Proposed Panel for ASA 2013: Beyond Blood and Treasure: Reconceptualizing War Debt

full name / name of organization: 
American Studies Association / War & Peace Studies Caucus
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Beyond the familiar metrics of 'blood and treasure,' what does war cost? Contemporary American militarism is dominated by a fiduciary logic. The government establishes monetary values for lost limbs, injured brains, and disturbed psyches in assessing veterans' disability clams. In popular discourse and cultural production, veterans' sacrifices are figured as debts that every citizen owes. This sense of beholdenness may alternately inspire or inhibit anti-war protest or dissent. The notion of indebtedness generates particular forms of patriotism, and inflects practices of memorialization and remembrance. "Beyond Blood and Treasure" proposes a recalculation of the price of war, and invites papers that engage these issues or others that explore the connections between debt and militarism. This panel asks for a new and critical accounting of the economic, physical, social, and affective prices of U.S. wars, domestically and abroad as they are accrued, carried, and repaid by soldiers, civilians, and the nation-state. The proposal will be submitted under the aegis of the War and Peace Studies Caucus. Please send abstracts and a short bio to Rebecca Adelman ( by 17 January; decisions about the final composition of the panel will be made by 21 January.