We are writing on behalf of the 2016 ASA Program Committee to say how much we hope you are planning to join us November 17-20 in Denver for an annual meeting that will feature compelling sessions on vital topics, including transphobic bathroom laws, Colorado’s ADX Florence supermax prison, the legacies of the Sand Creek Massacre, and more.
The annual meeting is an expression of the collective knowledge and connective analyses of ASA members, and we are grateful to the hundreds of our colleagues from across the globe who submitted proposals this year. The meeting theme, “Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are” generated thoughtful, incisive session proposals, including many on indigeneity and place, the politics of homelessness, prisons as not home, and the determinative power of race and migration on defining at-homeness, among many others. The program also features many sessions that do not match the theme but demonstrate the ongoing and emerging agendas of scholars who work in American studies.
The committee was not, of course, able to accept all submissions. The program includes 296 sessions that the committee accepted from the 328 session submissions. The percentage of accepted session submissions is consistent with what has happened in recent years. This year we received an unusually high number of proposals for individual papers (418). In spite of the high volume, the committee accepted a record percentage of proposals for individual papers. Those accepted proposals turned into 71 sessions.
The program committee also developed sessions that highlight the theme and emerging issues, including the proliferation of campus carry laws, the status of queer of color critique, whiteness and indigeneity, and blackness and the precarity of home. Several sessions will mark the enduring impact of figures who died since we last met, including Cedric Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Grace Lee Boggs, and Patrick Wolfe.
We remember these extraordinary figures in the midst of our annual routine, which somehow becomes more extraordinary every year. Whether ASA is your intellectual home, professional refuge, or your home/not home away from home/not home, we appreciate the opportunity to spend the past year working on your behalf as the association’s members and sustainers.
Sharon P. Holland
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
Jean M. O’Brien
Co-Chairs, 2016 ASA Program Committee