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The War and Peace Studies Caucus will identify the analysis of violence and conflict as a primary field of study within American Studies scholarship and provide a dedicated space in which scholars interested in exploring how these issues intersect with the critical questions central to the study of American culture can share ideas, network, and collaborate to generate new directions for research and teaching. Recent scholarship that interrogates questions of transnationalism, imperialism, and borderlands studies, as well as that which seeks to historicize and explore the significance in American culture of the “War on Terror” and the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have led to much excellent work that critically engages these issues. However, scholars working on these issues often remain separated because their alignment with particular subfields and historical periods prohibits collaboration with scholars working on similar issues in other fields or with regard to other historical moments.

The War and Peace Studies Caucus will seek to bridge this gap by encouraging collaboration across subfields and historical periods to develop new directions for teaching and research regarding how issues of violence and conflict intersect with issues ranging from notions of patriotism and nationalism to the role of technology and religion in American life. We are interested in interrogating specific historical incidents, theoretical questions about violence and conflict, the relationship between the study of war and peace and other subfields in American Studies, and all other issues that allow us to critically interrogate both issues of war and peace and the larger question of the location of these issues within the American Studies project.

We are particularly interested in encouraging partnerships that will lead to increased consideration of how the methodological and theoretical approaches central to the study of war and peace are useful in producing new understandings of those topics, and, concurrently, how examining those intersections will lead to innovative understandings of the historical and contemporary significance of war and peace in American culture.

Contact information:

*Irene Garza, Department of American Studies
University of Texas, Austin(irene.garza@utexas.edu)

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ASA 2016

Greetings War & Peace Studies Caucus!
I hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there during what is usually quite a hectic time of the year for most of us. I am writing to give the annual update on the caucus’ activities and outline some of the potential panel ideas that we developed for ASA 2016.

ASA 2016

The Conference Theme for Next Year is “Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are” The full CFP can be accessed here [http://www.theasa.net/submit_a_proposal]. Submission site is now open a/o TODAY, December 1st.
Submission deadline: 11:59 PM (Pacific) on February 1, 2016.

Potential Panel Ideas/Topics of Discussion:

** “Base Culture/ Base Archipelago”:  Theme: “Homes/Not-Homes” What do we do with militarized sites like Guantanamo, Diego Garcia, Vieques, Okinawa, Guam….yields the question of “Who’s Home?” : How might we work with scholars in Indigenous Studies, Asian-Pacific Islander Studies, or Postcolonial Studies to critique proliferation of US military bases worldwide, consolidation of US Empire, displacement and erasure of Native communities, forms of resistance undertaken by local communities against military occupation/testing (Hawaii) → Militarism at Home or “Home & Away” ( or “go away”?) What does “base culture” look like and how it is reproduced? If interested in contributing to this panel or working with scholars, consider contacting: David Kieran [dkieran@washjeff.edu], Stacy Takacs [stacy.takacs@okstate.edu], or Kristin Ann Hass [kah@umich.edu]

* “Technologies of War”/ Science & Technology Studies (STS): What are the role of drones and emergent surveillance technologies in GWoT?; In what ways are drones and “omnipresent technologies” shaping new and expansive forms of warfare? If interested, contact Carrie Andersen [canders08@gmail.com]

*Keyword Roundtable: “Beyond Militarization” (Sovereignty, Biopolitics, Terror, Security); Discussion of reaching out to scholars like Jennifer Terry who works on medicalization of war trauma (PTSD, state-sanctioned war wounding, biomedical profiteering) and Joseph Masco (national security, militarization and affect). If interested contact Ken Macleish [ktmacleish@gmail.com]

★ WPSC Sponsored Panel+ Roundtable
  1) Militarizing the Domestic: PANEL
  2) Domesticating the Military: ROUNDTABLE

*Militarizing the Domestic: Military as engulfing social order and formerly non-military social spaces; militarization of law enforcement (e.g. Ferguson), permeation of militarized values in schools and recruitment (ROTC—Gina Perez’s new work?), sports (NFL), military as “civil religion” in contemporary discourses of gratitude (thank you for your service culture), proliferation of popular culture television shows about military: Coming Home (Lifetime, 2012); Enlisted (Fox 2014); The Night Shift (NBC 2014); Militarized animals/service dogs and veterans (“Dogs of War” , “Paws & Stripes”), commemorative spaces and memorials

*Domesticating the Military: How has gender and/or idea of “family” (spouses, children, pets) been mobilized to make comprehensible realities of military life or otherwise temper effects of war and war-making?  How does family make base life “comprehensible”? How has rhetoric of “home” sometimes become justification for violence (ie domestic violence rates on military bases), constructing the home as idealized space?  Keywords: Military Families; Homefront; Intimacy; Care-taking (“Wounded Warriors”? Nursing?) Children (Sesame Street & DoD collaboration; Michelle Obama’s “Joining Forces”/ Children’s & YA literature re: GWoT).

**There will be a specific CFP circulated soon for this panel+Roundtable. Please contact Andrea Gustavson with further inquiries: [agustavson@utexas.edu].

*Landscapes of War: In what ways can we think about or otherwise incorporate Denver, CO into conversations about “home” and landscapes of war? Denver, CO is home to Fort Carson, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, NORAD, etc. Perhaps reach out to scholars like Gretchen Heubener who works on militarized landscape of the West? If interested, contact Franny Nudelman [franny_nudelman@carleton.ca] or Rusty Bartels [rrbartels@ucdavis.edu]

ASA 2016—Special Events
* Workshop or Roundtable re: Military Research: During the Caucus meeting, many of us discussed our frustration with how difficult or sometimes “inscrutable” it feels to do military-related research. We discussed hosting a workshop with a collections specialist or archivist from NARA in Broomfield. I have reached out to them and they are happy to host a workshop at their facility, located about 35 min from downtown Denver, though they can only accommodate up to 40 participants. Likewise, they may be able to send an archivist to Denver to work with us. I will look further into this and report back.

*Teaching War/Teaching Violence Workshop: This may be for farther down the line, but Franny N brought up interesting idea for a roundtable about experiences teaching students in the current age of “Trigger Warnings.” What is the contemporary discourse around teaching and how might it lead to adversarial classroom politics?Conceiving of the classroom as domestic space, what does this mean re: “Triggers on Guns” (ie campus carry movement) and issues of safety, violence, and pedagogy?

*Kristin H discussed idea of a “graduate student mixer” as a way of introducing ourselves and the caucus to new and emerging scholars. Once the location for the conference has been finalized, we can look into doing a happy hour or mixer of some sort. Its always great to meet new folks, bring them in, and/or continue heightening the visibility of the Caucus.

There was much more discussed at the Caucus meeting in October, but I will save that for a separate blog post for later this week. For now, I sincerely hope we’re all taking care of ourselves and/or I look forward to hearing about the wonderful panel sessions that will emerge in the forthcoming weeks.

all best,
Irene Garza
WPSC Chair
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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News from the War & Peace Studies Caucus/ ASA 2015 is Near!

Greetings ASA War and Peace Studies Caucus!
I hope this message finds everyone well and in good spirits during this usually quite hectic time in the semester. As we all know, ASA 2015 is upon us! Here are a few notes/updates regarding next week’s conference.

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News from the War and Peace Studies Caucus & Preparing for ASA 2014

Hello ASA War and Peace Studies Caucus!

I hope that all of you have had restful winter breaks and that the new semester is beginning well. I am writing, perhaps a few weeks belatedly, to give my annual update on the caucus’ activities and outline some of the potential panel ideas that we developed for ASA 2014.

Caucus Leadership
I have decided that, after five years of running the caucus, it’s time for me to make way for new leadership. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of many of you who share the sense that the issues that we care about deserve a stronger voice in the Association, and I’m grateful for the effort that so many of you have put into organizing panels, attending caucus meetings, and so on.

We have also been very successful. Five years ago, several of us came together at ASA in Albuquerque with the idea that there should be more serious, substantive discussions of war within the ASA; the next year, we had a standing-room roundtable on the topic of what it meant to study war within the ASA. In the years that have followed, our growth has been solid and our presence has become stronger. Whereas before the caucus was formed it was sometimes difficult to find war-related panels at ASA, this past fall we spent the Saturday of ASA attending a full slate of caucus activities and war-related panels, as well as several others on other days. We’ve made great strides, but the caucus will best capitalize on its momentum by transitioning to a new chair with new ideas.

If you are interested in taking a leadership role in the caucus, please email me. My succession plan, if it is agreeable to all, is that if only one person volunteers, that person will take over. If two people volunteer, I propose that those two people become co-chairs. If three people volunteer, we’ll figure out some sort of election process.

ASA 2014

The meeting theme for the 2014 ASA is “The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century,” and the deadline for the ASA 2014 is 11:59 PM (Pacific) on February 2, 2014. In the past, we have not hewed too closely to the meeting theme, on the theory that strong panels stand the best chance of being accepted, but I would also encourage us to think about how our interest might align with that theme. You can read the CFP and instructions for submitting a proposal here: http://www.theasa.net/submit_a_proposal

At our caucus meeting at the 2013 ASA, we developed a set of potential topics, which I will briefly describe here. If you are interested in organizing a panel on any of them, please email me or use the Google group/Caucus Blog to solicit panel members:

*  Militarism and the Pacific World: The Obama administration’s 2011 assertion that “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay” requires historical and analytical work by American Studies scholars. In what ways has American miltiarism engaged with the Pacific World, and how have those intersections been important? What issues are central to thinking about the role of the United States military and the pacific within the context of U.S. empire?
*  The American West and American Militarism: A second panel that would be interesting, given the conference location, would examine how the American west has been militarized. From the Mexican-American War through the Indian Wars and afterwards, the west has been a space in which the United States has used military power. As well, it has become a space central to the construction of military bases, the rise of the defense industry and the development of nuclear weapons, drones, and other technologies. The west is also the primary landscape on which Japanese internment occurred and a crucial space for contemporary military recruitment. We invite papers that explore these and other issues related to American militarism and the west.
*  The Limits of American Power: We propose a roundtable that examines the role and representation of U.S. military power at the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. How are Americans thinking about what military power can and cannot accomplish? About what U.S. interests are and how they should be achieved? What role does the United States and its military play in the world in the present moment? How has this debate transpired in cultural spaces, and what histories inform that debate?
*  Dialectics of Pain and Pleaseure in Militarism: We seek to examine the production and operation of dialectics of pain and pleasure in war and militarism. Who gets to experience pleasure? Under what condition and at cost to what or whom?  (Contact Ji-Young Um (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) and Rebecca Adelman (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) for information)
*  Tourism and War: How do tourist practices, in all of their dimensions, intersect with American wars and the aftermath of American Wars? Topics might include tourism during war, consumption, tourist photography and souvenir collecting as well as post-war travel by veterans, refugees, and others.
*  Grieveable Bodies: This panel would asses the impact of Judith Butler’s theorizing about bodies at war in contemporary scholarship on war and society in U.S. culture. How has this theorizing shaped the way scholars do their work? What possibilities and limitations does it create? What other ways of thinking about bodies, pain, and affect might be more useful? This panel is intended to start an annual series in which the caucus will take up a major theorist whose work intersects with our own concerns and evaluate the role of that work in the contemporary field.
*  Playing War: What is at stake in Americans “playing” war? From childhood play and toys to video games and reenactment, there are many ways in which play and fantasy have been central to American conceptions of war.

These are, of course, only a few possibilities, and we encourage other suggestions. As always, we encourage members to use our Google Group and the caucus blog at the ASA webpage (http://www.theasa.net/caucus_war_and_peace_studies/) to share calls for papers and other announcements.


Dave Kieran

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