For our 150th blog post at AMS :: ATX (!!), we thought it might be nice to show you another side of our department. American Studies graduate students certainly work hard, but we also play hard. Several members of the graduate community band together each spring to play softball in the UT intramural league. Today, we bring you some photos of the Machine in the Garden team, the name (of course) an homage to Leo Marx’s canonical American Studies text. While the team’s record was not one for the books, we had a wonderful time getting out in the sun and working out some of our academic aggression on the field. Enjoy!
Only one more day to wait! This Thursday and Friday, the American Studies Graduate Student Conference will take place at the Texas Union. Click here for a full schedule.
Today we’d like to offer you a special invitation to our keynote address by Dr. Claire Jean Kim (Political Science and Asian American Studies, UC Irvine). Dr. Kim’s address is entitled, “The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Michael Vick” and will take place on Thursday, April 4 from 6:00p.m. – 7:30p.m. in NOA 1.124.
Here’s a little more on our keynote speaker:
Claire Jean Kim received her B.A. in Government from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. She is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on racial politics, multiculturalism, social movements, and human-animal studies. Dr. Kim’s first book, Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City (Yale University Press, 2000) won two awards from the American Political Science Association: the Ralph Bunche Award for the Best Book on Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism and the Best Book Award from the Organized Section on Race and Ethnicity. She is completing a second book, Multiculturalism On Edge: Contesting Race, Species, and Nature (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which examines the intersection of race and species in impassioned disputes over how immigrants of color, racialized minorities, and Native people in the U.S. use animals in their cultural traditions. Dr. Kim has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of California Center for New Racial Studies, and she has been a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and the University of California Humanities Research Institute. Dr. Kim is an Associate Editor of American Quarterly and the co-guest editor with Carla Freccero of a special issue of American Quarterly entitled, Species/Race/Gender, forthcoming in September 2013.
Hope to see you there!
The conference is two short days away, and today we bring you our last post in a series of sneak peeks at the American Studies Graduate Student Conference: a panel entitled “American Nightmares.”
Photograph by Andrew Jones
- Sara O’Neill, “Longing for the Zombie Apocalypse: Max Brooks’ World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and Contemporary America”
- Susan Quesal, “The John Wayne Gacy House as Metaphor for America”
- David Juarez, “‘I was Gerard’: Saintliness, Sorrow, and Shame in Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Gerard”
- Kayla Rhidenour, “The Dream of a Soldier, The Promise of a Nation”
- Regina Mills, “The Indescribable and Undiscussable in George Washington Gómez: The Trauma of An American Dream”
This panel will be the final panel of the conference and will take place on Friday, April 5 from 4:00p.m. – 5:30p.m. in the Texas Union, 4.206 Chicano Culture Room. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss!
Next up in our series of sneak peeks at the American Studies Graduate Student Conference is a panel entitled “The American Dream and the Politics of Promise.” This panel will feature papers on political theory and rhetoric as they relate to the American Dream.
Photograph by Andrew Jones
- Curt Yowell, “The Rhetoric of Poverty and Payday Loans”
- Joe Roberto Tafoya, “Watching and Learning From the Shadows: Political Sophistication of Latina/o Young Adults”
- Jeff Birdsell, “Advancing the Student as Investor Metaphor by Reconceptualizing the ‘Career Student’ to Advance the American Dream”
- Duncan Moench, “How Social Democrats can Change the American Dream: A Political Communication Perspective”
This panel will take place on Friday, April 5 from 10:45a.m. – 12:15p.m. in the Texas Union, 4.206 Chicano Culture Room.
Today we continue our series of sneak peeks at the American Studies Graduate Student Conference with a look at another one of the great panels we have in store–”The American Dream and the Spatial Imaginary.”
Photograph by Andrew Jones
“The American Dream and the Spatial Imaginary” is composed of papers that consider the relationship between space, place and literature, art, activism, and identity construction. This panel will take place on Thursday, April 4 from 2:15p.m. – 3:45p.m. in the Texas Union, 4.206 Chicano Culture Room.
- Vinh Nguyen & Alma Salcedo, “Post-Antebellum Spaces and Places at the University of Texas at Austin: From Lost Cause to Student Activism, Plot of the Land and Sites of Resistance”
- Paul Gansky, “Creosote and Electricity: Telecommunications, Art, and the United States”
- Julia Traylor, “‘I Wanted My Tiara, Damn It’: Drag Royalty in Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties”
- Valerie Henry, “Cattle or Wheat: Spatial Imaginings and the Production of Local Knowledge in María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don”
- L.E. Neal, “The Music of Class Mobility: Identity Construction in Emerging Western Swing and the Texas Centennial”
This conference is free and open to the public. Conference registration (and refreshments!) begin Thursday April 4 at 1:00p.m. in the Texas Union, 3.128 Sinclair Suite. Stay tuned for more sneak peeks!
Today our series of sneak peeks at the American Studies Graduate Student Conference continues with”The Dream in Popular Media,” a panel that will feature commentary on the American Dream and representations of alternative pasts and hopeful futures as expressed in popular music and comedy.
Photograph by Andrew Jones
“The Dream in Popular Media” panel will feature the following presenters and papers:
- Jen Rafferty, “‘If the South Woulda Won’: Reimagining the Southern Past in Contemporary Country Music”
- Sequoia Maner & Yvette DeChavez, “‘Build Your Fences, We Diggin’ Tunnels’: Remixing the American Dream”
- Carrie Andersen, “‘I Find Human Contact Repulsive’: The Pain of Political Discourse and Community in Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm“
This panel will take place on Friday, April 5 from 2:15p.m. – 3:45p.m. in the Texas Union, 4.206 Chicano Culture Room.
Good morning, Austin and everywhere!
This week on AMS:: ATX we are excited to feature a series of sneak peeks at the panels that will take place at the upcoming American Studies Graduate Student Conference on Thursday, April 4 and Friday, April 5 here at UT Austin. The theme for this year’s conference is “Reimagining the American Dream,” and we have an incredible line-up of grad student presenters and faculty moderators who will weigh in on everything from power lines and western swing to payday loans, refrigerators, and the zombie apocalypse.
Photograph by Andrew Jones
First up, we present to you a panel entitled “American Homes, Consumer Dreams,” which takes on the complicated relationship between the American Dream and the domestic landscape of houses, appliances, waste, and work. This panel will take place on Friday, April 5 from 9:00a.m. – 10:30a.m. in the Texas Union, 4.206 Chicano Culture Room
- Natalie Zelt, “Self-Preservation: Identity, Food Politics and the American Dream in Mark Menjivar’s series ‘You Are What You Eat’”
- Laura Jacquelyn Simmons, “General Electric’s Monitor Top Refrigerator and the Impossible Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow”
- Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, “Trash Talk: Disposable Tableware and the American Dream”
- Sherri Sheu, “Salvaged Visions of the American Masculinity: Restoration Hardware, American Mythologies, and the Post-Fordist Economy”
- Jocelyn Wikle, “Cinderella and Cinderelliot: Gender Differences in Adolescent and Young Adult Housework”
This conference is free and open to the public. Conference registration (and breakfast!) begin on Friday, April 5 at 8:00a.m. in the Texas Union, 2.102 Eastwoods Room. Stay tuned all week for a look at the great panels coming to UT next Thursday and Friday!
A hearty welcome back from spring break (at least for you UT folks) from all of us at AMS :: ATX. We’re kicking off the week by sharing what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion featuring one of our own graduate students, Elissa Underwood, as a panelist.
Details below from the official event announcement:
In advance of the 12th Annual Sequels Symposium, the second Prequels event of Spring 2013 will focus on the work of Peter Caster, one of the conference’s keynote speakers and a distinguished alumnus of the English department. Caster’s recent book, Prisons, Race, and Masculinity in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature and Film (2008), is grounded in the proposition that “the history, literary and otherwise, of the United States is indivisible from that of its prisons.”
Inspired by this work, a panel of graduate students, faculty members, and activists will offer perspectives and narratives that capture the realities of the American prison industrial complex. This discussion will open with a brief video montage of scenes from TV and film that best represent how American popular culture depicts the national prison system. In response to this montage, our panelists will share how their work reveals and communicates the realities of prison life in the United States. Panelists include Melissa Burch (Graduate Student, Anthropology), Rebecca Lorins (Texas After Violence Project), Elissa Underwood(Graduate Student, American Studies), Benet Magnuson (Policy Attorney, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition), and E3W’s very own Barbara Harlow, who will serve as a moderator and respondent. We hope you will join us and add your voice to the discussion.
The following dispatch comes to us from MA student Natalie Zelt:
This past weekend the Food Lab at the University of Texas co-hosted with Boston University two days of round table panel discussions on food, global urbanization and innovation. The sequel to a conference hosted at BU last year, each of the six panels were composed of an interdisciplinary array of academics, practitioners and innovators who were charged with answering one of six questions: What is Food? Do we need to rethink how we produce food? How are cities building resilient food systems? What will our urban food map look like? What is innovation as it relates to our food system? Food Start-ups: who, what, where, when, why?
The interdisciplinary nature of each panel was extremely valuable to the conference overall as was the wealth of food thinkers and doers working in and around Austin. Placing architects next to sociologists next to urban garden managers next to artists and historians forced the majority of the panels to acknowledge the impact of both concrete problems (like frequent technological malfunctions of EBT machines when trying to adopt food stamps to a farmers market) and larger questions about the role of urban space in agricultural production. Strangely enough the most raucous panel proved to be on Saturday morning. Having the founders of three of Austin’s largest organic farms and food cooperatives, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Farmhouse Delivery and Greenling, in one room with Chris Romano, the Global produce procurement team leader for Whole Foods Market, led to seemingly friendly but loaded conversation about economic growth in food innovation in Austin that was punctuated by lively additions from the historians on the panel.
Only once, in the panel charged with spending two hours answering the question “Do we need to rethink how we produce food?” did the conversation fall into what felt like a tried feedback loop of food issues dialogue: continually reweighing environmental concerns against socio-economic issues of access and fair practices. Perhaps because, by 2013, the answer to the question under these panelists purview is clearly “yes.” Moderator John Doggett, did his best to push the conversation toward a centralized end, but unfortunately the group concluded with a frightfully complicated charge: the need to outline America’s definition of “good food” for the future.
Finite solution forthcoming.
For a full list of the participants see: http://foodincubator.wordpress.com/conference/
Our graduates do amazing things. Like this: recent Ph.D. John Cline is preparing to walk from New Orleans to Chicago for a project entitled “Arterial America.” He is raising funds through Kickstarter to support the trip, and there are a mere 24 hours to go! Check out his description of the project:
The original idea behind Arterial America (www.arterialamerica.com) was simple enough: get from New Orleans to Chicago. As a music historian—I graduated with a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas last May—the pathway between those two cities is of enormous significance: it’s the distance between Louis Armstrong and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, or between Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. But as this project shifted from idle thought to actual plan, it became clear that the way north has historically consisted of many routes, exceeding the bounds of a “Blues Trail” or even of an African American “Great Migration.” They go back to before Columbus, when American Indians followed what we now call the “Natchez Trace” across the states of Mississippi and Tennessee. That same trail was followed by boatmen from before the time of Mark Twain, hoofing it back to their hometowns after floating a raft full of goods to the port of New Orleans, returning with what coin remained in their pockets after the temptations of the Crescent City. The way north consists, too, of railways and roadways, and, of course, boats. And so, the plan is to walk from New Orleans to Memphis, following the back roads and bits of the Trace and Highway 61, catch a towboat from Memphis to St. Louis, and finally hop a train from St. Louis to Chicago. At the same time, I cannot travel the routes that I’m traveling and expect to find the “last of the Mississippi bluesmen.” Rather, what’s important at the outset is to keep my ears and eyes open to contemporary life.
John has raised 72% of his goal and has until Tuesday, January 15, 12:54pm EST to reach 100%. Check out the Kickstarter here and follow John on his project blog here.