Conference Theme: Bold Women

Saturday, February 29, 2020

9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Held in the Brooks Complex of Wilson College

Chambersburg, PA

Sponsored by Wilson’s M.A. in Humanities Program

The theme of this year’s Wilson College Orr Forum is inspired by the 150th anniversary of the founding of Wilson College and its long history educating women as a former women's college. During the academic year '19-'20, the College is celebrating its past, present, and future, and we invite all interested scholars to join us in exploring the concepts, themes, and images conjured by the phrase “bold women.”

As a descriptor, “bold” implies courage and conviction; a “bold” person acts, not hesitating in the face of impediments, whether they be physical, cultural, or social. “Bold” can also mean flashy, or showy, or something—or someone—beyond conventional thought, action, or deed. 

This conference seeks to explore how the various fields represented by the Humanities (or, indeed, fields tertiary to the Humanities) explore our relationships to boldness, especially—given the history of Wilson College—boldness in, the boldness of, and boldness about women. Founded in 1869 as an institution dedicated to the education of young women in literature, science and the arts, the Oct. 19, 1870, edition of the Franklin Repository stated that the goal of the College "will not be to cram the minds of pupils with facts, but to spend the time in development of thought so that the pupils will learn to think for themselves, and thus become leaders, instead of followers, in society."

The goal of this conference, too, is to explore leaders, not followers, in society. We seek to interrogate how bold women—whether actual or fictional, historical or contemporary, leaders in science, politics, literature, art, etc.—have shaped the worlds around them and around us. We hope to bring together a group of Humanities students and scholars from around the region to articulate, understand, and explore boldness and women from as many perceptions, epochs, and points of view as possible.

Faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars are all invited to submit.

Undergraduate students may also submit abstracts, but their submission must include a letter of support from a current faculty member at their institution. (For more on this, please contact the conference director.)

To submit a presentation, please send an abstract of approximately 200 words to the email address below.

Send abstracts to:

Dr. Michael G. Cornelius

Program Director, MA in Humanities

Wilson College

Submit the abstract as either a .rtf, .doc, or .docx file, or simply place it into the text of the email itself.

Please be sure that your abstract include your full name, your affiliated institution (if there is none, simply note that), your email, and the full title of your presentation.

Individual presentations will last no more than 15 minutes; panels of up to 3 individuals may be submitted as well. Special panels or creative approaches are happily considered; please contact the conference director for more information. Each conference participant may submit only one abstract. 

Abstracts are due by JANUARY 15, 2020.

The conference is sponsored by Wilson’s M.A. in Humanities program, in conjunction with the Orr Forum 2019-20 Common Hour and Lecture and Performance Series.

CAMPUS MAP and PARKING: On Saturday, all parking lots at Wilson are open to all. The best parking lot for our facility can be found in Lot P1 and P2 on the campus parking map. Additional logistical information can be found on our campus map.

DIRECTIONS: You can find directions to Wilson College at: Our address is 1015 Philadelphia Avenue, Chambersburg, PA, 17201.

HOTELS and OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS: Though this is a one-day conference, you may wish to spend one or two evenings at a local hotel or bed and breakfast. You can find local hotel accommodation information here:

MEALS: Your conference registration fee will provide for lunch. Lunch will be served buffet style (vegetarian options available.) Snacks and drinks will also be available throughout the day.

MEDIA: The College will provide media stations that will include PowerPoint and DVD capabilities plus projector in each conference room. These stations are connected to the Internet. If you wish to show a PowerPoint presentation, please bring it with you on a flash drive or save it to an accessible Internet site. Connecting other laptops to the College’s media stations is difficult and laborious, and WiFi may be spotty available in your appointed room.


All presentations should last no more than 15 minutes (that is approximately 7 pages of text typed, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font). Panelists will be placed into groups of 3. All panels will last one hour, providing ten minutes for questions. If you are submitting a full panel, please note which of the 3 presenters will act as panel chair and what order you would prefer to present in.

REGISTRATION and FEES: The conference fee is $30. Please make your electronic payment here.

Questions? Contact