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Feb. 1 | CFP 2015 Annual Meeting
Click here. The submission site will automatically shut down at 11:59 PM (Pacific) on February 1, 2015.

Mar. 1 | 2015 Franklin Prize
Nominations for 2015 John Hope Franklin Publication Prize for the best-published book in American Studies due

Mar. 1 | 2015 Romero Prize
Nominations for 2015 Lora Romero Publication Prize for the best-published first book in American Studies due.

Mar. 1 | 2015 Community Partnership Grants
Applications for the 2015 Community Partnership Grants Program to assist American Studies collaborative, interdisciplinary community projects due

Mar. 1 | 2015 Regional Chapter Grants
Applications for the 2015 grants program to assist regional American Studies conferences and projects due

Annual Meeting: Call for Topics 2015

The theme of the 2015 annual meeting is The (Re)production of Misery and the Ways of Resistance.

The American Studies Association invites members to advertise possible sessions for the 2015 annual meeting to be held October 8-11, 2015, Toronto, Canada.  Interested members are invited to examine these abstracts and contact the authors to construct session proposals for the 2015 Annual Meeting. 

These proposed abstracts are an excellent way for both established scholars working in new fields and graduate students seeking panel members to find and network with interested colleagues. 

Proposed topics should include a tentative session title, 200-word description, and proposer’s contact information.  Indicate your due date for receiving an abstract or paper. A staff member will review your submission for missing information prior to posting.

After the suggested topics have been published, individuals can send abstracts or papers to the session organizer who will then be responsible for accepting papers, finding a chair and commentator, and submitting the session for consideration to the Program Committee. In the recent past, the odds of acceptance of a pre-packaged session have been much higher than for acceptance of individual papers, which not only need to pass the test of excellence but also must fit with other individual papers to form a panel with internal coherence.

Pre-proposal networking circumvents this problem.

The session abstracts are posted on the ASA website as a service to the association’s members who are developing panel proposals for the annual meeting.  But this does not imply endorsement of the proposals by the 2015 ASA Program Committee.  In fact, the Program Committee will not have seen the abstracts prior to their publication. 

If you do plan to post a topic abstract please be aware of your responsibility to inform each person who may submit an abstract or paper directly to you, in a timely and collegial manner, whether or not you intend to include his or her abstract in your proposal.  This is important because each person is allowed to make and/or be listed as a participant on only one submission. 

Submit your topic abstract (“work in progress”) using our topics submission form   Please limit your topic abstract to a maximum of 200 words. 

Submit your final proposal using our proposal submission form. The ASA submission site will open on December 1, 2014 and should be used only for the submission of final proposal.  The final deadline for actual session proposals will be February 1, 2015.

All proposal submitters must be current ASA members (or an affiliated international American studies association) at the time of submission.  Each panel submission should also include a second current ASA member (in addition the panel organizer) at the time of submission. 

All other panelists, including chairs and commentators, must become current individual members of the ASA (or an affiliated international American studies association). All participants must buy *both* a membership and a registration in order to be properly registered for the conference.

WORKS IN PROGRESS (2015 Annual Meeting Call for Topics)

Golem Theory?: Critical Jewish Studies in/and ASA
The figure of the golem simultaneously conjures utopian horizons and disastrous miscalculations. Inspired by this, we call for papers that engage questions of Jewish Studies and its place in ASA.  We invite proposals that engage the following questions:  What could Critical Jewish Studies be? What is its work? What is its relationship to Critical Ethnic Studies? What are the historical and contemporary problems with engaging Religious Studies˜and Jewish Studies more specifically˜within the ASA? Possible topics include: Israel/Palestine in the American imagination; “the Golden Age” of Black-Jewish relations; Israel Zangwill, the invention of the Melting Pot, and the location of Jews in the American idea; Jewish boycotts in South Africa and Israel; Jewish Lefts, Rights & Retreats; whiteness and ethnic exceptionalism(s). Please send a short (150 word) abstract and 1-page biographical statement to both:  Rachel Ida Buff (rbuff@uwm.edu) and Nora Rubel (nora.rubel@rochester.edu) by December 20, 2014.

Ecologies of Misery: Domesticity and Women’s Disaffected Labors
This panel looks at the juxtaposition between misery and interior spaces in domestic writing, preferably by women. It focuses specifically on how domestic practices and the promise of a secure home space anticipate satisfaction and self-actualization for its subjects that cannot be realized. In a number of iterations, disaffection emerges when the promises of security, normality, subjectivity, fun, or fulfillment somehow fails and becomes subsumed in some form of misery, including the disaffection of uncompensated labor. This panel looks specifically at the structures that set up these promises, the capacious forms of misery present in a variety of writing on domestic practices and ecologies. Email a 300-word abstract and brief bio to Jill E. Anderson at (andersonwires@gmail.com) by December 31, 2014.

Pedagogies of Social Justice
Thinking alongside Jodi Melamed and Roderick Ferguson, both of whom frame the exigency of pedagogy as responsive to material conditions of injustice and inequality, this panel asks how attentiveness to the material conditions that enable education can thicken our sense of the contemporary and our situatedness within it, potentially helping us to craft responsive pedagogies. We are interested in how understanding the university’s complicity in social injustice can help us rematerialize the co-opted terms of official institutional discourse such as “multicultural” and “diversity.” How can attending to the histories of Atlantic slavery, settler colonialism, and indigenous dispossession that have enabled education shed critical light on the immiserating sensibilities of corporate universities, both in the U.S. and abroad? Please send a short abstract and C.V. or biographical statement to Danica Savonick (danicasavonick@gmail.com) by January 5, 2015.

Pedagogical Practice in Interdisciplinary Research
Researchers are made, not born. But how do we become researchers? This session will offer insights into how we teach the research process in settings from high school classrooms to graduate seminars. I am looking for scholarship of teaching that addresses questions such as these: How do we introduce theory and methodology to graduate students who are new to interdisciplinary inquiry? What skills lend themselves to “scaffolding”, or breaking a larger project into smaller, discreet assignments? How do we encourage collaborative research? I am looking for participants who can offer examples of assignments, skills workshops, and final projects that they have used successfully to guide students through the research process. In addition, I hope to include best practices in research mentoring and program-level efforts to promote multilevel intellectual community around research activity. Please send a 200 word abstract and 1-page biographical statement to:  Jo Paoletti (jpaol@umd.edu) by January 5, 2015.

North of Misery: Migration, Affect, and Action
The large number of Central American refugees who crossed the Rio Grande in 2014 arrived with harrowing stories about current conditions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as the dangerous journey through Mexico. Their arrival in the U.S. also generated a range of emotional responses and demands for action, from anti-immigrant protests to calls for humanitarian aid and economic development to the swift militarization of the border. Building from this moment, this panel will explore the relation between affect and action within the longer history of immigration in North America. How have those in the Global North imagined suffering in the Americas and their relation to it? What do their responses to migrants (and to migrant narratives) reveal about the political efficacy of emotion? Proposals from all disciplines are welcome. Potential papers might consider: affect in the debate over immigration; representations of migrants in literature, visual art, performance and film; activism and theatricality; expressions of empathy, sentimentality, and/or moral outrage; structures of feeling in the “North” the evolving symbolic role of the North/El Norte; the historic and contemporary role of Canada as refuge. Please send abstracts (200-300 words) and brief CV by Jan. 5 to Stephen Park (stephen.park@utb.edu). Inquiries before that are welcome.

Reimagining Global Oil’s Commodity Life-Cycle
This panel will apply a commodity history perspective to the study of global oil, a fundamental component of industrial globalization with a largely deserved negative reputation. We track the life-cycle of oil and petrochemicals within a human industrial and ecopolitical nexus - from geological reconnaissance; through networks of labor and production; to consumer good; and finally, to industrial waste and biological contaminant. Mixing an emphasis on capital flows and industrial exploitation with analysis of oil representation practice and its symbolic significance, we seek to better understand the transformations that oil undergoes throughout its commodity life. By linking together discussion of the biopolitical and ecological consequences of oil extraction and use with an understanding of oil as just one commodity factor in the industrial and postindustrial flow of capital and goods, our panel emphasizes oil’s ever-changing nature within a complex web of human activity and understanding. Prospective papers might examine the framing of oil as “unnatural” in the rhetoric of industrial accidents and waste management, interrogate the often unexpected ubiquity of oil in daily life, or critique our conceptual frame of oil as commodity. Scholars working in geography, ecocriticism, anthropology, ethnic studies, visual/media studies as well as history are invited to contribute. If interested, please send a preliminary abstract (250 wds) and a short bio to Sarah Stanford-McIntyre (ssstanfordmcin@email.wm.edu) by January 5, 2015.

Scenes of Crime in the Landscape of Urban Redevelopment
How do downtown redevelopment projects displace, encode, or leverage the memory of violent crime from sites of new investment?  This panel considers the cultural history of urban redevelopment from the point of view of crimes—sexual, economic, racial, colonial and others—remembered in cities large or small, past and present.  Landscapes of crime, memory and redevelopment might include industrial districts, waterfronts, pedestrian malls, creeks and railroad tracks, research campuses, city parks, blighted suburbs or commercial streets.  Papers may consider how crimes—as social violence, or symptoms of capitalist failure—are buried in sustainable green-scapes and walkable street design; how local artists are deployed by urban planners as members of the creative class whose labor bestows added value on real estate; how historic preservation functions selectively as public memory; or, how defacement and legality are redefined by remembering the crimes committed in their name, on the very site of historical erasure and transformation.  Send questions, and abstracts by January 5, 2015, to Laura Rigal (laura-rigal@uiowa.edu).

The Rise of Identity Politics
As co-chair of the Politics and Policy Caucus for the American Studies Association, I am looking to organize a panel exploring the roots of identity politics and the impact identity politics have on modern campaigns.  As economic models predicting election results become increasingly unreliable, new questions have emerged regarding the variation between economic outlooks among racial and ethnic groups. Still others contend that value and identity politics have replaced economic interests as the key source of mobilizing American voters.  Though social scientists can measure outcomes in countless ways, cultural studies can provide insight into the power of this shift among the American electorate. Any and all topics related to the questions noted here are welcome.  Please send abstracts by January 5, 2015, to Angie Maxwell (amax@uark.edu).

Non-Profit Blues: Affective Economies in/of the NPIC

Taking its name from the recent conference at the Barnard Center for Women, Queer Dreams and Non-Profit Blues, this panel investigates affective economies of non-profits and non-profitization. Over the past forty years, due in large part to neoliberal welfare state reorganization, the number and scope of non-profit organizations has expanded exponentially - from less than 3,000 in 1960 to more than 2 million in 2011. This expansion has transformed social movements, as political organizations become literally incorporated into the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. From burnout and self-care to solidarity and community, non-profit organizing relies on and engenders a range of affective orientations in response to neoliberal capitalism. Building on the conference theme of misery, papers on this panel might explore, for instance: non-profit organizing and/as cruel optimism; philanthropy and/as optimistic cruelty; social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy and other neoliberal futures; narratives of charity, compassion, leadership, empowerment used by and in non-profits; burnout, “vicarious trauma,” political depression; solidarity, consensus, community care, de-professionalization, and other modes of connection and organizing in resistance to capitalism and the NPIC. If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to Myrl Beam (mebeam@colby.edu) by January 5, 2015.

Resistance, Reproduction, and Reappropriation in Musical Cultures of Struggle
Numerous American musical cultures trace their histories to periods of struggle and oppression. This panel asks how music has facilitated such populations’ attempts to survive and engage in resistance during traumatic times and how later music-makers relate to these histories. Can music help form and strengthen communities of resistance? Does music provide a space for catharsis, dissipating energy that otherwise might have contributed to (other) forms of resistance? Does music-making thereby reproduce misery, or might it furnish a space of possibility where populations can imagine and model alternative social relations? Musics formed in crucibles of oppression can later meet the needs of populations with different backgrounds and social contexts. How do such reappropriators interpret and represent the historical legacies of struggle attached to these musics? Prospective papers may focus on any musical culture of any period in or connected to (the) America(s). Possible approaches might interrogate the relationship of a group’s music-making to contemporaneous struggles or analyze the re-appropriation of a music associated with a period of oppression by a later group in a different time and/or place. If interested, please send a preliminary abstract (250 words) and CV to Jesse P. Karlsberg at (jesse.p.karlsberg@emory.edu) by January 5, 2015.

Workshop: How American Studies Scholars Can Address Climate Change
As the evidence and scale of anthropogenic climate change becomes more obvious and disciplines throughout the humanities and social sciences are addressing the causes and consequences of climatic (and resulting social, cultural and political) destabilization, American studies has fallen behind the curve. This is particularly surprising given the discipline’s focus on issues of social justice and the central historical (and current) role of the United States in extracting and consuming fossil fuels, developing and normalizing oil capitalism, and denying climate science.  With this lacunae in mind, this combination of panel and workshop hopes to bring together climate-curious scholars with American studies authors (broadly conceived) who are tackling climate change from a wide variety of perspectives, such as ethnic studies, queer studies, African-American studies, migration studies, literature, popular culture, etc. Four to five of presenters will give short presentations of how their work has addressed this issue in recent years, as well as the challenges, pathways and methodologies to tackling this subject. We will then split into smaller groups based on interests and/or disciplinary lenses, so that scholars who are interested in addressing climate change and environmental issues in their own work (or teaching) can brainstorm, share strategies, and perhaps prepare future collaborations. While submissions from environmental humanities veterans are welcome, presentations from those who have only recently begun to address this issue would be particularly desirable. If there’s enough demand, we may split into two workshops: one on research and one on pedagogy and institutional development. If you have experience teaching about, advocating for or developing classes or curricula on climate and/or energy in American studies spaces, please consider participating!  If you’re interested, send a CV and short (250 word) description of how your work addresses or has addressed this issue, and how you would describe your process of addressing climate and energy issues from an American studies perspective. Please send submissions to Matthew Schneider-Mayerson (at mjs23@rice.edu) by January 5, 2015.

Blackness and the Miseries of Law
In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Price, Ezell Ford, and too many others, and the ostensible inability of the law or the legal system to provide something resembling “justice” in the aftermath of these deaths by police violence, it is impossible not to consider the implications of a legally imposed condition of misery on Black bodies in the U.S. This panel takes up the meeting’s call to consider a “long and changing past” of misery by asking how the historical imbrication of U.S. law and race - most obvious and yet still most crucial to analyze in slavery - further structures conditions of misery for Black Americans. Drawing on the insights of critical race theory, black feminism, and black queer studies, the panel seeks to situate current miserable relations between Black Americans and the (in)justice of law within the context of the afterlife of slavery. Papers might consider specific laws/policies such as “Stand Your Ground,” histories of state violence, specific case studies, and/or the possibilities for effective activism in the face of the misery of the law. Please send a 150-250 word abstract and CV to Jesse Goldberg (jag525@cornell.edu) by January 9, 2015. 

Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s, and Tragedy
Organizing philanthropic groups dedicated to relieving contemporary social issues like natural disasters, war, racism, and poverty and publishing books that deal with the traumatic experience of “personal tragedy” resulting from such “social tragedies,” McSweeney’s publishing and its founder and public figurehead, Dave Eggers, have emerged in recent years as prominent cultural voices exploring misery, trauma, and socially engaged responses thereof in literature. With books dedicated variously to tragic social events such as Hurricane Katrina (Zeitoun) and the effects of war on the people of Sudan (What is the What) as well as to personal tragedies such as the death of a friend (You Shall Know Our Velocity!) and the death of one’s parents (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), Eggers’ published work reveals his acute interest in the examination of tragedy in both private and public forms, with his best work highlighting the overlap between the two. This session seeks papers that examine Eggers’ description of tragedy and the ways his narratives represent tragedy in both personal and public ways. Likewise, this session is interested in papers exploring the function performed by Eggers’ examination of tragedy for his narrative subjects, his readers, as well as for the real world analogs of the tragedies his narratives describe. Does Eggers’ work engage with real world tragedy in a socially significant way, whether private or public?  Please send 500 word abstracts electronically no later than January 10, 2015 to Robert Mousseau (r.j.mousseau@gmail.com).

The Locations of American Studies

Since the turn of the 21st-century, Americanists have looked up and out from the geographically specific territoriality of an historical Americanist field-imaginary to identify formations of “America” and its critique throughout the world. Although largely promoted and received as an attempt to contain and make visible American political, historical and academic imperialism, this transnationalized, post-territorial, and proto-global critical agenda might fairly be said to reproduce certain conditions and strains of US-centric critical agency. Now add “the international” to this ambiguous mix: are there credible “international locations” of American studies? Are such places—Toronto? Istanbul? South Korea?—examples of a successfully trans- or inter-nationalized American studies, or are they locations where a different agenda for American studies might be articulated and pursued?  Up to 250 words (1 page).  Proposals with short CVs by January 15, 2015 to:  Bryce Traister: traister@uwo.ca (English and American Studies, Western University, Canada) and Hsinya Huang: hsinya@mail.nsysu.edu.tw (National Sun Yat Sen University, Taiwan)