American Imperialism and Identity: National and International Understandings of the United States

full name / name of organization: 
Durham University (UK)
contact email: 
aii.durham2014@gmail.com

Throughout the twentieth century the United States has risen to the role of World Power, with its political, cultural, social and economic influence stretching far beyond its own borders. Can the United States’ actions abroad or even within its own borders be considered imperialistic? To what extent has the United States throughout its history and today been preoccupied with control and what role does the creation of identity play within this? Do the recent NSA leaks and the involvement of the United States in the Middle East come under the umbrella of a past of American imperialism or how else can these be understood? How has the role the United States plays within the world influenced identities and cultures within the United States? Do we simply begin to understand these debates through United States domestic and foreign policies, or can we look to its cultural output to reconfigure our ideas?

This one day conference aims to bring together research students from across the UK to examine how the United States came to inhabit its role on the world stage, and what influence that has had on the development of identities both nationally and globally. Paper proposals are invited from, but not limited to, the following disciplines: history, English, politics, philosophy, sociology, economics, art history, geography, media studies and psychology. We also welcome proposals for creative presentations or performances inspired by the conference theme. Presenters may address a range of themes and topics, including the following:

 defining American imperialism and the forms it can take
 early American identities and the development of imperialistic thought in the United States
 Manifest Destiny and westward expansion
 Narratives of imperialism and the representation of national identity in literature, film, television etc.
 US race relations and the intersections between national and minority identities
 the Cold War and its influence on the idea of “Americanness”
 cross-continental involvement and its effects on national and international conceptions of Americans and the United States
 economics and the role of capitalism in the expansion of American influence
 the place of American identity and imperialism in creating a national literature
 the rhetoric of identity in US political debates over involvement abroad

The deadline for submitting abstracts is the 20th of February 2014. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and should include an additional personal profile of no more than 75 words. Please e-mail all paper, presentation or performance proposals to aii.durham2014@gmail.com. Registration for the one-day conference is free (including lunch), but travel and accommodation costs will not be covered. More information forthcoming on our website: usimperialismandidentityconference.wordpress.com

cfp categories: 
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ethnicity_and_national_identity
graduate_conferences
interdisciplinary
international_conferences
postcolonial