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Early American Matters Caucus

“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?

We say Yes, and we relish that prospect.  Why don’t you Join Us? Why don’t you Sign-Up for our e-mail list-serve?

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L.A., here we come: our two “sponsored sessions” plus. . .

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:

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‘tis the season: time to VOTE

Dear colleagues,

‘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,
to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), with VOTING as your subject
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 _________

  Looking forward,

—Dennis Moore

p.s. if the pdf / jpg / tif doesn’t materialize here, please visit our Facebook page OR e-mail me, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), and I’ll be happy to send you the particulars

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our Reception, our business meeting, and those sessionS!

Hi, everyone. Please be sure this Reception is on your calendar for NEXT Saturday, November 23:

  6:00-8:00 p.m., at THE BOARD ROOM,
    1737 Connecticut Ave., NW

Yes, it’ll be there Instead Of at the conference hotel, and yes, we’re again co-sponsoring the reception with our friends in the A.S.A.‘s Environment + Culture Caucus—plus for the first time, the U. of Aberdeen and the Early Caribbean Society are co-sponsoring, too!

Perusing details about the two sessions we’ve designated, by that vote back in the summer, as “Sponsored by the Early American Matters Caucus,” AND about numerous other early-American-flavored sessions AND about our business meeting is simple:  simply visit our low-tech website, earlyamericanmatters.fsu.edu, where there’s a link, up top, to “Looking ahead to our tenth A.S.A.!”

  Looking forward,

—Dennis Moore

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book-prize news + reminders about our caucus’s presence next month

Dear colleagues,

  Please join me in congratulating our friend + colleague + co-proposer, back in the summer of ‘004, of the A.S.A.‘s Early American Matters Caucus:

Annette Kolodny will receive the Thomas Lyon Award
at next week’s Western Literature Association meeting,
in Berkeley, recognizing her _In Search of First Contact_
as “best book in Western Studies published in 2012.”

At next month’s A.S.A. conference in D.C., there’ll be an interdisciplinary colloquy on this book:  it’ll be Saturday afternoon, November 23, a few hours after the panel “Commons Democracy,” chaired by Dana Nelson and featuring papers by Joanna Brooks, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Melissah Pawlikowski.

  Both those sessions carry the designation “Sponsored by the Early American Matters Caucus,” based on our vote this past June—and both appear in the LIST that’s available via the “LOOKING AHEAD TO ‘013” link at the top of the front screen at our Caucus’s low-maintenance website, earlyamericanmatters.fsu.edu.

  Yes, that LIST include a bunch of early-American-flavored panels AND our Caucus’s annual business meeting (midday that Saturday) AND—ta-da!—the RECEPTION we’re co-sponsoring with the A.S.A.‘s Environment and Culture Caucus and with the Early Caribbean Society and the University of Aberdeen.

  Looking forward,


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our two “Sponsored by. . .” sessions this November

Hey, and here’s hoping this Juneteenth finds you well, each and all.  Behold the results of our recent voting:

Responses to the ballot I circulated at the tip-end of May, listing all 12 of the early-American-flavored sessions that are on this year’s program!, identified these sessions as the two we’re designating as “Sponsored by the Early American Matters Caucus”:

(Anna Brickhouse, Annette Kolodny, Birgit
Brander Rasmussen, Lauren Coats, Lisa
Brooks, Ralph Bauer and Shelley Fisher
Fishkin, with yrs truly as moderator), 17
first-choice votes and 5 second-choice votes

(Dana Nelson, chair and commentator; papers
by Joanna Brooks, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon
and Melissah Pawlikowski), 5 first-choice
votes and 7 second-choice votes

Now, not one but two heads-up moments:

Heads up:
At this year’s A.S.A. conference - November 21-24, back in D.C.—our caucus will again co-sponsor a reception with the A.S.A.‘s Environment and Culture Caucus, and this year we welcome a new co-sponsor: the Early Caribbean Society, so cheers!
Heads up:
At our business meeting, this November, I’ll remind everyone who’s planning to propose an early-American-flavored session for the A.S.A.‘s 2014 conference (early November, in L.A.) to include “EARLY AMERICAN STUDIES” as one of the three keywords describing your proposed panel, please + thank you, and for now,



p.s. as a reminder, here’re the good people currently serving on our Caucus’s Working.Comm:
Sari Altschuler, U. of South Florida
Kathleen Brian, George Washington U.
Paul Erickson, American Antiquarian Society
Toni Wall Jaudon, Hendrix C.
D.M., Florida State U.
Sally Promey, Yale U.
Peter Reed, U. of Mississippi
Karen Salt, U. of Aberdeen

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