“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?
Good morning, and noodge noodge: there’s a cool link at this screen—http://www.theasa.net/topic_networking—that lets us post a description of a panel we’re going to propose for the Denver A.S.A. I did so a short while ago, and I’ve gotten an automated message saying “Done,” so I went to the URL above, and there it is, one of a handful so far. FYI, the paragraph I posted begins like so—
“Cooking up an interdisciplinary roundtable on
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon’s NEW WORLD DRAMA. . .”
—and ends as you’d expect: “. . .and to inquire about being part of this proposal, please e-mail me BY JANUARY 12. . . .” Yep, there’s quite the element of Tick-Tock involved!, as we slide toward the hollydays, surrounded by blue books and various deadlines and fearmongering mixed in with all the commercials, and then toward that notoriously unforgiving deadline for turning the actual proposal in!, so do let’s all be thinking about absolutely first-rate panels that’ll help maintain a certain early-American flavor in these fine and, yeah, by-default presentist conferences! Just sayin’—D.M.
and there’s so much to look forward to at next week’s A.S.A.! Meanwhile, here’s text that materialized earlier today at the EARLY AMERICAN MATTERS Caucus’s Facebook page—
NEXT WEEK’s A.S.A. in Toronto will have a bunch of early-American-flavored moments, as you’ll see in the update that’s now on display at our low-tech website, http://www.earlyamericanmatters.fsu.edu. Please note:
<> our Business Meeting will be on Saturday, Oct. 10, but not at 8:00 [a.m.] as originally scheduled; instead we'll meet at 11:30 (so yeah, please watch [at our Facebook page] and at the website for details about where : )
<> meanwhile, yep, once again we’re hosting a fine RECEPTION / CASH BAR with our friends in the Environment and Culture Caucus, on whose behalf York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies is co-sponsoring this year’s event, along with the American Antiquarian Society! Won’t you join us?
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.