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“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?
[ here’s the PLEA I posted yesterday via our Caucus’s listserve ]
Hey and hmmmmmm, IF, repeat IF you’ve gotten word from this year’s A.S.A. Program.Comm that they’ve accepted your proposal for a panel with early-American-flavored content, then Congrats! and now PLEASE do send me your panel’s title via e-mail, dmoore [at] fsu.edu, simply so I can include it in the list I’ll now compile to serve as the BALLOT by which those of us in the A.S.A.‘s Early American Matters Caucus can vote for the two panels that I’ll then tell the A.S.A. command module to designate, on the ‘013 program, as “Sponsored By. . . .”
To see a note about our Caucus’s business meeting at San Juan—which included brainstorming some possible topics that would address the ‘013 theme, “Beyond the Logic of Debt, Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent”—please visit our low-tech website, earlyamericanmatters.fsu.edu, where you’ll see this fairly tantalizing link, up top: “looking ahead to ‘013.” Another way of keeping up is via our Fb page. Well, happy ho-ho-hollydays, each and all!
We look forward to co-sponsoring a reception, again in 2013, with our friends in the Environment and Culture Caucus; it’s a tradition that goes back to the 2009 A.S.A., also in D.C.
Blog review of Annette Kolodny’s IN SEARCH OF FIRST CONTACT: THE VIKINGS OF VINLAND, THE PEOPLES OF THE DAWNLAND, AND THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ANXIETY OF DISCOVERY that really “gets it.”
Check it out!