CFP: Pragmatism and Race (1/12/07; ASA, 10/11/07-10/14/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Hannah Wells
contact email: 

Call for papers for ASA panel on the histories of race and pragmatism
American Studies Association Annual Meeting, October 11-14, 2007,
Philadelphia, PA

  As an object of study, pragmatism has a unique resistance to critique.
  Critics as different as Cornel West and Ross Posnock value it for its
theoretical recognition of historicity and contingency. Yet pragmatism
became popular at a moment when traditional markers of race—savage and
civilized, owner and owned, black and white—underwent a period of
extreme flux that government decisions like Plessy v. Ferguson, Jim
Crow legislation, and imperialist expansion into the Philippines
effectively sought to regulate. This panel seeks papers that consider
the historical relationship between race and pragmatism by locating
both pragmatist thought and considerations of race in their own
historical moment. As a conceptual entity rooted in epistemological
crises of the late-nineteenth century, pragmatism becomes a critical
nexus for addressing more pressing issues of race that were acutely
prevalent at the moment of its conception. How has pragmatist thought
been positioned in relation to the shifting categories of black and
white, and to the apparatus of the nation-state? Might pragmatism's
past, closely historicized in relation to the racial discourses that
continue to mobilize it, re-focus our attention on both the narrative
formations that continue to mark bodies and the imaginative acts of
dissent that accompany them?

Please send 500-word proposals and CV's to Hannah Wells
( by January 12th. General inquiries are also

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Sat Jan 06 2007 - 17:59:15 EST