Division Street, U.S.A.
The American Studies Graduate Committee at the University of Texas at Austin calls for papers for its upcoming graduate conference, "Division Street, U.S.A.," to be held in Austin on September 24-25, 2009. Our keynote speaker will be Eric Lott, Professor of Americna Studies and Cultural Studies at the University of Virginia.
Barack Obama's campaign and subsequent election as President of the United States have triggered a renewed rhetoric of national "unity" that has not been common political currency since the era of civil rights expansion. However, the nightly news broadcasts have highlighted some of the visible fissures in this rhetoric, from California's passage of Proposition 8 outlawing homosexual marriage, to Attorney General Eric Holder's comments regarding the status of African Americans in a "post-racial" America, and from the criticisms of President Obama himself regarding the freshly minted Council on Women and Girls in light of the dropoff in male high school graduation and college attendance rates, especially among working class men all ethnicities, to the continued tension regarding immigration and citizenship. Although this conference encourages submissions dealing with all manner of subjects, this theme of unity and division in American culture is one under which a great deal of scholarly work can be mobilized, utilizing multiple disciplinary approaches and covering any historical period. Consequently, we encourage proposals that explore the myriad conflicts and contradictions in America's past and present. We also encourage proposals that not only explore the the explicitly political realm, but also the geographic, cultural, social, and economic conditions that have defined the American experience, from "Main Street" to "Division Street."
In addition to standard conference papers, we also invite other presentation formats and creative works, such as short films and poetry/fiction/drama readings.
Though our conference program committee will primarily be assembling the panels out of individual submissions, we also will consider pre-formed panels. Jointly-authored presentations are acceptable. We also invite any graduate students collaborating with community partners on service, activist, educational, artistic, or other projects to present in conjunction with those partners.
To propose a presentation, please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words and a brief CV of no more than one page to the American Studies Graduate Committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 10, 2009. Submission text may be embedded in the email or included in a Word attachment. If accepted, each graduate student presenter will be asked to pay a registration fee of $20 to help cover conference expenses. Those registering by August 15, 2009 may register at the early-registration discount rate, which is $17.