Professor of English, University of British Columbia

Mary Chapman (B.A. Queen’s, M.A. Queen’s, Ph.D. Cornell) is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. She specializes in American literature and transnational American Studies; in particular, she works on intersections between cultural forms (parades, print culture, parlor theatricals, suffrage activism), literary production, and politics in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America.

Her Making Noise, Making News: US Suffrage Print Culture in Modernism (Oxford UP, 2014) is winner of the SSAWW Book Prize and the CAAS-Robert K. Martin Book Prize and a finalist for the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize. It demonstrates the importance of the aesthetically innovative, rhetorically compelling print culture produced by US suffragists in the first two decades of the twentieth century. It probes the paradox that permitted modern suffragists to figure themselves as politically “voiceless” at the same time that they generated innovative print cultural forms that clearly articulated and promoted their political views. By shifting away from a nineteenth-century emphasis on oratory to a twentieth-century investment in mass print culture, modern US women discovered alternate ways of exercising their “voice” in the public sphere and new kinds of “voice” that were much more collaborative and interactive than oratory. Making Noise, Making News argues that this propaganda–from advocacy journals and guest-edited mainstream publications, to popular poetry and fiction, to text-based publicity stunts–dramatically transformed and revitalized the public sphere.

Chapman’s current research involves unearthing the uncollected fiction and journalism of Asian-North American author Edith Eaton (“Sui Sin Far”) and positioning her within the popular transnational print culture of the 1910s. Becoming “Sui Sin Far”: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s University Press) assembles 70 uncollected texts written during her writerly apprenticeship in Montreal and Jamaica, before she had taken up the pseudonym “Sui Sin Far” and moved to the U.S.. Another volume, which collects her uncollected mature work, and a monograph that looks at Eaton’s use of the “Afro-Asian analogy” are works-in-progress.

Chapman has edited several books. Her anthology Treacherous Texts: US Suffrage Literature 1846-1946 (Rutgers UP, 2011), co-edited with Angela Mills, won the Susan Koppelman Prize for best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies in popular culture in 2012. Her Sentimental Men: Masculinity and the Politics of Affect in American Culture (U of California P, 1999), co-edited with Glenn Hendler, challenged the association of sentimentality exclusively with femininity in studies of American culture. Chapman is the editor of an edition of Charles Brockden Brown’s 1799 novel, Ormond (Broadview 1999). She is also the author of articles about suffrage print culture, popular newspaper poetry, gothic literature, mourning, sentimentality, parlor performance, and the relationship between aesthetics and politics, which have been published in American Literary History, American Quarterly, MELUS, Legacy, ATQ, Wide Angle, Canadian Review of American Studies, Canadian Literature, Amerikastudien and Studies in American Indian Literatures. The quality of her research has been acknowledged by numerous fellowships and awards, including three Standard Research Grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a Killam Fellowship; she has won the American Studies Association’s Yasuo Sakibara Prize twice.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of English, University of British Columbia