American Studies Postgraduate Conference

DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL 25 SEPTEMBER 2015
University of Leeds
9 October 2015

Proposals are invited for the first American Studies Postgraduate Conference at the University of Leeds, to be held on 9 October 2015. The event is intended to promote postgraduate research and innovation across the disciplines, and to provide students with a supportive environment in which to present their research and develop transferable skills.

2015 marks a number of important US American anniversaries, including the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the 60th of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the 50th of the Voting Rights Act. Another more problematic anniversary is the 100thsince the release of ‘The Birth of a Nation.’ While these anniversaries offer opportunities for reflection on the US American past, they also encourage engagement with contemporary American society, history, law, literature and art. How, for example, do they resonate with contemporary protest movements such as Occupy and #BlackLivesMatter?  In what ways can they be related to recent legislative moves, such as the national legalization of gay marriage in the US? Do they speak to the US’ history of regional imperialism, and its force in shaping American society? How does current literature and art respond to this history? In what ways do these anniversaries open avenues of inquiry within post-nationalist American Studies?

We invite proposals for 15-minute presentations from individuals or groups. While our focus is on US American Studies, papers from any area of American Studies will be considered, so long as they speak to the rubric. Proposals may cover, but are not limited to, the following key areas:

  • Transnational American Studies
  • American Exceptionalism
  • American difference and indifference
  • Social movements and activism
  • Race, gender and class
  • Queer studies
  • American geographies
  • Frontiers and migration
  • Defining American moments
  • Methodologies
  • Textuality
  • American engagements with questions of apathy and ennui
  • American unity: enforced regulation or empowerment?

Finally, this year is also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the British Association for American Studies. This raises questions regarding transnational American Studies. How do we in the UK engage with, contribute to, and challenge the boundaries of American Studies? Accordingly, the conference will culminate in a panel of invited speakers, which will focus on engaging the archive and studying the US in the UK.
Please send all abstracts, including contact details and institutional affiliation, to pgamericanstudies2015@gmail.com. Further information can be found at our blog, http://leedsamericanstudiespg.blogspot.co.uk. Please note that places at the conference are limited.

This conference is funded by the LEAP Researcher Training Hub at the University of Leeds.