Democracy and Difference: The US in Multidisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives. Trento, Italy, October 26-29, 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Italian Association of North American Studies (AISNA)
contact email: 

The focus is on two keywords of contemporary societies—democracy and difference—to consider topics that are central to American Studies, including race/ethnicity, sex/gender, nationality, religion, language, landscape, migration, law, status, economy, dispossession, and expansion. The goal is to share knowledges and methodologies across disciplines, languages, and national cultures in order to investigate processes of homogenization and differentiation, and to embrace transnational, intercultural, and interdisciplinary perspectives with the aim of fostering cultural dialogue in an interconnected world.
The global tendency towards democratization, combined with the rise of identity politics, is increasingly paralleled on the one hand by renewed reflections upon the foundations of democracy itself and on the other by complex representations of identity grounded on the articulation of difference. How are conceptions of democracy and difference changing under the influence of these forces and in the midst of multiple global crises such as wars and starvation, climate change, and financial instability? What can American Studies and its affiliated areas of inquiry do to provide methods and questions that facilitate consideration of crucial issues and engage contemporary change across disciplines, boundaries, languages, and cultures?
The 21st AISNA Biennial International Conference offers a forum for critical engagement with American Studies—with the US, as well as with "America" and the Americas, Europe and the Americas, the North and the South, and the trans-Atlantic and the intra-Pacific. Consideration is given to democracy and difference in various social, cultural and institutional contexts, highlighting both interior and international perspectives, as well as to expressions and interpretations of possible interconnections among multicultural societies. Multidisciplinary and comparative approaches are deployed to map the distinct yet interconnected geographies of the present to engage democracies enriched by difference and differences nourished by democracy—i.e., to provoke a fruitful conjugation of the differencing of democracy with the democratization of differences.

Further information at:

Deadline for proposals April 30, 2011.