Decades of the American Century (April 1-2)

full name / name of organization: 
U.S. Literatures and Cultures Consortium
contact email: 

In discussions of the 20th century, we often use decades as a means of organizing history, but decades come to signify more than simple ten-year blocks of time. Periods like the "roaring twenties" or the "swinging sixties" carry many connotations. The invocation of a decade can hearken back to specific events that took place at the time, but also to particular sets of historically contingent cultural norms and behaviors.

"Decades of the American Century" is a conference structured around the role of decades in our understanding of the past and of our relationship with history. Papers may cover any topic related to this general theme. Potential proposal topics include:
• Studies of particular decades
• Comparisons across decades
• Questions of historical methodology and periodization
• Individuals or cultural artifacts that are chiefly associated with particular decades
• Historical epochs of the 20th century (Prohibition, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, etc.)
• Subcultures or movements associated with decades (yuppies, hippies, disco, bootleggers, beats, etc.)
• Generations (the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, etc.)
• Our current moment and how it relates to 20th century cultural history (are we entering another great depression, how does the gay rights movement of today compare to the civil rights movement of the 1960's, etc.)

Proposals for papers or panels should be no more than 300 words. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 31, 2011. Proposals should be sent to

The U.S. Literatures and Cultures Consortium is a group of faculty and graduate students at the University of Michigan interested in United States history, literature, and culture. We emphasize interdisciplinary discussions across departments and welcome all scholars working in areas pertaining to these interests.