The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: American Exceptionalism in the 21st Century Purdue University, April 17-18, 2014
The election of our nation's first Black president ushered in a discourse of Post-Blackness, suggesting that America's race problems were behind us. Likewise, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the unconstitutionality of DOMA seem to suggest that discrimination against LGBT and queer persons was a thing of the past. However, recent political attacks on women's rights, renewed fights to prevent LGBT persons from marrying, the government shutdown, the GOP war on voting rights aimed at disenfranchising people of color, as well as our extended global "war on terror," have dispelled the notion that we are "post" anything. American exceptionalism, including intra-American exceptionalism, is in full effect. Still, we must ask, what's good about America? What narratives of belonging, nation, and freedom bind us to our American identity? Is there anything left to love about America?
In accordance with this theme, we would be interested in tracing the resurgence of imperialism, white supremacy, economic disparity, and otherness within the turn of the century. Other possible sub-themes include:
● Identity: What constitutes an American? Who is excluded and why?
● Post-race, post-feminism, post-Civil Rights?
● Commodification/Cooptation of American identity
● Media/Popular Culture/Representation
● American Exceptionalism in a transnational context
● LGBT/Queer: Progression (or regression) of movements, visibility, etc.
● Immigration and American identity
● Urban/rural landscapes and communities
● University/Public Education System
● Nostalgia (Longing for a "halcyon" past, 1950s, The Old South, etc.) How are these concepts tied to exceptionalism?
● Love and Affect: How do we feel about America? What's left to love? What constitutes a "good" life/nation?
The Symposium Committee invites all those interested to submit proposals no longer than one page in length for panels, individual papers, workshops, and performances no later than January 10, 2014. Please also submit a biography of no more than 250 words, a current CV with contact information, especially your email address, and a list of any audio and/or visual equipment necessary for presentation. Submissions may be made electronically to Stephanie A. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries regarding the symposium may be made to the same email address.