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CFP Pacific Worlds: Empire, Environment and Embodiment (Due Oct. 1, 2013)

The American Studies Association (ASA) and the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS), with support from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUFSC), are pleased to announce a competition open to ASA members (U.S. citizens). We plan to select two ASA delegates (pending funding) for participation in the annual JAAS conference to be held at International Christian University in Tokyo from May-June 2015. We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the JAAS conference and for the two-day pro-seminars in Japan. The award covers round trip airfare to Japan, housing, and modest daily expenses.

The members of the ASA-JAAS Project Advisory Committee and the International Committee of JAAS will choose the delegates by collaborative assessment and selection. Two-day pro-seminars will be held, most likely after the JAAS conference, which will enable JAAS scholars to participate. Themes of the pro-seminars will be connected to the papers delegates present at JAAS. The ASA delegates will collaborate with the International Committee of JAAS in finalizing the format of the pro-seminars and will be responsible for participating in scholarly exchanges with JAAS members, from graduate students (including those who may not yet be JAAS members) to senior scholars.  Under the proposed project, the ASA delegates will tentatively spend two days at the JAAS conference, two days in their pro-seminars, plus travel time, for a total of about a week.

Project Theme:

This is the first year of our new proposal for scholarly exchanges between the American Studies Association (ASA) and the Japan Association for American Studies (JAAS) covering the three-year project period, 2015-2017.

The scholarly theme is Framing the “American Century”: Wars, Migrations, Social Justice, which addresses urgent issues relevant to our current historical moment, when US officials (and their counterparts around the world) claim and proclaim the United States as the lone “superpower” and pursue policies and practices to secure that status. With the proliferation of studies on empire, anticommunism, radical movements, mass incarceration, indigeneity, and globalization in recent years, American Studies has emerged as a vibrant site to explore and critique the making of the “American Century.” Over the past two decades, scholars have been addressing the three absences that former ASA President Amy Kaplan identified in Cultures of United States Imperialism (1993): “the absence of culture from the history of U.S. imperialism; the absence of empire from the study of American culture; and the absence of the United States from the postcolonial study of imperialism.”

With this project, we seek to consider some of the ways that recent and emergent scholarship in American Studies can help us reconsider the roots and routes of US power across the twentieth century. We are interested in moving beyond familiar narratives and binaries used to describe (and justify) America’s role in the world—isolationism vs. internationalism, hard power vs. soft power, totalitarianism vs. democracy, immigrants vs. refugees, civil rights vs. foreign policy—to generate a new vocabulary and chronology to interpret how policymakers, migrants, social activists, multinational corporations, and others have produced and experienced displacements and movements central to and in excess of the US state. Against a backdrop of American exceptionalism and triumphalism, how might we narrate the twentieth century beyond a story of nation-state building, whether in support of or in resistance to, the mandates of the US state?

Wars of the Twentieth Century and Beyond (2015). From the US-Philippine War to the first Persian Gulf War, there is no question that US wars around the world contributed to the bloodiest century in the history of our planet. In recent years, scholars in American Studies have revealed the significance of lesser-known military engagements, such as in Haiti and Central America, and generated innovative methods to understand more recognized wars from new perspectives. Global framings around empire, for example, have compelled scholars to approach Japan and the United States not simply as rivals and enemies during World War II but as states engaged in convergent and parallel policies to produce liberal, national subjects out of racially subjugated populations. Scholars have also drawn critical linkages across different theaters of war, tracing, for example, the movements of policymakers and cultural representations from Southeast Asia to Latin America to the Middle East. How might we frame the emergence of the US state as, in Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s famous words, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”? The topic of war, in particular, would enable US-based and Japan-based scholars to engage one another on the ongoing meanings of war and postwar memories in shaping national identities and transnational connections across the Pacific.

Application Procedures:

Each application should include a summary in 300 words of the proposed paper to be presented at the JAAS annual meeting. Participants should explain how the proposed paper contributes to a discussion of the project theme in general, and more specifically to the 2015 conference theme Wars of the Twentieth Century and Beyond. Applicants should include a personal statement, no longer than two pages, describing their interest in this project and the issues that their own scholarship and teaching have addressed. Personal statements may include comments on previous collaboration or work with non-U.S. academics or students. Prior experience of work or travel in Japan is not a requirement for selection, but if applicable, applicants may comment on their particular interest in, or connections to, Japan. In addition, applications should include a two-page curriculum vitae, emphasizing teaching experience and publications and the names and addresses of three references. All applicants must be available to travel for a week-long period to Japan in May-June 2015; exact dates required for travel will be forthcoming. Applicants must be current members of the ASA and U.S. citizens and preference will be given to candidates who are active participants of the ASA. Please explain in what capacity you have participated in ASA panels, committees, journal, etc. in your personal statement. Scholars must have a Ph.D. and preference will be given to those with teaching experience and a publication record. Application materials should be addressed to the ASA-JAAS Project Advisory Committee and uploaded as a Word or PDF document in a single attachment before midnight (US DST) October 1, 2014 at http://www.theasa.net/submit_pdf/asa-jaas_project_proposals/. See for additional info: http://www.theasa.net/project_asa_jaas/

By Linda Vo, Tue, October 01, 2013 - 5:01 pm