Call for Papers

American Ideas in Context

A Postgraduate and Early Career Conference

School of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham

13-14 September 2010

Plenary Speakers:

Michael O’Brien, Cambridge University

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Intellectual history, or the history of ideas, is a methodological approach too often downplayed in disciplinary discussions of American Studies. This belies the fact that the study of American ideas and their specific contexts is vital to a wide variety of work currently taking place within the field.

The School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham has historically provided a unique institutional context for the development of scholarship in American intellectual history. This two-day conference seeks to build on this expertise in order to highlight and promote the existence of a nation-wide community of postgraduates and early career researchers whose study of the interdisciplinary history of American ideas ranges from history and political theory to literature, art history and cultural studies. Proposing a broad definition of intellectual history, “American Ideas in Context” not only invites papers that cover traditional ground by stressing the importance of certain key intellectuals or abstract ideas. It also encourages presentations that highlight the origins of American ideas in social and political movements. This approach seeks to widen the classification of intellectual “institutions” to encompass cultural as well as strictly academic sites of knowledge production (visual cultures and the press, for example). Contributions exploring the function of global, transnational and comparative linguistic factors in the formation of American thought will also be encouraged.

Overall, it is hoped that the conference will contribute to a wider understanding of the multiple historical, political and social contexts in which American ideas have been forged.

Subjects might include:

  • Republicanism
  • Liberalism
  • Pragmatism
  • Historiography
  • Social Science
  • The Old and New Lefts
  • Conservatism
  • Race Thinking
  • Feminism
  • Environmentalism
  • Globalisation
  • Identity Politics

If you are a postgraduate student or completed a PhD since 2005 and wish to give a paper, please send a proposal of no more than 300 words along with a short CV to the contact details below. Papers should be of 20 minutes duration. There will be a number of travel bursaries available for postgraduate presenters.

DEADLINE: 15 May 2010

Email: Nick Witham

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