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conference, October 20-23 in Baltimore
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Creating an “EARLY AMERICAN MATTERS” caucus within the American Studies Association
In order to create / register a new caucus, the caucuses will be asked to submit a description, including their rationale and purpose, an agenda with their plans and goals, and contact information. -- Crossroads' Caucus Page
A question that this title raises is “By ‘early,’ do you mean pre-1900? Prior to the so-called American Renaissance? pre-1800? Maybe even pre-European contact?,” and a legitimate answer would be Yes, as in Yes to all of the above.
We know that a number of our colleagues who attend A.S.A. conferences -- as well as many more prospective participants -- have research interests touching on those earlier periods. We know that alongside the re-invigoration of American Studies during the past two decades there has been a flourishing of interdisciplinary attention to America before the Civil War, before the Revolutionary War, before slavery came to the English colonies, before there were European colonies throughout these continents. We know too that many of today’s most fiercely contested issues crystallized in antbellum America: what political models, what forms of association, what ideological programs will be dominant? We also know that as scholarship flourishes around such questions and issues, it not only crosses these fairly arbitrary temporal boundaries (1900, the 1850s, 1800, and so on) but also takes us across traditional disciplinary lines.
We also know, alas, that for the past decade and more, the programs of A.S.A. conferences have included a paucity of matters early American. Another question, then, suggests itself:
Shouldn’t the A.S.A.’s menu of caucuses include one
whose title bears these keywords early and matters?
We say Yes, and we relish that prospect.