Announcement: Check out UT AMS Folks at ASA!

It’s that time of year again–time for the annual American Studies Association Annual Meeting, which will be held in Washington D.C. from November 21-24. This year’s theme is “Beyond the Logic of Debt, Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent,” and a number of folks from the UT American Studies department will be representing AMS and ATX at this year’s conference. For those of you who will be in and around D.C. this week, here’s a list of not-to-be-missed presentations!


Ph.D. candidate Andrea Gustavson will present in the “Photographing War, Picturing Dissent: Visualizing the Vietnam Conflict” panel on Thursday from 10:00 to 11:45am in the Georgetown West room with a paper titled “Snapshots of the Living-Room War: Consent and Critique in Soldier Photography of the Vietnam Conflict.” In her presentation, Gustavson will consider snapshots from the Vietnam Center and Archive (VNCA) at Texas Tech University and the way these photographs “provide a visual record of the ways that war takes place day by day, depicting the ordinariness of life lived amidst violence and revealing the complex ways that Americans construct their own understandings of conflict.”

Shirley Thompson will present as part of the Material Culture Caucus on Thursday from 2:00 to 3:45pm in a panel called “Credit/Debit, Fealty/Faith: Doing, Subverting, and Archiving America’s Business from the Antebellum Era to Jim Crow” that will take place in the Cardozo room. Dr. Thompson’s paper is titled “As Though They Meant Something: Insurance Documents, Indebtedness, and African-American Freedom” and addresses the way “American wealth has long been predicated on a devaluation of blackness with consequences that persist to this day.” She draws on archives of insurance documents that “allow historians to access the everyday calculus African-Americans used to edify their lives and build social networks in the early decades of the twentieth century.”

Ph.D. candidate Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa will present alongside Dr. Thompson in the “Credit/Debit, Fealty/Faith” panel with a paper titled “The First Cut is the Deepest: Financial Records and the Indebted Archive,” in which she considers “what is lost when legal and accounting discourses govern what remains as evidence of a corporation, a public body or a personal life.”


Nicole Marie Guidotti-Hernandez, Associate Professor of American Studies and Co-Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT, will present in a panel on Borderland Intimacies on Friday from 8:00 to 9:45am in the Fairchild West room. Her paper, “The Homoerotics of Abjection: The Gaze of Leonard Nadel’s Placeless Bracero Photographs,” examines a photo series from the Salinas Valley in 1956 and shows how  photos of the displaced men of the Bracero Program “register desire, sexuality, and longing out of the abject subject position.”

A. Naomi Paik will also present on Friday present on Friday from 8:00 to 9:45amin a panel on Imperialism, Freedom, Refuge, Reparation, which will take place in the Gunston East room. Paik’s paper is titled “War, Labor, and the Gift of Citizenship” and it “examines intersections of U.S. empire, labor exploitation, and the contradictory debts they produce by tracing the movements of Japanese Latin Americans extradited and imprisoned by the U.S. state during World War II.”

Our department chair, Elizabeth Engelhardt, will be a speaker on the ASA Committee on American Studies Departments, Programs and Centers panel, “Strategies for Intra-Institutional Alliances to Ensure Program Stability,” on Friday from 10:45 to 12:30pm in the Cardozo room.

Ph.D. candidate Sean Cashbaugh will present as part of the Occupy Imaginaries panel on Friday from 4:00 to 5:45pm in the Monroe room. Cashbaugh’s paper, “Orientation and Resonance in a Radical Imaginary: Avant-Garde, Underground, Occupy,” connects the Occupy movement to “previous movements that troubled conventional ideas about political organization, such as the “avant-garde” of the early twentieth century and the mid-twentieth century “underground.”

Also from 4:00 to 5:45pm, Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Kelly will present as part of the panel she organized, “Tourism, Debt, and Disaster: The Politics of Touring the Toxic Everyday” in the Gunston East room. Kelly’s paper is titled Your Work is Not Here: Solidarity Tourism in Occupied Palestineand explores the way ” Palestinian organizers and activists increasingly utilize the mobility of internationals to communicate their message,” where she addresses “what light an analysis of solidarity tourism in Palestine can shed on questions of solidarity, neoliberal investments, settler-colonialism, military occupation, and anti-colonial collective dissent.”


Cary Cordova will present in a panel titled, “Mapping Race and Revolution in the Americas: Literary and Political Syntheses from WWII to the War on Terror” on Saturday from 8:00 to 9:45am in the Cardozo room. Dr. Cordova’s paper, “A Psychogeography of Latina/o Radicalism: The Politics of Latina/o Landscapes,” explores “how Latinas/os can be seen, or not seen in the nation’s physical spaces.”

Ph.D. candidate Irene Garza will present as part of the War and Peace Studies Caucus on Saturday from 10:00 to 11:45am in a panel titled “Beyond Blood and Treasure: Reconceptualizing War Debt I (Redress and Repayment)” in the Georgetown East room. Garza’s paper, “Every(Body) is a Hero: Calculating Life and Death among Latina/o Iraq War Veterans,” looks at the interconnections between the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, Latinas/os, and the American military. Latina/o veterans now engaged in the battle to build a full-service medical facility in the Valley.


On Sunday morning from 8:00 to 9:45am, graduate student Robert Oxford will present as part of the “Critical University Studies I: Mortgaging Higher Education” panel in the Lincoln West room with his paper titled, “From Occupy to Strike Debt: Organizing Success and Struggles.” Oxford will explore “the connection between personal indebtedness, access to the American middle class, labor and finance capital.”

Ph.D. candidate Lily Laux will present her paper, “Teaching Texas: Disguising Debt in the School to Prison Pipeline,” in a panel on Neo/Colonial Pedagogies and the Creation of Indebted Knowledges in the American Century. Laux’s panel will take place on Sunday from 12:00 to 1:45pm in the Lincoln West room, and she will address the “legislative construction of institutionalized education” in Texas.

Ph.D. candidate Elissa Underwood will also present on Sunday from 12:00 to 1:45pm in a panel titled “Confronting Carceral America: Activist Responses to the Punitive Logics of Debt” in the Fairchild East room. Underwood will present her paper, “The Carceral Kitchen: A Recipe for Change in the Punitive State?,” which considers the way “food and foodways provide unique lenses by which to understand and interrogate” the carceral logic that “label[s] people and communities of color both exploitable and disposable” and resistance to this logic in activist carceral kitchens.

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