CFP: [20th] CFP: Hemispheric American studies, New Southern studies (ASA Panel 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Sharada Balachandran-Orihuela
contact email: 

I am a doctoral student in the English department at the University of
California, Davis and I am interested in putting together a panel for the
American Studies Association Conference in 2009. I would like this panel
to question the geographic and symbolic boundaries of American studies
through the use of Hemispheric American studies and New Southern studies.
By way of getting this conversation started, I would like to present a few
informal “definitions” of Hemispheric American studies and New Southern

Hemispheric American studies: As Caroline F. Levander and Robert S. Levine
note in their edited book, Hemispheric American Studies, new value needs to
be attributed to the approach to the hemisphere and its continuously
changing nations and regions from a spatio-temporal perspective where a
comparative approach becomes central to an understanding of both the nation
and region. For example, complicating questions of the “national” is
important, therefore, as a means of opening up the Americas to a framework
that is dialectical in nature.

New Southern studies: New Southern studies, although a burgeoning field is
quite well articulated in terms of its interdisciplinary and transnational
concerns. The December 2006 special issue of American Literature dedicated
to New Southern studies, is especially significant since it defines
Southern studies scholars’ recent projects ranging in subject matter from
Tara McPherson and Barbara Ellen Smith’s studies on globalization in the
U.S. South to Jamie Winders discussion of Latino migration to the U.S.
South to, what I consider to be one of the greatest position papers in the
collection, Deborah Cohn’s “U.S. Southern Studies and Latin American
Studies: Windows onto Postcolonial Studies.” This essay closely questions
the disciplinary boundaries between Southern and Latin American studies by
noting that study of the similarities that bridge North and South America
and the Caribbean, might prove to be a productive endeavor. She notes that
redefining Southern studies as a field in an “inter-American context” would
be instrumental in eliminating Southern exceptionalism through the
examination of this geographic region in relation to Latin American and
Caribbean historical and cultural legacies.

In keeping with the concerns of this panel, I encourage people in every
discipline to apply. I work on Mexican, Cuban and U.S. American literature
from the 19th and 20th centuries, so I would love to put together a panel
with a diverse set of interests. I am not interested in formal abstracts
per se, especially since the 2009 ASA conference call has not been issued,
but would be eager to begin a conversation about this panel. Please do not
hesitate to contact me (Sharada Balachandran-Orihuela
if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to participate in this

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Received on Tue Oct 14 2008 - 21:25:39 EDT