CFP: Chess and American Culture @ ASA '14 (1/21)

full name / name of organization: 
Les Harrison / Virginia Commonwealth University
contact email: 
hlharrison@vcu.edu

In an 1859, Oliver Wendell Holmes delivered a speech celebrating American chess champion Paul Morphy's triumphant tour of Europe. Of note for Holmes was the fact that a "child of the Great Republic" had demonstrated the capacity of the nation to excel at "the royal game of kings and conquerors." Only two decades earlier, in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841), Edgar Allan Poe had dismissed the ostentatious and "elaborate frivolity" of chess" as a game in which "what is only complex is mistaken for what is profound." For both Holmes and Poe, as well as for many Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Chess was a game whose deep cultural and historical meaning held a special significance for the United States of America.

This proposed panel for the 2014 meeting of the American Studies Association seeks papers (and a respondent) which examine the cultural significance of chess in the United States of America from the publication of Benjamin Franklin's "On the Morals of Chess" (1789) to today. Submissions may focus on any aspect of American chess or chess culture, as well as literary and cinematic depictions of chess.

Please send abstracts and inquiries to Les Harrison at hlharrison@vcu.edu by Tuesday, January 21.

cfp categories: 
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
eighteenth_century
interdisciplinary
popular_culture
twentieth_century_and_beyond