2015 Conference

The University of Texas Department of American Studies is pleased to announce our 2014-2015 Graduate Student Conference:


to be held at the University of Texas on April 2nd and 3rd, 2015. 

The death of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri this August, the immigration crisis centering primarily around the recent influx of children from Central America to the United States, and the growing panic over the spread of the ebola virus can all be read as the newest manifestations of a long-running pattern throughout American history and culture: the relationship between constructions of “healthy” communities, the fear that these communities will be violated, invaded, or contaminated, and the mobilization of these fears as justification for action in the name of community preservation. The history of the United States is littered with rhetorical constructions of safety and security, purity and contamination—as well as with the results of very real processes of violence, displacement, and exclusion.

With this in mind, we invite presenters to consider constructions of home and health, and to explore how these concepts have been and continue to be mobilized in the construction and erasure of American communities, families, and selves. What processes are involved in the construction of a sense of home, either personal or communal? Who gets to define the boundaries of community? What relationships and investments does the name “home” imply? What produces a sense of homesickness, and what does this sense of nostalgia in turn produce? What does a “healthy”—or a “sick”—community look like? What is the relationship between community construction and processes of exclusion, abjection, and othering? We invite both papers that reflect on the present moment as well as explorations of the shifting terrain of home and health in American history. Submissions from all disciplines are welcome.

Proposals for individual papers and panel submissions include, but are not limited to

  • homemaking and domesticity
  • historic visions of the home
  • revisions of the nuclear family
  • constructions of healthy and sick communities
  • imagined, imaginary, and lost homes and homelands
  • nostalgia for lost homes and communities
  • neighbors, neighborhoods, and neighborliness
  • strangers, intrusions, and invasions
  • migration and immigration
  • communal and individual displacement
  • homelessness
  • violence and the home
  • affective dimensions of the home
  • housing policy
  • militarization and the home front
  • homeland and home security
  • sickness, contagion, & containment
  • community preservation
  • the neighborhood watch, surveillance, and criminality
  • theoretical and practical dimensions of property

To apply, please visit utams2015.wordpress.com/submissions and complete the short form. Applications are due by January 23, 2015. Please direct questions to utams2015@gmail.com.

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