CFP: [American] States of Emergency

full name / name of organization: 
Bryce Traister
contact email: 

"States of Emergency": November 13-15, 2009
The University of Western Ontario

In the Federalist 28, Alexander Hamilton observed “that emergencies will
sometimes exist in all societies, however constituted; that seditions and
insurrections are, unhappily, as inseparable from the body politic as
tumors and eruptions from the natural body.” Americans have become used
to the language of emergency, even tolerant of otherwise troubling
political and governmental actions undertaken in response to declared
crisis. But even a cursory march through American history and culture
confirms Madison’s view of the state’s inseparability from “eruption”:
the Antinomian Crisis, the Charter Crisis, the Salem witch trials, the
Revolutionary Crisis, the Constitutional Crisis, the Nullification
Crisis, the Sectional Crisis, the Slavery Crisis, and any number of
financial crises and panics construe a largely unbroken narrative of
emergency and response that continues through the 20th Century (the Great
Depression, Pearl Harbor, multiple Red Scares, the Cuban Missile Crisis,
the Oil Crisis, the Iran-Hostage Crisis), and into the 21st (9-11, the
War on Terror, Hurricane Katrina, and the current financial crisis).

Hosted by the Centre for American Studies at the University of Western
Ontario, and organized by the Canadian Association for American Studies,
this three-day multi-disciplinary conference encourages attendees to
construe this theme broadly. Possible approaches to this theme might
include: Broadcasting Crisis, Creating Crisis, Celebrity Emergency,
Civil Liberties During Crisis, The Political Life of Emergency, The State
of Triage, The Crisis of Privacy, Emerging Crisis, Crisis and Leviathan,
>From Anxiety to Panic, Becoming Undisturbed, Emergency Exit, Emergency
Powers, Emergency Management, Rational Panic, Call 9/11. Case studies of
specific crises and emergencies from American cultural, social and
political history are welcome, but participants are also encouraged to
think broadly and creatively about the meaning and purpose of “emergency”

We invite scholars from the broad spectrum of American studies
disciplines, including but by no means limited to history, political
science, sociology, anthropology, First Nations/native-American studies,
gender studies, gay/lesbian studies, literary studies, media studies,
film studies, and art history and practice.

The conference organizers invite individual abstracts of 250 words or
less, and a brief CV, by March 31, 2008. Complete panels on a topic are
also welcome. Email submissions may be sent to:
Hardcopy submissions may be sent to: CAAS Program Director, The Centre
for American Studies, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario,
Canada N6A 5C2

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Received on Wed Nov 26 2008 - 12:25:11 EST