CFP: [American] America: Real and Imagined (British Association of American Studies Postgraduate Conference)

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British Association of American Studies Annual Postgraduate Conference
Saturday November 15th, 2008
The University of Exeter

The School for Arts, Languages and Literatures at the University of Exeter is pleased to be
hosting the annual BAAS postgraduate conference. We are seeking proposals for 20-minute
papers on all topics from all disciplines within the field of American Studies, including history,
music, literature, philosophy, film studies, politics, sociology, popular culture, pedagogy and

This year we are especially interested in papers presenting new ideas and arguments that engage
with the theme of “America and the West.”

The West is often used as a generic term for the civilization that grew up and out of Greece,
spreading first to Italy and then to northern Europe, before crossing the Atlantic and taking root
in the New World â€" principally in the United States. This spread has been accompanied by the
dissemination of core values that originated in classical antiquity, including limited constitutional
government, civil liberties, the free exchange of ideas, private property, capitalism and the
separation between religious and political/scientific thought â€" values all variously embodied in
competing and contested ideas about the United States. Yet within the U.S. there also is a West,
both real and imagined. Annexation, migration and expansion west of the Mississippi was
accompanied by theories about manifest destiny and the movable frontier as the site of
contestation between the competing values of civilization and wilderness. Today, the “American
West” can alternately conjure images of cowboys in Texas or hippies in San Francisco.

Possible areas of inquiry might include, but are by no means limited to:

• The American West/America as the West
• American/Western myths
• American and Western politics
• America/the West as represented in visual media
• The West(ern) as genre
• Cultures of/bordering the United States
• The imagined West
• Mapping the West
• America and the heritage of classical antiquity.
• America and its allies.
• East and West.
• Writing America and/or the West
• The movement of history
• Western/westernizing narratives
• Frontiers and borderlands

Interested postgraduate students are encouraged to submit an abstract of no more than 200
words along with a brief biography (including institutional affiliation) to no later
than June 30th, 2008. For more information, please visit

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Received on Fri Feb 22 2008 - 02:30:35 EST