Special Forum--On Demand and Relevance: Transnational American Studies in the Middle East and North Africa (abstracts 5/30/13)
Special Forum--"On Demand and Relevance: Transnational American Studies in the Middle East and North Africa"
Guest Editors: Ebony Coletu (American University in Cairo) and Ira Dworkin (American University in Cairo)
This special forum of the Journal of Transnational American Studies invites proposals on transnational American Studies in the Middle East and North Africa as a way to prompt reflection on the purposes and challenges of invoking the "transnational" in American Studies from a geopolitical center that has become the object of intense and often exuberant interest over the last two years. "The Arab Spring" has been invoked repeatedly to reference world historical events that have revived inquiry into the potential for revolution, transnational social movements, and new frameworks for studying Arab agencies and subjectivities that displace the interpellative dominance of the 'terrorist subject' since 9/11. As a result of this new demand for alternative narratives, explanation, and connection, more space has opened up for scholars whose work attends to transnational American Studies in the Middle East and North Africa. However, a problem arises in this opening: the terms of intelligibility and relevance have been overdetermined by networks of circulation and association that often depend on specific institutional resources, conference attendance, language facility, translation, and other forms of access.
This special forum shifts focus to the relevance of transnational American Studies as it emerges in the context of practice. To facilitate this shift, we invite proposals representing a range of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches that use research, teaching, and institutional development as illustrative components to highlight the ways concepts and debates are reframed in practice rather than simply reiterated around the globe. For example, how are the stakes of studying race and diaspora reformulated in transnational American Studies as it is taught in the Middle East and North Africa? How are theories and histories of solidarity articulated or unsettled? What does translation make available and how does language isolate or shift the audience for research and its implications? What are the constraints and opportunities for multi-sited research, and how are state-imposed limits on social research overcome? We are especially interested in collaborative proposals and submissions that represent the geographic, linguistic, and institutional diversity of the region.
Send abstracts of no more than 250 words by May 30, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Full papers of 6,000 to 8,000 words (including notes and sources) are due by August 30, 2013.