2023-24 ISGS Business Meeting Minutes

2023-24 International Susan Glaspell Society Business Meeting Minutes

The meeting took place online on 10 January 2024 via Zoom.

In attendance: President Emeline Jouve, VP Martha Carpentier, Membership and Finance Officer Drew Eisenhauer, EC members J. Ellen Gainor, Jeffery Kennedy, Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Honorary Member Alex Roe, members Sharon Friedman, Shoshana Milgram Knapp, Henning Bochert

President’s Report

The President thanked the executive committee for their hard work in the past year. She enumerated ISGS accomplishments such as the two translation grants awarded to Henning Bochert for Die Rose Im Sand, Stories and to Emeline Jouve as editor of Susan Glaspell Trifles/Peccadilles, The Outside/De l’autre côté, Woman’s Honor/L’Honneur d’une femme. In addition, she praised book publications since 2022, including Noelia Hernando-Real’s Rosas en la arena. Los relatos de Susan Glaspell, Marcia Noe’s Three Midwestern Playwrights: How Floyd Dell, George Cram Cook, and Susan Glaspell Transformed American Theatre, and the landmark publication of J. Ellen Gainor’s epic Cambridge University Press collection of essays, Susan Glaspell in Context, to which so many ISGS members contributed.

ISGS Twentieth Anniversary Conference

The President went on to mention the ISGS conference grant given to fund the 20th anniversary conference at Toulouse-Jean Jaures University, 7-8 December 2023, entitled the ACT/International Susan Glaspell Society Conference: Susan Glaspell Past & Present.” The conference, planned and hosted by President Emeline Jouve, was a huge success. Papers were given by J. Ellen Gainor (Cornell Univ.), Thierry Dubost (Univ. de Caen), Amanda J. Nelson (Virginia Tech Univ.), Noelia Hernando-Real (Univ. Autónoma de Madrid), Alessandra Calanchi (Univ. of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy), Nieves Alberola Crespo (Universitat Jaume I de Castelló, Spain), Nora Grimes (Trinity College), Alex Roe (Metropolitan Playhouse, NY), and Milbre Burch (playwright and independent scholar). A video was shown of an earlier interview about the founding of the Society in 2003 with co-founders Martha C. Carpentier and Barbara Ozieblo, conducted by Noelia Hernando-Real.

In addition, the conference featured a bilingual reading of Trifles directed by Anne Cameron with the students of the UT2J Theatre Club (Soeurs Fatales), as well as a reading of Close the Book, directed by Alex Roe, which may be viewed on his YouTube channel @alexroevideo (or see link from ISGS Facebook page).

The President concluded her remarks by noting that the ISGS Facebook page, launched in January 2015, now has 328 followers, as of December 2023.

Vice-President’s and Membership & Finances Officer’s Reports

Membership & Finance Officer Drew Eisenhauer reported that in the M&T Bank Account, located in the U.S., ISGS has $4,886.84. He noted that these funds are marked as savings and generally not used for operations, which thus far have been funded out of membership dues, collected in the Paypal account. VP Martha Carpentier reported that there is currently $1,375 in the Paypal account. Funds are getting low, as well as membership. Drew reported that while the ISGS has 50 members on the books, only 25 are actual paying members. He announced that it is time to launch the biannual membership drive in 2024. He urged all members to appeal to any colleagues or participants at conferences to join. In an addendum to these minutes, and as a result of these direct appeals, within two weeks of the meeting four new members had joined, including one Lifetime member, Amanda Nelson. This has added $407.82 to our account (noting that Paypal withdraws transactional fees for each) for a total now of $1,782.

VP Martha Carpentier (webmaster) noted that the publications for 2023 had been added to the website and that she is updating the Links page. She urged members to send her links to their own or related websites.

The group then discussed the crisis in shrinking membership and possible solutions, such as expanding membership to include more performing arts people and promoting Glaspell’s short fiction and novels. Kirsten Shepherd-Barr noted that she is attending the British Society for Literature and Science (SLSA) conference in April in Birmingham at which she could promote Susan Glaspell’s work and the Society if she had some flyers to handout. It was agreed that Martha would send the old flyers to Jeff Kennedy to update, so they can be available for members for recruiting. J. Ellen Gainor offered to remind everyone who contributed to Susan Glaspell in Context to renew or join the Society. Martha mentioned the problems associated with teaching Susan Glaspell in a period of broadening generalization in academic fields. Drew suggested developing a survey to find out who is actually teaching Susan Glaspell today and what they are teaching. Maybe circulate it at ALA?

Finally, officers received an email from Angela Constantinidou, artistic director/creator of a theatre ensemble in Cyprus, who would like to produce two of Glaspell’s one-acts (Trifles and The People). She was requesting online talk back participation or a short lecture from ISGS members, as well as a plea for funds. The group discussed the possibility of creating a performance grant, like the translation grant, to help fund fledging theatre groups to stage Glaspell’s work. The group discussed the affordability of another grant and how much could be offered. It was decided to offer $250 and to lower the translation grant, now at $300, also to $250 (it has since been decided to leave both at $300). J. Ellen Gainor and Noelia Hernando-Real were asked to draft an application modeled on the translation grant application they penned previously. The addition of this grant has since been approved by the EC and accepted via email vote by the ISGS membership.

Future Plans for 2024 and 2025

Spring 2024 ALA conference in Chicago: The ISGS is planning a 3-paper panel for the 35th annual conference of the American Literature Association being held in Chicago from Thursday-Sunday, May 23-26, 2024. Jeffery Kennedy is organizing the event and chairing the panel. His CFP solicited topics ranging over any aspect of Glaspell’s works, life, and ideas, her relationship to other dramatists and thinkers, or her relevance to contemporary issues. A reading directed by Cheryl Black of her dramatization of Glaspell’s novel Ambrose and Family is being planned as well. We discussed our past relationship with the “Five Dramatists Group” at ALA, being the Eugene O’Neill Society, the Thornton Wilder Society, the Edward Albee Society, and the Arthur Miller Society. Martha added that one of the perks the group got from Alfred Bendixen was no overlap in scheduling of our panels. Should we try to resurrect the connection? To be discussed further at the conference.

Spring 2025 O’Neill conference in Athens: Once again the ISGS is planning to join hands with the Eugene O’Neill Society and participate in the 12th International Eugene O’Neill Conference, in Athens, Greece, May 27-31, 2025. The conference will include a trip to Delphi, which is being planned by the ISGS and hosted by Jeffery Kennedy. Jeff updated us on the sites to be visited.

Finally, Emeline Jouve and Noelia Hernando-Real announced plans to issue a post-Toulouse Conference CFP and to edit the papers for the journal Coup de Théâtre in 2025.


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