Fielder’s Trouble Begins Lecture Now Available

The 2024 Spring Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) continued on Wednesday, May 8 at Quarry Farm and will continue each Wednesday through May. The lectures are free and open to the public and recordings of the lectures will be posted to the CMTS website.

Brigitte Fielder, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented Genealogies of Mothering and Mammying in Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson.”

Fielder explores the character of Roxy, the mixed-race Black mother of Pudd’nhead Wilson, who changes her child’s place with the child of her enslaver. Roxy achieves the swap by performing the roles of mother and mammy, respectively, projecting race onto each child by virtue of their racialized relationships to her. Fielder believes this novel provides an illustration of how race is not simply constructed within individual bodies or identities but through racialized relationships. 

Brigitte Fielder is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America (2020) and co-author (with Jonathan Senchyne) of Against a Sharp White Background: Infrastructures of African American Print (2019) Her essays have appeared in journals including African American ReviewAmerican Literary History, American QuarterlyCivil War HistoryJ19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century AmericanistsJournal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, The Lion and Unicorn, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, TSWL: Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and various edited collections.

The Trouble Begins Lectures are open to the public and begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Quarry Farm. The Series will continue on Wednesdays throughout May with recordings of each posted to the CMTS website.

See Additional 2024 Spring Trouble Begins Lectures:

  • Wed., May 15: “The Mixed-Race Fiction of Charles Chesnutt and Mark Twain” by Rafael Walker, Baruch College, City University of New York.
  • Wed., May 22: “Mark Twain’s 70th at Delmonico’s: The Dawn of a New Era in American Literature” by Tess Chakkalakal, Bowdoin College.
  • Wed., May 29: “Mark Twain’s Caste Studies in Following the Equator” by Susan Gillman, University of California, Santa Cruz. 

About The Trouble Begins Lecture Series

In 1984, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies initiated a lecture series, The Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series. The title came from the handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The first lectures were presented in 1985. By invitation, Mark Twain scholars present lectures in the fall and spring of each year, in the Barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.