“EARLY AMERICAN MATTERS” Caucus within the American Studies Association
A question that this title raises is “By ‘early,’ do you mean pre-1900? Prior to the so-called American Renaissance? pre-1800? Maybe even pre-European contact?,” and a legitimate answer would be Yes, as in Yes to all of the above.
We know that a number of our colleagues who attend A.S.A. conferences—as well as many more prospective participants—have research interests touching on those earlier periods. We know that alongside the re-invigoration of American Studies during the past two decades there has been a flourishing of interdisciplinary attention to America before the Civil War, before the Revolutionary War, before slavery came to the English colonies, before there were European colonies throughout these continents. We know too that many of today’s most fiercely contested issues have their sources in the first two centuries of European settlement. We also know that as scholarship flourishes around such questions and issues, it not only crosses these fairly arbitrary temporal boundaries (1900, the 1850s, 1800, and so on) but also takes us across traditional disciplinary lines.
We also know, alas, that for the past decade and more, the programs of A.S.A. conferences have included a paucity of matters early American. For us, matters include everything from the material culture of pre-European contact archeology to the pseudo-scientific racial theories of the antebellum decades; in short, we look at matters textual, ideological, material, and historical. Another question, then, suggests itself:
Shouldn’t the A.S.A.‘s menu of caucuses include one
whose title bears these keywords EARLY and MATTERS?
Again this year, the Early American Matters Caucus and the Environment and Culture Caucus are staging a joint reception at the big A.S.A. conference: Friday, October 9, 4:30-6:30 at Epicure (502 W. Queen St. W, http://www.theepicure.ca). Again this year, Paul Erickson has arranged for the American Antiquarian Society to be a major underwriter—and this year our pals in the E+C Caucus are getting York University’s Faculty of EnvironmentalStudies to co-sponsor this event! Many thanks to Sari Altschuler, now of Emory U., who has helped figure out the logistics, in her role as our caucus’s co-choreographer. Looking forward!
Good morning, and here we go with the results of our Caucus’s recent vote to pick two sessions, from among the eight early-American-flavored ones that’re on this October’s program, to designate as “Sponsored by the Early American Matters Caucus”:
“Colloquy with Ed Baptist on THE HALF HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD”
“Troubling Region: The Problem of Geography in Teaching ‘the Early Americas’”
—D.M., co-choreographer with Sari Altschuler of the EARLY AMERICAN MATTERS Caucus
Again this year we’re having a Reception / CASH BAR with our pals from the A.S.A.‘s Environment and Culture Caucus and from the American Antiquarian Society: 6:00-7:30 FRIDAY, November 7, at the Gallery Bar inside the overflow hotel, the Biltmore.
REMINDER of the two sessions that we voted to designate as “Sponsored by the Early American Matters Caucus,” PLUS reminder about the three other early-American-flavored sessions on that ballot AND a reminder about our Business Meeting, Thursday morning, November 6:
‘Tis the season: time to vote on which 2 sessions to designate, on the program for this November’s A.S.A. conference in LA, as “Sponsored by the Early American Matters Caucus.”
Again this time around, Peter Reed has compiled a list of the early-American-flavored sessions that are On The Program; that list of five sessions is in the attached pdf, along with this prompt about participating between now and the end of April, please + thank you:
Simply send an e-mail, no later than midday Wednesday, April 30,
line and with this crucial info in the body of your e-mail:
My FIRST preference from this list is __________
My SECOND preference from this list is _________