It was with a heavy heart last Spring that we postponed our bi-annual 2020 Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia. Fast forward a year and we are still not able to meet in-person safely or responsibly for our seminal Jane Austen event. However, we are not going postpone again. Instead, JASNA Eastern PA, along with our co-sponsor, The Free Library of Philadelphia, are excited to announce that for 2021, Jane Austen Day in Philadelphia will go virtual and become…

Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia!

Jane Austen in the Modern Age

On Saturday, March 13th and Saturday, March 20th, we will be hosting a multi-day event, that continues the much-loved tradition of our bi-annual event, just expanded into a new 2-weekend virtual format! We are excited to have four amazing plenary talks, all focused on the 2021 Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia central theme of Jane Austen in the Modern Age.

The 2021 Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia explores and celebrates Austen’s significant and enduring influence on numerous contemporary disciplines and societal issues. Our critically acclaimed and esteemed speakers will focus on Austen’s impact in the modern age by exploring a myriad of timely topics ranging from racism, fanfiction, video games, and costume design. Each talk will include an interactive Q&A session with the speakers, and each day will include a special giveaway (or maybe even two).

The response we received from our 2020 online Teatime events has been amazing. We are very happy that so many of our fellow Janites enjoyed them! We also know that many people are still dealing with personal and financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this, I am pleased to announce that both days of our Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia will be FREE and they are open to anyone interested in Jane Austen!

To register for either or both days, please visit the following links. Please take note that if you want to attend BOTH days, you will need to register for EACH DAY separately.

Register for Day One – March 13th at 1:00pm Eastern (GMT-5):

Register for Day Two – March 20th at 1:00pm Eastern (GMT-5):

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining this online event.

Here is our Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia Speaker/Talk line-up for each day:

Day One
Saturday, March 13, 2021 @1:00pm Eastern (GMT-5)

Deborah Yaffe
“Which Jane Austen? Fans, Fandom, and Fanfiction in the Age of Austen-Appreciation”
Jane Austen isn’t just a popular writer: she’s a writer whose fans hold widely divergent views of what she cares about, what she stands for, and what she’s asking us to think, and think about. When you buy a Jane Austen scented candle, consult online lists of her lessons for twenty-first century living, or pick up an Austen-inspired romance novel, you’re meeting very different versions of Jane Austen. What do these clashing interpretations tell us about her -- and about ourselves?

Dr. Emily C. Friedman & Dr. Emily M.N. Kugler
“Before Bridgerton: Austen-Inspired Games and the Challenges of Representation”
In this talk, Em (Friedman) and Emily (Kugler) will be your guides through the world of Austen-inspired indie video games: from dating simulators and visual novels to satirical strategy games. Kugler and Friedman will show how to access, play, and read these games, with special attention for the ways in which these indie games anticipate the challenges faced by big-budget film and TV Regency adaptations.

Day Two
Saturday, March 20, 2021 @1:00pm Eastern (GMT-5)

Wendy Jones
“Caste-ing Characters in Jane Austen”
At the 2020 AGM, one of the issues discussed in a plenary panel on Reading Austen’s Juvenilia in the Twenty-First century was the need to extend Austen’s readership to a more diverse audience. Along similar lines, a special issue of Persuasions On-Line, to be published this summer (2021) seeks to explore Austen through the perspective of race and other minoritized identities subject to inequity including “ethnicity, gender identity, ability/disability, culture, and class” identities. If we look for overt references to race in Austen’s works, we find Miss Lambe, a “mulatto,” in Sanditon and Sir Thomas’s business dealings in the West Indies, certainly involving race slavery, in Mansfield Park. Austen’s relevance to race and by extension to a readership inheres not in her representation of race per se, but in her portrayal of the attitudes and practices that sustain racism and other forms of oppressive othering—what Isabel Wilkerson has called “casteism.” Casteism pertains to socioeconomic status in Austen’s novels, but its mechanisms are the same as those that have sustained racism throughout modern Anglo-American history. The representation of casteism in addition to—and opposed to—less toxic forms of prejudice explains the tremendous popularity of Pride and Prejudice with authors who identify as people of the global majority, as seen in their translations of this novel into other cultures and times.

Alden O’Brien
“Costuming the Regency from the Bennets to the Bridgertons: Historic Sources and Designers’ Choices”
Costumes in period dramas not only set the scene, but function as visual clues to characters’ status and relationships. They also communicate the director’s ideas of mood and theme, as interpreted by the designer. Designers balance “accuracy”—an elusive goal—with creativity and, often, budget limitations to come up with a more or less successful Look. This lecture analyses costume designs in Austen and other Regency-era adaptations including the recent Bridgerton series. What historic sources (portraits, fashion plates, and extant garments) were used, and where and why did some designers depart—to smaller or greater degree—into artistic license? What can we “winkle out” as to designers’ intended messages? After this talk, you, like Mrs. Jennings in the 1995 film, will be “terribly good at winkling”: in this case, deciphering costume “codes” used by designers of period films of any era.

Our Speakers

We will have five outstanding speakers to delight us on our two Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia:

Deborah Yaffe Deborah Yaffe, an award-winning newspaper journalist and author, has been a passionate Jane Austen fan since first reading Pride and Prejudice at age ten. Her second book, Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, was published in August 2013.

Yaffe holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Yale University and a master’s degree in politics, philosophy, and economics from Oxford University in England, which she attended on a Marshall Scholarship. She works as a freelance writer, has two grown children, and lives in central New Jersey with her husband and her Jane Austen Action Figure.

Follow her on Twitter (@DeborahYaffe); visit her website and blog,; and drop by the Among the Janeites Facebook page (

Dr. Emily C. Friedman Dr. Emily C. Friedman is an associate professor of English at Auburn University whose work on Austen has appeared in many courses, invited talks, podcast appearances, and publications including a special issue of Romantic Circles Pedagogy on Teaching Austen edited with Devoney Looser. She is a proud two-time Chawton House Library fellow, where she began her current book project, tentatively titled Before Fanfiction: A Literary History of Alternative Circulation in the Age of Print. In it she tells the stories of authors who chose to share their work outside of commercial print, from Austen's juvenilia to modern fanfiction. She is also creating a digital collection of unpublished manuscript fiction (1750-1900) to make these stories available to readers. Dr. Friedman brings her deep love of the eighteenth-century to her love of games of all kinds, including her Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the eighteenth-century. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she and Dr. Kugler began Playing the 18th Century, research project with a Twitch stream, academic workshop, and several articles in process, including one on representation in Austen-inspired games.

Dr. Emily M.N. Kugler As an assistant professor of English at an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Dr. Emily M.N. Kugler introduces Howard University students to Jane Austen as a key author in the study of women writers and readers in the Atlantic World. In her classes, Austen is read alongside the works of abolitionist activists, Caribbean novelists, and present-day consumer culture. At the 2017 annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, Dr. Mary Favret (John Hopkins University) highlighted Dr. Kugler's experience teaching Austen to different demographics of students in the session "Jane Austen at Two Hundred" as part of a larger discussion of the role of race in the college classroom. Dr. Kugler's current research includes Austen's relationship with publishers and representations of the navy within a larger project about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century white, Black and indigenous women as writers and readers in the British empire. During the pandemic, she is frequently found online, playing video games and Dungeons & Dragons with Dr. Friedman. They are working on a series of articles related to their Playing the 18th Century project, experimenting with different formats (Twine storytelling, Twitch streaming, workshops) to share their research on Austen-inspired games.

Wendy Jones Wendy Jones teaches literature and writing at Cornell and Syracuse University. She is also a practicing psychotherapist. She is the author of Jane on the Brain: Exploring the Science of Social Intelligence with Jane Austen (2017) and Consensual Fictions: Women, Liberalism and the English Novel (2005). She has published widely on the eighteenth and nineteenth-century novel in academic and popular venues and writes a blog, Intersubjective, on literature and psychology for Psychology Today.

Alden O'Brien Alden O'Brien is Curator of Costume and Textiles at the DAR Museum in Washington DC. She holds a BA in Art History from Barnard College and a MA in Museum Studies: Costume and Textiles from the Fashion Institute of Technology. O’Brien focuses on linking fashion and textile history to the decorative arts, literature, and other cultural trends. Her specialty is American and British clothing of Austen’s era, with a special interest in the history of childhood and children’s clothing. She has curated numerous costume and textile exhibitions, including the costume exhibition “‘An Agreeable Tyrant’: Fashion After the Revolution,” for the Washington DC AGM in 2016. She has given lectures at Colonial Williamsburg, the Winterthur Museum, Chawton Library, and at the AGMs in Los Angeles (2004), Louisville (2015), Williamsburg (2019), and will be presenting at the Cleveland AGM in 2020.

Jane Austen Quilt Raffle

In 2017, some of our amazing and generous Regional members in Cape May, New Jersey donated a beautiful hand-crafted quilt. In our humble attempt to do justice to their exquisite craftsmanship, the Region has decided to raffle off this one-of-a-kind heirloom. During the 2020 Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia event, we will finally give away this amazing quilt. If you would like a chance to win this quilt, you can either use the "Buy Now" button below to purchase a raffle ticket (or five), or you can purchase a raffle ticket (or five) at the 2020 Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia.

You can click the images below to view this exquisite quilt...or better yet come to the 2020 Jane Austen Day in Philadelphia to see it in-person!

Jane's Quilt #1 Jane's Quilt #2 Jane's Quilt #3 Jane's Quilt #4

You do not need to be present to win this quilt!

Jane Austen Quilt Raffle Tickets
First and Last Name for Entry
Email Address for Entry

Questions about Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia? Email Christopher Duda, the JASNA Eastern PA Regional Coordinator at

Jane Austen Days in Philadelphia is supported in part from funds provided by the JASNA Eastern PA Region and the generosity of the Free Library of Philadelphia.