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 (i.e. suffrage activism, print culture, parlor theatricals, parades), literary production, and politics in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America.
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 (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2016) 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.
Her Making Noise, Making News: US Suffrage Print Culture in Modernism (Oxford UP, 2014), winner of the 2015 SSAWW Book Prize and the 2015 CAAS-Robert K. Martin Book Prize and a finalist for the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize, 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 has edited several other 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.
In addition to her teaching and research, Chapman is an experienced administrator, playing leadership roles both at the University of British Columbia and in national and international organizations. In the Department of English at the University of British Columbia, she has chaired the English Majors program and served on the Graduate Committee as MA advisor, TA Coordinator, and RA coordinator. The TA training program she inaugurated has been funded annually by the Vice-President of Teaching and Research and held up as exemplary at the University. Recently, she established a departmental Facebook group, and currently edits The Word, an annual e-newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of English.
Beyond UBC, Professor Chapman has served for three years on the international committee of the American Studies Association and for eight years as the Western Representative for the Canadian Association of American Studies. She has given invited talks in China, the U.S. and Canada. She is a founding editorial board member for the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies and a frequent manuscript assessor for University of California Press, Palgrave Press, Broadview Press, University of Tennessee Press, PMLA, Modernism/Modernity, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Eighteenth-century Fiction, Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, Nineteenth-century Feminisms, MELUS, Legacy, Studies in the Novel, English Studies in Canada, Canadian Review of American Studies, Victorian Review, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, Mosaic, and ARIEL.
Chapman is fluent in French and lives in Vancouver with her husband and two sons.