Announcement: PLEASE VOTE On Our Departmental Theme for 2013-2014!

American Studies

American Studies at Burning Man 2008

Last year, the Department of American Studies launched its first annual departmental theme, “DREAM.” The theme gives us a way to connect our diverse events (loosely) so that we have a year-long series of conversations. It will provide connection for undergrads across classes and across departmental events (if each class touches on the theme and you attend a movie screening and you see a lecture… then you see how intellectual ideas can cross-fertilize) and will provide creative informal writing, interview, conversational topics, or image production that can go on the blog, the webpage, and elsewhere.

This past school year, our blog featured the ways that particular classes treated the DREAM theme, our graduate conference was entitled “Reimagining the American Dream” and explored conceptions of the rags-to-riches narrative within America, and we also offered a film series on the broad theme of public and private dreams.

The time has come to select a new departmental theme, and WE NEED YOUR INPUT. Please fill out the form linked here to help us select a theme inspiring the coming year’s conversations, events, social media, and classes. And spread the word! We would love to see what you folks are interested in.

Conference Preview: Keynote Address by Dr. Claire Jean Kim

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.

kim

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!

Conference Preview: American Nightmares

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

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!

Conference Preview: The American Dream and the Politics of Promise

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

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.

Conference Preview: The American Dream and the Spatial Imaginary

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

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!

Conference Preview: The Dream in Popular Media

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

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.

Conference Preview: American Homes, Consumer Dreams

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

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!