America as Myth, America as Reality

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American Studies Association of Korea
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The American Studies Association of Korea invites scholars to submit paper proposals for its international conference, October 22-23, 2010, to be held in Seoul, Korea.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Charles Bernstein (University of Pennsylvania)

Call for papers:

Ten years into the 21st century, the United States comes out of a decade of exceptional uncertainties and challenges as well as unprecedented events. The country celebrated the election of its first African American president who campaigned on a theme of change and the hope of reclaiming America's leadership in the world. But the continuing conflicts and shifting power relations around the globe, compounded by the financial crisis of the last years of the 2000s, are calling for a renewed look at the long-standing values and the founding ideals of the United States.

In the past, the myth of U.S. cultural, political, and economic superiority had been assumed as a given and often reified as reality. The ideals of liberty, equality, democracy, happiness, and charity came to represent for many people a moral standard for which America should strive. However, the discrepancy between "America as myth" and "America as reality" has been apparent in numerous examples of betrayed ideals not only inside but outside of America. It can be said that the domination of individualism and capitalism in American life has also produced a form of intellectual, cultural, social, and political bankruptcy. At the same time, America has frequently been viewed by Americans and the rest of the world as the embodiment of freedom, equal economic opportunity, and guarantee of certain basic human rights, ideals which have been part and parcel of the national psyche, or the American Dream.

With America at a crucial crossroads, it appears timely to revisit America's myths by investigating the modes of their perpetuation and incorporation into realities as well as their convergences and divergences in the past and present lives of its individuals and communities. We invite colleagues in American Studies to join us as we address both traditional and emerging topics on America in the new decade. While we welcome proposals addressing the conference theme, the conference is open to any related topics and approaches in American studies including interdisciplinary and transnational/transcultural perspectives.

Please submit a one-page proposal and curriculum vitae by April 17, 2010 to Peggy Cho, Secretary of Research, at ASAK's organizing committee will respond by May 15 by e-mail. ASAK will provide local expenses (local transportation, room and board) for all international participants for the duration of the conference.