GROUNDED ENGAGEMENTS IN AMERICAN STUDIES

2024 Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association
November 14-17, 2024  |  Baltimore, Maryland

The American Studies Association calls for papers that examine the ASA from the ground of community engagement and research. Grounded engagement eats at the kitchen table, rests in nested sovereignties, manifests in home rules, and envisions liberations. It is a fertile place to think through our relationships in, between, and beyond the campus. In examining the intimacies and power of place, we confront settler and racialized structures globally, working towards mapping new strategies that lead to just worlds. By its nature—studying the power structures in the Americas, American Imperialism abroad, and its force worldwide—American Studies is local and global with interconnected and fluid scales. In examining grounded engagements not as discrete bounded places but rather as interconnected, we increase the potential to examine and move beyond enforced borders, dystopian policies, state violence, and capitalist networks as well as buzzwords that never quite deliver: decolonization, democracy, DEI, and multiculturalism. This call for papers is meant to provide a framework for exploring specific grounded engagements that move beyond extractive research and the explorations of our interconnections in the world that do not flatten the needs of communities. These are not easy conversations, yet one of the primary strengths of American Studies is that it does not shy away from difficult discussions.

This year, we will examine collaborative partnerships with artists, activists, teachers, scholars, archivists, and visionaries who have long been part of grounding the engagements of American Studies. As a disciplinary home, the ASA is a fertile ground to address social justice issues and community-based work. Our students and our colleagues in American Studies have worked hard over the years to make spaces that connect our learning and teaching to the needs of communities, and a focus on these strategies is needed now more than ever. The proliferation of community-engaged work in academia coincides with attempts to make itself legible to the public in response to increasing costs. What are some of the difficulties we need to address concerning unjust access to education and status and privilege in the academy? What new questions are provoked in the field when we begin to incorporate community engagement, particularly when this work challenges the type of “traditional” scholarship that receives reward and recognition within university processes? What strategies does American Studies take on in this focus on place-based research and community engagement? How does the examination of place move us beyond the human? How might this move us above and beyond neoliberal models of diversity, equity, and inclusion paradigms and instead toward solidarity in practice? What nuances occur in identifying community-based needs? How do we define, expand, and engage community or even the concept which can be overlapping and messy? This conference will discuss and lay bare how power differentials between various spaces manifest and occur to move toward better modes of scholarly engagement. Ultimately, we work toward thinking through new trajectories in American Studies that emerge from the ground up. 

Mishuana Goeman
President-Elect and Committee Chair, University at Buffalo

Co-Chairs

  • C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa
    Associate Professor at George Mason Univeristy
  • Magdalena L. Barrera
    Professor and Dean at San Jose State University
  • Christine Taitano DeLisle
    Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Committee Members

  • Courtney R. Baker
    Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside
  • Jodi A. Byrd
    Associate Professor of Literature in English at Cornell University
  • Karma R. Chávez
    Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Texas, Austin
  • Laura M. De Vos
    Assistant Professor of American Studies at Radboud University in Nijmegen
  • Soyica Diggs Colbert
    Idol Family Professor of African American Studies and Performing Arts at  Georgetown University
  • Grace Kyungwon Hong
    Professor of Gender and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jodi Kim
    Professor of English Literature at Dartmouth University
  • Paul Joseph López Oro 
    Assistant Professor and Director of Africana Studies at Bryn Mawr College
  • Mark Rifkin
    P
    rofessor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro
     

Dr. Courtney R. Baker is an Associate Professor of English at UC Riverside. Her research focuses on visual studies, Black study, film, critical theory, and race. She earned her BA magna cum laude in Women’s Studies from Harvard University and her PhD in Literature Duke Duke University. She has held fellowships at the Center for the Advanced Study of Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art (Winter 2023) and the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University (2019–20). She is the co-founder with Dr. Erica L. Ball of the department of Black studies at Occidental College. She is the author of Humane Insight: Looking at Images of African American Suffering and Death (2015, U Illinois P) and is currently writing a book on Black labor and formalism in recent feature films. Her research interests involve Black expressive cultures—literary and visual—as well as cultural studies and critical theories of language and representation.

Dr. Magdalena L. Barrera is an author, educator, and university leader with 18 years of experience in higher education. A former first-generation college student, she currently serves as Vice Provost for Faculty Success at San José State University (SJSU), providing thought leadership on all aspects of faculty recruitment and professional advancement within a Hispanic Serving Institution context. Prior to joining the Office of the Provost in 2020, she was professor and department chairperson of Chicana and Chicano Studies. Dr. Barrera’s research focuses on the experiences of historically underserved students and faculty in higher education; her work has appeared in a wide range of journals, edited collections, and higher education news outlets. She is the co-author of The Latinx Guide to Graduate School (Duke University Press, 2023), which offers graduate students in humanities and social sciences fields a roadmap for surviving and thriving in advanced degree programs.

Dr. Jodi A. Byrd is an enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and associate professor of Literatures in English at Cornell University where they also hold affiliations with American Studies, American Indian and Indigenous Studies, LGBT Studies, and Performance and Media Arts. They are the author of Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism as well as a number of recent articles in Indigenous feminisms, video game studies, Indigenous queer studies, and settler colonial studies. 

Dr. Karma R. Chávez is Chair and Bobby and Sherri Patton Professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas - Austin. She is co-editor of Keywords for Gender and Sexuality Studies (New York University Press, 2021); Queer and Trans Migrations: Dynamics of Illegalization, Detention, and Deportation (University of Illinois Press, 2020); Text + Field: Innovations in Rhetorical Method (Penn State Press, 2016) andStanding in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices in Communication Studies (SUNY Press, 2012); and author of Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities(University of Illinois Press, 2013); Palestine on the Air (University of Illinois Press, 2019); and The Borders of AIDS: Race, Quarantine, and Resistance (University of Washington Press, 2021).

Dr. Christine Taitano DeLisle is an associate professor in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she teaches courses in critical Indigenous studies, Indigenous feminisms, Pacific history, and heritage studies and public history. DeLisle’s book, Placental Politics: CHamoru Women, White Womanhood, and Indigeneity in Guam (UNC Press 2021), offers an Indigenous feminist critique of the historical and cultural work of CHamoru women in relation to the imperial labor and philanthropy of American women stationed in Guåhan in the early twentieth century. Her current project traces the histories of Indigenous land struggles and neocolonial conservation and heritage in national parks and monuments in Micronesia. DeLisle’s public history work includes museum curation and the coproduction of documentaries on the revitalization of Micronesian canoe traditions and pre-World War II histories of Indigenous nurse-midwives in Guåhan. She is currently working on a collaborative reproductive justice project between Mini Sota Makoce Dakota and Micronesian women. DeLisle is a former elected council member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Dr. Laura M. De Vos is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies program in the Faculty of Arts at Radboud University in Nijmegen with an academic background in North American Indigenous studies, US American literature, and gender studies. Born in Nicaragua from Belgian parents, Laura mostly grew up in Belgium. Laura obtained their PhD degree at the University of Washington in Seattle, where they initiated and helped create a Graduate Certificate in American Indian and Indigenous Studies which is now being offered (since January 2020). They are working on their first book, currently called “Spirals of Transformation: Turtle Island Indigenous Social Movements and Literatures.” Laura's work has been published in Transmotion and Settler Colonial Studies. They are also on the editorial team for Process: Journal for Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Scholarship (processjmus.org). Outside of the academy, their organizing and public education work concerns themes of abolition, anti-racism, and anti-colonial international solidarity.

Dr. Soyica Diggs Colbert is the Idol Family Professor of African American Studies and Performing Arts at Georgetown University. She is a winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the author of several books including award-winning, Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry. She has also held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Stanford University, Mellon Foundation, and the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University. Colbert’s essays have appeared inAfrican American Review, Theatre Survey, Modern Drama, Boundary 2, South Atlantic Quarterly, Scholar and Feminist Online, and Theatre Topics as well as the The New York Times, Washington Post, Public Books, and American Theatre. She is an Associate Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., has served as a Creative Content Producer for The Public Theatre’s audio play, shadow/land, and a curator for the exhibition “Art is Energy”: Lorraine Hansberry, World Builder at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Her research interests span the 19th-21st centuries, from Harriet Tubman to Beyoncé, and from poetics to performance.

Dr. C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa is an associate professor of History at George Mason University and recent co-editor of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.  He’s held fellowships at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress and at the National Museum of the American Indian.  His first book, Crooked Paths to Allotment: The Fight Over Federal Indian Policy after the Civil War was published by the University of North Carolina Press as part of the First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies initiative in 2012.  He is the co-editor of an essay collection entitled Beyond Two Worlds: Critical Conversations on Language and Power in Native North America (SUNY Press, 2014).  Genetin-Pilawa has previously held fellowships at the Newberry Library, the American Philosophical Society, and at the US Capitol Historical Society; he’s published articles in Western Historical Quarterly and Journal of Women’s History

Dr. Jodi Kim is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. Her research traverses the interdisciplinary humanities and is broadly concerned with the intersections of colonial and imperial formations, militarism, capitalism, and gendered racial violence. She is the author of Settler Garrison: Debt Imperialism, Militarism, and Transpacific Imaginaries (Duke University Press, 2022), Ends of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), and Co-Editor of Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2016). 

Dr. Grace Kyungwon Hong is Professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA; she also holds a joint appointment in Gender Studies. She is also currently the Director of the Center for the Study of Women. Her research focuses on women of color feminism as an epistemological critique of, and alternative to, Western liberal humanism and racial capitalism, particularly as they manifest as contemporary neoliberalism. She is the author of Death Beyond Disavowal: The Impossible Politics of Difference (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) which won the Association for Asian American Studies Cultural Studies book prize, and The Ruptures of American Capital:  Women of Color Feminism and the Cultures of Immigrant Labor (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). She is the co-editor (with Roderick Ferguson) of Strange Affinities:  The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization (Duke University Press, 2011).  She is the co-editor (also with Roderick Ferguson) of the Difference Incorporated book series at the University of Minnesota Press.

Dr. Paul Joseph López Oro is a transdisciplinary Black studies scholar whose research and teaching interests are on Black Indigenous histories, cultures, and politics on Central America's Caribbean Coasts, Black Queer Feminist theories & ethnographies, Black Latin American/U.S. Black Latinx social movements. He is currently working on his first book manuscript tentatively entitled Indigenous Blackness: The Queer Politics of Self-Making Garifuna New York a critical ethnography on how gender and sexuality inform the ways in which transgenerational Garifuna New Yorkers of Central American descent queerly negotiate, perform, articulate, and contradict at the intersections of their multiple subjectivities as Black/Indigenous/Central American Caribbean peoples. He is an Assistant Professor and Director of Africana Studies at Bryn Mawr College.

Dr. Mark Rifkin is Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. His research primarily focuses on Native American writing and politics from the eighteenth century onward, exploring the ways that Indigenous peoples have negotiated U.S. racial and imperial formations. His work explores the roles of gender, sexuality, affect, and eroticism in those processes, addressing legal and administrative frameworks, textual representations, and forms of everyday experience. He is the author of seven books: Speaking for the People: Native Writing and the Question of Political Form (2021); Fictions of Land and Flesh: Blackness, Indigeneity, Speculation (2019); Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination (2017); Settler Common Sense: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance (2014); The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination (2012); When Did Indians Become Straight?: Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty (2011); and Manifesting America: The Imperial Construction of U.S. National Space (2009). He also co-edited an award-winning special issue of GLQ, “Sexuality, Nationality, Indigeneity” (2010). He has served as president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and he is a former director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at UNCG.


PLEASE NOTE: ALL FULL PANEL SUBMISSIONS FOR THE 2024 ANNUAL MEETING ARE IN-PERSON. If panelists qualify for an accommodation based on medical condition, disability, incarceration, or special circumstances (e.g. prohibition on international travel), in-person sessions with up to 5 persons may include one virtual accommodation participant and sessions with 6 or more persons may include two virtual participants. The chair (or submitter) must be in-person and manage virtual links. Please read and follow the guidelines carefully on All Academic, and use the “additional information” space to state the name of person(s) requesting virtual accommodation and reason they cannot attend in-person. After February 5, no changes from in-person to virtual will be allowed, except in the event of documented emergencies.