About the Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive

The Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive (MFTA) was founded in 2016 from an idea and research interest of Sonia Di Loreto. Di Loreto, thanks to a series of conversations and collaborations with Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, the founding Co-Director of Northeastern University's NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks , was able to create the site with the aim of calling attention to Margaret Fuller’s international work. Thanks to the help of faculty member Ryan Cordell, and a team of graduate students including Sarah Payne, William Bond, and Alanna Prince, the MFTA was built. The initial run of the site was Omeka based. Even though there were many positives to running the site with the Omeka platform, as of 2019 the site is now WordPress based, using the CERES Toolkit. Almost all of the original material remains, with additional features that bring the site to life.

While many projects concerning Margaret Fuller focus on her work in the American Northeast, the MFTA aims to digitally map networks of publication involving Margaret Fuller and the circles of European political and cultural figures she came in contact with during the four years she spent in Europe (1846-1850). With the term transnational we intend to invoke a praxis and methodology of decentering the nation that does not consider the latter the basic unit of analysis. Instead, we focus on interconnections: the multiple directions and circulation of ideas that go beyond national borders or national character. Although we take into account different locations, both in Europe and the United States, our project more specifically emphasizes the movement among these different sites.

In doing so, the MFTA has two main goals for its users:

1. To open up new avenues of research on Fuller and her circle. As mentioned, much of the information on Fuller is based on her time in the US, and does not always engage with her important work overseas. Fuller was a keen observer of and participant in Italy’s Risorgimento and other important political events across Europe. Her work as a journalist helped make others (both in the US and in Europe) aware of foreign events, and she also facilitated the construction of important political relationships among several figures that insured knowledge could be disseminated throughout Europe.

2. To add depth to research project already in existence. Whether you are working on the work of Fuller in the US or working on the life of Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso, this site could be an excellent resource to help one add depth to the project, and to think about unexpected interconnections and intellectual relations.

Regardless of one’s research interests, just by paying more attention to Fuller’s time in Europe, scholars can get a stronger and more encompassing sense of Fuller’s goals, intentions, and values. The MFTA aims at showing the different trajectories of both periodical publications and personal exchanges within a transatlantic mediascape. And in fact the majority of the letters and articles included in our archive contains a much larger horizon than the common national perspective.