America Abroad: Forging an International Commons, C19, March 13-16, 2014

full name / name of organization: 
John Mac Kilgore, Florida State University; Daniel Grace, UC-Davis

We invite submissions for a panel on nineteenth-century US literatures concerned with "abroadness," that is, any topic dealing with the way that Americans abroad—as travelers, refugees, diplomats, journalists, expatriates, or laborers—forge common binds (real or ideological) with or in other nations.

But we also want to think of America abroad in a more conceptual sense of away from home—not within its own domain or customary identity, foreign to itself, but discovering a commonness defined through interactions beyond the boundary, transformed through foreign involvement; and in the sense of in circulation/exported—America as a concept inherently part of dispersed global traffic.

In the most generic sense, we ask: how does nineteenth-century literature embody US international relations, not only between political entities, but also between individuals and cultures, in order to imagine a world in common—especially reciprocal, cross-pollinating understandings of the United States and spaces abroad?

We encourage submissions that approach any aspect of this topic, including but not limited to the following:
--Anglophilia (as embodied through tourism, etc.) serving to paradoxically locate a common Americanness rooted, not in the US, but in Britain.
--The creation or discovery of micro-communities and networks between Americans abroad that the US itself would not permit, de jure or de facto.
--The importance of fugitive slave narratives (that carry us abroad) and world travel to the abolition movement in the US, and movements for an international or common black identity.
--The role of traveling or working abroad for emergent US feminisms and the re-imagining of domestic identity.
--The artist in exile or the expatriate artist.
--The tourism industry.
--The US and Native nations.
--The legacy of cosmopolitanism as represented by literature.
--Engagements with concrete international relations (diplomacy, treaty-making, war, economics, etc.).
--The US and the Global South.
--The exportation of American capital and culture and language.
--International labor and revolutionary traffic.
--Representations of international space.
--The limitations to imagining or forging common identities abroad through perceived or real heterogeneities between nations, peoples, and cultures.
--US empire and its desire to reproduce itself abroad through discourses of the commons or commonality.
--Issues of religion (pilgrimmage, ecumenicalism, world faiths, missionary activity).

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a one-page CV to John Mac Kilgore ( and Daniel Grace ( by September 15.