Milestones, Markers, and Moments: Turning Points in American Experience and Tradition

John Haddad's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
January 16, 2017
Location: 
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Historic Preservation, Popular Culture Studies

Annual Conference of the Eastern American Studies Association (EASA)

Date: March 31-April 1, 2017

Venue: Harrisburg Hilton, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Partner Organization: Middle Atlantic Folklife Association (MAFA) and Society of Americanists (SOA)

In the upcoming year, Americans might reflect on several critical moments of the nation’s past and anticipate markers of the future that will define its experience and tradition. One hundred years ago in April 2017, the United States entered World War I to make the world “safe for democracy,” according to President Woodrow Wilson.  Fifty years ago in January 1967, the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs competed in the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles. That spring, urban racial violence erupted, and by June and July it would reach significant magnitude in Boston, Tampa, and Newark. By summer’s end, over 150 cities had exploded. The year wound to its end with over 100,000 people marching on Washington to protest their country’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.

The year 1967 also saw turning points in the academic world.  Responding to the racial unrest of the late sixties, the American Studies Association executive committee had elected the distinguished African-American scholar John Hope Franklin as its president.  He would preside at the association’s first national convention in October.  At Penn State Harrisburg, for the first time the graduating class included American Studies majors. Twenty years before that, Franklin & Marshall College had created the first folklore department in the state, and a public state folklorist position with an Americanist focus was created. At both the national and local level, these events rank as milestones for the country and its study.

This year, EASA, in partnership with the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association and the incipient Society of Americanists, a coalition of persons and organizations devoted to the study of American culture, invites proposals for papers, panels, forums, and workshops related to the broad theme of turning points in American history, folklife, education, cultural conservation, heritage, and society. The program committee is particularly interested in examples of public memory and memorialization that have played notable roles in American culture and its global reach. Closer to the present, we also invite analyses of the presidential election of 2016 as a milestone event, already distinguished historically by the first woman to run for president as candidate of a major party.

The EASA hopes for presentations suggested by the conference theme and its discussion. As well, we welcome panels on topics of significance to scholars engaged in the practice of American Studies that the conference theme otherwise might exclude.  We are, in other words, open to proposals that fall outside the conference theme.

Submission Guidelines:

For Individual Presenters: Send a short abstract (no more than 200 words) and a brief CV or resume (no more than two pages).  Place your name and email address on both documents.

For Pre-formed Panels: Send a cover sheet with the title of the panel, the names of each participant, and the titles of their presentations.  Include a short abstract of each paper (no more than 200 words each) as well as a brief CV or resume for each panel participant (no longer than two pages).

All materials should be sent to Jennifer Drissel (jzd5551@psu.edu) before Monday, January 16, 2017.  Those affiliated with either MAFA or SOA should also send proposals/CVs to Jennifer Drissel and should indicate their organizational affiliation in their submission.  In some cases, a submitter may indicate more than one affiliation.   

Graduate students whose proposals are accepted will be encouraged to submit their final papers electronically several weeks prior to the conference to be considered for the Simon J. Bronner Award for the outstanding graduate paper in American Studies. The conference will also host an Undergraduate Roundtable.  Faculty members interested in having their undergraduate students present research at the conference should contact Dr. Francis Ryan of La Salle University (ryan@lasalle.edu).  Roundtable participants will compete for the Francis Ryan Award, awarded annually to the outstanding undergraduate paper.

Any general questions can be directed to John Haddad of Penn State Harrisburg (jrh36@psu.edu).  For more information, including our downloadable newsletter, see the EASA website:  http://harrisburg.psu.edu/eastern-american-studies-association

Contact Info: 

John Haddad, Professor of American Studies and Popular Culture, Penn State Harrisburg

Contact Email: