CFP: The Obama Effect 2.0 Conference (Baltimore, MD)

Kimberly Moffitt's picture
October 27, 2016
Maryland, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Communication, Cultural History / Studies, Political Science, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Call for Papers: The Obama Effect 2.0 Conference

October 27-29, 2016

University of Maryland Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD)

His accolades include a Nobel Peace Prize, the Dodd-Frank (Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection) Act, the Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Defense of Marriage Act rendered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. His detractors suggest his Middle East policies are ineffective, he is abusive of Executive Orders, and has failed to devise a reasonable solution for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as well as prosecute the masterminds of the 2008 financial crash. The scope of these noteworthy events are just a part of the "effect" of Barack Obama during his near-complete two terms as the 44th President of the United States. Since stepping into the national political spotlight at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, then-Senator Barack Obama and reactions to his eventual ascendancy to the White House as president have confounded conventional wisdom. What many sensed as unique, different, refreshing and forward thinking about Mr. Obama, we dubbed “The Obama Effect.” And as his time in office comes to a close, it is imperative for scholars and professionals in a wide variety of disciplines to reflect upon this presidency’s effect and impact on: American and global public opinion; party politics; voter participation; media representations; international relations; religious discourses; race and the American police state; nationality and patriotism; and constructions of racial, sexual, and gender identities.  

We invite presentation proposals for The Obama Effect 2.0 Conference. This conference is a follow-up to our event of the same name held at the University of Minnesota in 2008, where we first explored the “Obama Effect” ”--- the impact his rise to power already had upon history, upon America, and upon the world.  This conference is intended to begin considering these "effects," short and long term, expected and unexpected, of President Obama's two-term tenure. We invite papers from scholars, professionals, and community organizers working from different perspectives on the phenomenon of President Obama’s time in the White House. Our goal is to create a conference that will showcase various and interdisciplinary approaches to the “Obama Effect. This notion also extends to the racialized and gendered narratives of First Lady Michelle Obama who has made strides and created waves that could also be characterized as having an “effect.” The conference will provide participants with a multi-faceted view of the past eight years and the significance that the Obama Era has had on our sense of politics, national identity, media, and public opinion.

Submissions from academic fields such as: history, media studies, journalism, communication studies, political science, philosophy, social justice, African American Studies, ethnic studies, American Studies, sociology, and law are welcome.  Essays from professional journalists, political consultants, community organizers, and others are also desired. Additionally, we want to encourage critical performance pieces that illuminate the “Obama Effect” via visual or performance art, media and new media production.

What will be the lasting impacts of the Obama Administration --an Executive Branch led for the first time in American history by a person of color? How will we think about the Presidency, campaign methods and ethics, and the “national conversation about race?” How has the emergence of social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, transgender rights, gay marriage, and the Dreamers been part of --or a challenge to--the Obama Era?  What should we consider his legacy in foreign policy, given the intractability of the situations in Iraq, Israel, and Afghanistan, and dismay over big trade deals like TPP?  How might the Obama team’s electoral strategies impact the 2016 presidential campaigns (and candidates)? We are obliged to look back to distant histories as well as scrutinize recent phenomena.  At the same time, we should ponder what changes we might expect, and what backlash may surge, as President Obama leaves office.

Submissions should be completed papers (6000-7000 words) or extended abstracts (250-500 words) for works in progress.  Works in progress should provide evidence that the paper and/or performance piece will be completed by the date of the conference. Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2016.

Papers should be submitted to the conference email address at:

Participants will be notified of submission status no later than July 10, 2016.  If you have questions about the conference or the submission process, please contact us via the conference email address or at our respective institutions.

Conference Organizers:

Dr. Kimberly R. Moffitt, Host/Organizer, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

Dr. Heather E. Harris, Co-Organizer, Stevenson University

Dr. Catherine Squires, Co-Organizer, University of Minnesota

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