About the Program
Each summer since 2013, UNC-Chapel Hill has hosted the Jane Austen Summer Program, a four-day symposium dedicated to all things Austen. Based on The Dickens Universe hosted by UC Santa Cruz, JASP has developed its own tone. Each year focuses on a separate novel; since it has now covered each of Austen’s major novels, JASP has expanded to her juvenalia, short fictions, influences, and afterlives. Neither a scholarly conference nor a fan club, JASP is a unique event that brings together scholars, enthusiasts, graduate students, undergraduates, and high school teachers.
The graduate students’ roles vary in JASP: we are in charge of everything from organizing registration, transportation, and meals to leading discussion groups, presenting “context corners”, leading small discussion groups, participating in panels – and even acting in original theatricals!
JASP 2019: Pride and Prejudice & Its Afterlives
By 2019, JASP had completed symposiums for each of Austen’s six full-length novels. For the seventh-year of JASP, the decision was made to return to Pride and Prejudice, but with a particular focus on its adaptations, remediations, and enduring appeal. This JASP was particularly special because of the participation of contemporary authors Sonali Dev, Soniah Kamal, and Uzma Jalaluddin, each of whom had recently published an Austen adaptation.
This year, I also curated a rare books exhibit for the event. I selected twenty items from UNC’s special collections, wrote exhibit labels for each, and was on-hand to talk more with exhibit visitors. My exhibit was concerned with tracing Austen’s reception history through the nineteenth century and with re-contextualizing historical artifacts and influences that been removed from its legacy. It’s impossible to choose a favorite object, but selections that display the range and strength of UNC’s collection include a first edition of Pride and Prejudice; selections from a thirty-year run of pocket-books kept by a woman contemporary to Jane Austen and her heroines; and a traveling medical kit, similar to what would have been used to treat Jane Bennett.
JASP 2018: Northanger Abbey and Frankenstein
In the June 2018 JASP focusing on Northanger Abbey and Frankenstein, I presented a 10-minute “Context Corner”, meant to introduce participants to some historical event or idea associated with the year’s novel(s). My Context Corner was entitled, “‘Remember the … age in which we live’: Science, Technology, and Regency Society.” You may view and share both the handout, including discussion questions, that I developed, along with the video content of the actual talk.