. (University of Tennessee), The Hunter is a Lonely Heart: Cooper's Adaptation of the Antebellum Success Narrative in The Pathfinder. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  18. Ramos, Peter (Buffalo State University), Nature's "harshest but truest colors"; Romantic and Un-Romantic Nature in The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Both Cooper and Mark Twain uneasily offer "a particular view of nature, as sublime cure for the ills of civilization or else a mirror of man's violence." [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  19. Richardson, Donna (St. Mary's College), A Man With a Cross: Cooper's Romantic Revision of Paradise Lost in The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper's novel as a multi-cultural vision of Milton's poem. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  20. Rumbinas, Barbara (Jagiellonian University), The Faces of Racism in James Fenimore Cooper's The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish. Cooper "is not only concerned with interracial marriage, but also with the hypocrisy of the Puritan claim to racial and religious superiority". [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  21. Sabath, Keni (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Whimsical Women and Manly-Man Mohicans: Feminist Perspective on Women, Native People, and Nature in The Last of the Mohicans. In "choosing" Alice over Cora, Cooper reinforces an ideal for women of "timidity, passivity, and arguably, vapidity". [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  22. Samuels, Shirley (Cornell University), Promoting the Nation in James Fenimore Cooper and Harriet Beecher Stowe: Nationalism and the Historical Novel. [Keynote Address for the Cooper Conference.] Creating a nation in early American historical fiction, notably in Cooper's The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer, and in Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  23. Siewers, Alfred Kentigern (Bucknell University), Cooper, Coleridge, and Re-Imagining a Native Cosmology. Literary and philosophical analysis of Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Cooper's The Deerslayer. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  24. Sterling, Victoria (Lehman College/CUNY), Virtues and Failings: The Deerslayer, The Advocate, and the Discourse of Female Moral Reform. Cooper's novel and The Advocate of Moral Reform consider female gender roles. [printed with 2013 papers] [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  25. Varkan, Anna (Moscow City Teacher Training University), Debunking the Myth of the "Promised Land" in the Leather-Stocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper. They portray the degeneration of the Puritan ideal of the "Promised Land," both as to white material values and the gradual destruction of Native Americans. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  26. Wegener, Signe (University of Georgia), Two Americans Abroad: The Italian Soggiorni of James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville; or, Travel as a Literary Act. Following the two authors' steps through Rome, as seen through Cooper's Gleanings in Europe: Italy and Melville's Journal and Correspondence. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR]
  27. Wood, Daniel James (University of Melbourne), The Voice of the Crowd on the Wild Frontier: Popular Support for the Pre-Emption Act of 1841 and the Populist Appeal of The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  28. Zuck, Rochelle (University of Minnesota, Duluth), Cooper's Oak Openings and the "Lost Tribes" Theory of American Indian Origins. [2011 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]

2013 19th Seminar/Conference

Conference/Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
"Cooper at Sea"
Steven Harthorn, Editor.

  1. Axelrad, Allan (Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton), Pirates, Slavers, and The Red Rover. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  2. Cody, David (Hartwick College), Dickinson's Cooper. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  3. Daly, Robert (University at Buffalo), Navigating Character: Nautical Talk and Virtue Ethics in The Pilot. Long Tom Coffin, like other "landless" fictional characters, develops his ethics at sea. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Harthorn, Edward (Williams Baptist College), Hollowed and Hallowed Trust within James Fenimore Cooper's The Crater. Conflict between divine trust and failed human trust leads to the failure of the colony. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  5. Harthorn, Stephen (Williams Baptist College), "Plunder," "Fixens," and Bee Hunting: Cooper's Manuscript Notes for The Prairie. Cooper's brief notes inform both The Prairie and, perhaps, The Oak Openings. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  6. Katz, Roberta Gray (DePaul University), Envisioning Icebergs: Fenimore Cooper, Louis L. Noble, and Frederic E. Church. (Abstract) Cooper's depiction of icebergs in The Sea Lions influenced writings of Louis L Noble (1813-1882) and of Frederic E. Church (1826-1900). [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  7. Lampe, David (Buffalo State College), Double Dutch Delights: Irving's Knickerbocker History and Cooper's Water Witch. Shakespearian comedy in Irving's "History" and Cooper's novel. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. Le Seven, Emelia (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Cooper's "John Paul Jones"; Sketching a Controversial Great-man of the Sea. Comparison of Jones in Cooper's The Pilot (1824), and his later Lives of Distinguished American Officers (1846) [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. MacDougall, Hugh (James Fenimore Cooper Society), Cooper's The Headsman: What Have Swiss Executioners Got to Do with African-Americans? Is Cooper's The Headsman (1831), set in 18th century Switzerland, really a critique of slavery and the treatments of African-Americans at home? [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. Murray, Keat (California University of Pennsylvania), "Our Situations Are Different": Resituating Gentility and Loyalty in The Spy. Harvey Birch's main purpose, though sacrificing his own reputation, is to serve Washington in protecting a genteel Loyalist family. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Payne, Daniel (SUNY College at Oneonta), Sex, Slavery, and the Sea: The Adventures of Alonso (1775). Thomas Digges' 1775 novel is arguably the first novel by an American author, but also an early novel of the sea. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  12. Ramos, Peter (Buffalo State College), Darker Cooper: The Deerslayer, Violence, and Manifest Destiny. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]
  13. Rumbinas, Barbara and Zygmunt Mazur (Jagiellonian University), Born on Land, Shaped by the Sea: Character Development in James Fenimore Cooper's Afloat and Ashore. How the virtuous character of the African-American slave "Neb" is developed in the twin novels Afloat and Ashore and Miles Wallingford. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  14. Vandenbossche, Lisa (University of Rochester), Rhetoric and Reform: James Fenimore Cooper and Sailors in Antebellum America, A Romance. How seamen's aid societies, like Cooper's sea novels, helped romanticize the lives of sailors like the subject of Cooper's biography Ned Myers (1843). [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  15. Walden, Dan (Baylor University), Cooper's Coastscapes: The Significance of Setting in The Pilot. How Cooper uses the coastal setting of the novel to discuss the ambiguous realities of the Revolution and early Republic. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  16. Wegener, Signe (University of Georgia), From the Inland Sea to the Pacific: The Many Vessels of James Fenimore Cooper. Different kinds of vessels in Cooper's life, and in novels such as The Water Witch, Afloat and Ashore, The Pilot, The Crater, The Red Rover, and The Wing-and-Wing. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  17. Zogas, Peter (University of Rochester), Reading Cooper's Modernity. Competing temporal horizons of colonial and pre-colonial time in The Last of the Mohicans. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR]
  18. Zuck, Rochelle (University of Minnesota, Duluth), The Roots of Cooper's Oak Openings: Literary and Historical Sources. [2013 COOPER SEMINAR] [Not available for published text of Seminar papers]

2015 20th Seminar/Conference

Conference/Seminar on the works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) and his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894)
June 1-3, 2015

  1. Becker, Robert (Independent Scholar), James Fenimore Cooper's First Travel to Germany, and his Use of Engelmann/Reichard's Manuel. The 1827 Engelmann/Reichard Manual, a German guidebook which Cooper used, and annotated, during his 1830 travels in Germany. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  2. Blakemore, Steven (Florida Atlantic University), Cooper and the Indian Imaginary: The Indian Removal Act of 1830 in Notions of the Americans. Two years before the 1830 Removal Act, Cooper gives his complex thinking about the possible future of Native Americans. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  3. Daly, Robert (SUNY University at Buffalo), Networked Communities in Satanstoe: The Dialectical Pluralism of Cooper's Late Style. Corny Littlepage tells his story both as it happens and in retrospect. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  4. Homestead, Melissa, and Marie Leger-St. Jean, (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, British Copyright and Cheap British Editions of James Fenimore Cooper in the 1830s and 1840s. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR] {not available for placement on Cooper Society website}
  5. Johnson, Rochelle (College of Idaho), Imagined Communities and Lost Manuscripts: Reconstructing Susan Fenimore Cooper's The Shield. Keynote Address: [2015 COOPER SEMINAR] {not available for placement on Cooper Society website}
  6. Lampe, David (Buffalo State University), Gender on the Rocks: Cooper's Jack Tier, or the Florida Reef. Treatment of gender, humerous and otherwise, in Jack Tier and in The Red Rover. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  7. MacDougall, Hugh (James Fenimore Cooper Society, The Water Witch (1829)—a Novel Cooper Wrote to Please Himself. Feeling free to express himself, Cooper packs this this novel with views that seem both libertarian and even radical. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  8. Mosby, W. Michael (University of Memphis), The Aesthetics of History in James Fenimore Cooper's The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish. Considering Cooper as a writer before photography. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  9. Pilote, Pauline (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon), "A Region fruitful of wonders and adventures": Romancing the West in Cooper's and Irving's Narratives. Contrasting Cooper's treatment of the frontier, mostly from the Leatherstocking Tales with Irving's A Tour of the Prairies, Astoria, and "The Adventures of Captain Bonneville. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  10. Rossi, Patricia (Independent Scholar), Susan Fenimore Cooper—In the Shadow. Why did not Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours become as famous as Thoreau's Walden? It should have. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  11. Rumbinas, Barbara (Jagiellonian University), Entwined Realities:: The Intra-class Politics of Land Ownership in Cooper's The Prairie. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR] {not available for placement on Cooper Society website}
  12. Siewers, Alfred (Bucknell University), A Geography of the Imagination: James Fenimore and Susan Fenimore Cooper's Regional Legacy. The Coopers and the concept of an Upper Susquehanna Region. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  13. Von Mehren, Ann (Arcadia University/University of Houston, James Fenimore Cooper and the Americanization of the Bible: A Rhetorical Analysis of the American Bible Society Founding Address of May 1816. How the Bible was "Americanized" at meeting Cooper attended. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR]
  14. Ward, Daniel (SUNY Fredonia), The Last of the Mohicans and the Dislocation of Native American Culture. [2015 COOPER SEMINAR] {not yet received}
  15. Wegener, Signe (University of Georgia), Enjoying the Bounties of Nature: Food in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Cooper and Food—especially in The Pioneers and The Pathfinder.[2015 COOPER SEMINAR]

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