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Dear Members of the War and Peace Studies Caucus,
I hope that the end of the semester is going well for everyone, and that you’re finding time for writing during the end of semester crush. The Caucus had a small but effective meeting at the ASA meeting in San Juan, and we are looking forward to the 2013 annual meeting in Washington, D.C. I want to provide a brief update on some ideas for 2013 panels that came up and invite you to contact me if you are interested in participating or if you have ideas of your own that you are interested in circulating.
The theme for the 2013 ASA annual meeting is “Beyond the Logic of Debt, Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent,” a topic that we believe holds promise for many war-related panels. These include:
• A panel on “War Debt,” broadly construed: What are the economic, physical, and social costs of U.S. wars and militarism, both domestically and globally? How do logics of sacrifice get read as “debt,” and why is this important? How are ideas about fighting, protesting, and remembering wars indebted to other acts of conflict, protest, and remembrance?
• A panel on “Civil War Diasporas of Debt:” How did the Civil War create debts and costs that were borne throughout the nation and the world? What is the relationship between the Civil War and contemporaneous and subsequent wars in the American West? How did veterans seek to pay debts through service as mercenaries in other wars? How did individuals and groups damaged by the war seek to recuperate their losses?
• “War as Human Capital:” Members of the ASA Early American Matters caucus have suggested that such a topic might provide ways of “thematically incorporating EAM papers into panels with much broader temporal frameworks.” They are interested in co-sponsoring panels with us, which is great given our long-standing interest in engaging with projects that examine war in moments other than the twentieth century.
Beyond this, other ideas that have emerged include:
• “Keywords for Studying War and Peace:” We think that four years after our very successful “Studying War in Peace in American Studies / Studying America by Studying War and Peace” roundtable at the 2009 ASA is a good time to revisit some of the foundational questions about how the study of war and peace intersects with the larger American Studies Project. We propose a roundtable in which presenters will briefly present ideas about how critical keywords in American Studies. such as Empire, Human Rights, Environment, Peace, Technology, Trauma, Neoliberalism, and others intersect with the study of war. We invite ideas about keywords and participants.
• “War, Empire, and the Archive:” How has the archival process shaped the histories of war and empire? How have archives at the metropole been central to constructing narratives that enable the production and maintenance of empire, and how have archives in alternative locations or collected through non-governmental entities provided spaces for dissent and critique?
• “The Price of Freedom Alternative Exhibit:” Following the successful roundtable on the National Museum of American History’s “The Price of Freedom” exhibit at the 2011 ASA, we propose a dual session in which presenters would write brief alternative scripts for sections of the exhibit and which would be made available as a podcast. Audience members would be invited to tour the exhibit using this podcast and then participate in a roundtable discussion with panelists and curators. We believe this project offers a critical means of continuing the work begun at a previous ASA and of using digital humanities to bridge the gap between academic history and public humanities projects.
• “War Memorial Tour:” Given the Meeting’s location in Washington, DC, we propose a session that will offer a critical tour of war memorials both on and off the National Mall.
If you are interested in participating as a panelist in any of these sessions, please let me know.
In related news, Beth Bailey has asked me to remind you that the Society for Military History and its Journal are keen to have more war and society papers and articles. Please consider submitting an abstract or an article.
As always, I hope that caucus members will use the Google group and the blog at the ASA website to publicize their own CFPs and recent publications. We have had considerable success building a network of scholars interested in these issues, and Matt Jacobsen’s attention to issues of conflict and empire in his ASA Presidential Address is evidence that our project of placing the study of war and peace at the center of American Studies scholarship is crucial.
Please contact me if you have interest in or questions about the above, or if I can be of any assistance. Good luck to all with the end of the semester, and see you all in Washington next fall.
Franklin and Marshall College