Conferences

Here you will find links to the CFPs for and details about future CAAS meetings, and to previous conferences sponsored by CAAS.

CALL FOR PAPERS: CAAS at Congress 2020

Western University, May 30-June 1, 2020

The Canadian Association for American Studies invites paper proposals for our 2020 conference, which will be held in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Applicants may submit a proposal to one of our CAAS-sponsored panels or roundtables (listed below), or to our General CFP.

Deadline for Paper Proposals: November 15, 2019

General CFP

The Canadian Association is a multi-disciplinary organization that invites paper proposals on all aspects of American Studies. This year prospective participants are encouraged (but not required) to consider the theme of Congress 2020,Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism, in relation to the field of American Studies. Please send 250 word proposals and a brief bio (100 words) to caascongress@gmail.com by November 15, 2019.

Roundtable: The Legacies of Toni Morrison

Organizer: Sara Gallagher, University of Waterloo

On Toni Morrison’s works, Carolyn Denard wrote, “she is a healer and prophet; she is a nurturer and guide; and because she achieved these tasks with such grace, love, and courage, Morrison holds an indelible position of prominence in African American history and in the history of great writers throughout the world.” In this roundtable we aim to explore Morrison’s legacies in the world of letters and to examine her lasting impact on the cultural, political, and artistic landscapes of America. We ask how her works – both literary and nonfiction – have shaped the role of the author in society by insisting on the fundamental link between artistic endeavour and politics. We further ask how this link shapes the personal and pedagogical functions of her literature to both academic and non-academic reading publics. How does the writer’s genius and celebrity status break down the boundaries that separate her art from the everyday lives of her readers?

Possible topics and themes in relation to Morrison’s collection of works include (but are not limited to) the following: race and literary representation, social justice, the politics of language, modernism, the academy, the literary ‘canon,’ and popular culture.

Please send 250 word proposals/abstracts and short (100 words) biographies by November 15, 2019 to Sara Gallagher ats4gallag@uwaterloo.ca

Panel: Los Angeles in Literature and Culture 

Organizer: Peter Brown, Mount Allison University

In the last thirty or so years, Los Angeles and the areas around it have received sustained scholarly attention from geographers, historians, sociologists, cultural theorists, literary and cultural critics and other scholars. This panel invites papers that examine cultural representations and interpretations of Los Angeles. Topics might include but are not limited to the following:

Social and cultural geographies of Los Angeles and specific neighborhoods or even streets in the city and its surroundings; fictional, including cinematic, representations of Los Angeles; creative nonfiction in LA (e.g. Joan Didion, David L. Ulin, D.J. Waldie, Alice Bolin); sunshine or noir (Mike Davis) and the limitations of such a rubric; riots/rebellions in Los Angeles; LA in popular music and popular music genres, e.g., country rock, jazz, punk, rap, glam metal; Los Angeles as a series of “landscapes of Anglo desire” (William Alexander McClung) and the multiethnic realities that challenge and refuse such desires; Latinx LA; Modernist Los Angeles, postmodern Los Angeles in theory and reality and problems with such conceptualizations.

Please send 250 word proposals/abstracts and short (100 words) biographies by November 15, 2019 to Peter Brown at pbrown@mta.ca.

Panel: Madness and American Literature  

Organizer: Sarah Blanchette, Western University

Mad Studies is a burgeoning academic field developed from the activism of the Mad Movement and the scholarship of Critical Disability Studies, Poststructuralist Feminism, Critical Race Theory, and Queer Studies. It reclaims ‘Mad’ as a positive alternative to the biomedical and pathologizing diagnoses of ‘mental illness.’ Distinct from psychoanalysis, Mad Studies considers first-person narratives from Mad individuals as legitimate sources of knowledge on Madness and psychiatric practices. While Madness is often used as metaphor or plot device in literature, this panel seeks to explore the relationship between literature and lived experiences of mental distress. This panel invites papers concerned with narratives of Madness, mental distress, or neurodiversity in American literature. How has Mad literature been used as narrative therapy? How do narratives of Madness challenge or validate biomedical approaches to ‘mental illness’? How have shifting conceptions of Madness, disability, and/or illness, based on scholarly work in Mad Studies and Critical Disability Studies, influenced literature? How can Mad literature be used in the health humanities and in adapting mental health services? How does literature resolve or further complicate conflicting narratives of Madness?

Please send a 400-word abstract and brief bio (100 words) by November 15, 2019 to Sarah Blanchette, sharri94@uwo.ca.

Panel: The Soul of America: The Legacy of the Culture Wars

Organizer: Andrew Woods, Western University

At the 1992 Republican National Convention, paleoconservative politician Patrick Buchanan declared that patriots and progressives were fighting one another in a culture war “for the soul of America.” As historian Andrew Hartman contends, the Culture Wars serve as “the defining metaphor for the late twentieth-century United States.” This panel invites proposals that corroborate, challenge, or critique the Culture Wars metaphor as a framework for American Studies. Papers may address cultural objects that either triggered controversy during the Culture Wars (i.e. Piss Christ (1987) or Do the Right Thing (1989)) or commented on cultural polarization in America (i.e. American Beauty (1999)).

Possible topics of interest include (but are not limited to): Culture Wars and counter-culture; Culture Wars and the status of race; Culture Wars and the Canon Wars; Culture Wars and popular music (i.e. rap and heavy metal); Culture Wars and decoloniality (i.e. #decolonizethisplace); Narratives of cultural decline or liberation; Nostalgic visions of “normative America”; Political Correctness versus Patriotic Correctness; the return of the Culture Wars in the age of Trump; issues of gender, family, and sexuality; metapolitics.

Please send 250-word abstracts and 100-word bios to awoods42@uwo.ca.

Panel: Stories of Undocumented Migration in the Americas

Organizer: Sarah Bassnett, Western University

Over the past decade, migration patterns between Mexico, Central America, and the United States have changed. A growing number of families and unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) have fled escalating violence caused by an expansion of drug cartels. In May 2018, the Trump administration introduced a “zero tolerance” policy aimed at discouraging migration from the region. Since then, border patrol agents have been apprehending and prosecuting people who enter the United States from Mexico between official ports of entry. Media outlets have reported on child separation, poor conditions in detention centres, and unjust court proceedings. Photojournalists have documented journeys, borders, and the security apparatus of the state. Writers have recounted the dangers and hardships faced by undocumented migrants. Artists have challenged mainstream representations by opening dialogue between communities. Questions of voice, authorship, and representation are central to the way stories of migration are told and who tells them. This panel invites papers that analyze stories of undocumented migration in the Americas or that tell stories in unique ways._

Please send 250 word proposals/abstracts and short (100 words) biographies by November 15, to Sarah Bassnett at sarah.bassnett@uwo.ca.

Panel: Sports Culture in the Transmedia Era

Organizer: Anna F. Peppard, Brock University

Because sports events are not stories in the traditional sense, seemingly related fields such as film studies, television studies, and performance studies have often struggled to meaningfully incorporate sports culture. Yet the transmedia era emphasizes American sports culture’s relevance to an ever-widening range of fields. It is now commonplace for professional athletes to market themselves as lifestyle brands to millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram and through their own production companies, fashion lines, and music labels. Sports reporting has diversified to accommodate this reality; discussions of Tom Brady’s diet, Megan Rapinoe’s tweets, Serena Williams’ magazine covers, and LeBron James’ philanthropy and production credits, along with the latest sports-based reality shows and video games, often occupy several hours per day on traditional sports networks, and many more hours within the ever-growing realm of sports podcasts and vlogs. But this revolution is double-edged: transmedia storytelling can be a tool of empowerment or commodification; it can spur progressive change and amplify backlashes.

This panel will interrogate the operation of transmedia storytelling within contemporary American sports culture. Papers may focus on specific forms (i.e. fan videos, network broadcasts, podcasts, video games, etc.), themes of representation, specific sports figures, or some combination thereof, and are strongly encouraged to address intersections of gender and race.

Please send 250-word abstracts and 100-word bios to annafpeppard@gmail.com

Panel: Miss Ann and Mister Charlie: Confronting Whiteness

 CAAS Board-Sponsored Panel

 The popularity of the Wypipo as a Twitter hashtag has drawn new attention to the ways in which various communities have long critiqued the ways of whiteness and its practitioners from beyond the academy. This board-sponsored panel invites papers that consider such critiques, whether historical, virtual, literary, cinematic, or beyond.  Topics might include white fragility, Women’s Marches, cultural products such as Dear White People, viral Beckys, and more.

Please send 250-word proposals/abstracts and short (100-words) bios by November 15 to  jennifer.harris@uwaterloo.ca.

ACCUTE/CAAS Joint-Sponsored Panel: Meeting with the Gaze: Convulsive Bodies in Twentieth-Century American Fiction

Organizer: Mohammad Sharifi (Western)

Twentieth-century American literature is haunted not only by the suppressed and disembodied specters of the past but also by a host of possessed and convulsive bodies who disrupt the normative narrative of power. While ghosts haunt the domestic space or home to (re)claim it, in the case of possession the battle is carried out inside the body – the home to self. Possession(from possidere) means the possibility or ability to sit or settle (OED), but the possessed body is rather plagued with the impossibility to sitas it is historically torn between and fought over by a multiplicity of incompatible forces and desires. In turn, as Michel Foucault points out in Abnormal, these bodies convulse in response to the imperative to confess: “The convulsive flesh… is the body that counters the rule of obedient direction with intense shocks of involuntary revolt or little betrayals of secret connivance” (213). Unlike ghosts, convulsive bodies do not shy away from the gaze but challenge it with their spectacular visibility. Convulsive bodies are profane, abnormal, and transgressive, and so they affect the narrative as well. This panel seeks to examine the role of these uncontainable bodies in Twentieth Century American fiction and their transformative effect on narrative.

Please submit by 15 November 2019 through the ACCUTE Proposal Submission Form.

CALL FOR PANELS

DEADLINE: 1 September 2019

The Canadian Association for American Studies invites panel and roundtable proposals for CAAS 2020, which will be held at Congress 2020 in London, Ontario (May 30-June 5).

If you would like to submit a CFP, please email CAAS (caascongress@gmail.com)with the following information:

  • The proposed panel or roundtable title
  • Your name, institution, and email address
  • The text of the CFP (200 words maximum)

If accepted, your panel will be included in the CAAS Call for Papers for Congress 2020, which will be issued in September. The deadline for submissions to the CAAS CFP will be 15 November 2019.

The Canadian Association for American Studies: A Symposium at Concordia University, Montreal, QC October 25-27, 2019

CALLS FOR PAPERS: DEADLINE—APRIL 5, 2019

The Canadian Association for American Studies will hold a symposium-style event at Concordia University in Montreal, from 25-27 October, 2019. The event will be an opportunity for both new and established scholars of American Studies to share new work, discuss the status of American Studies, and contribute to the future development of CAAS. All scholars are welcome.

The symposium will consist of a series of member-organized panels. CAAS therefore invites proposals for the following panels. Please submit your proposal to the email provided by the panel organizer.

Unsettling States

In the national imaginary, the US has always capitalized on movement—it has depended on immigrants; on migrant agricultural workers; on families and wagon trains seeking the frontier; on people moving for jobs—even though, at specific points in history, such movement is represented as problematic. Bums, tramps, migrant workers, “illegal” aliens, displaced persons, and veterans, among others, have been alternately welcomed and vilified. The Mexican braceros were, for example, first lauded as saviours during WWII, then characterized as a horde of invader “wetbacks” once the war was over. In film noir, returning veterans were figured as drifters; then Hollywood repatriated the same actors as suburban family men, comfortable with conformity. In a 2017 article in the New Yorker, Larissa MacFarquhar worries: “What does it mean that Americans are now moving less often than people in old European countries like France?  Has America’s restless dynamism run its course?” This panel seeks to explore different moments in US history in which movement is celebrated or deplored, welcome or lamented.

Send 200 word abstracts and brief (100 words) bios by April 5, 2019 to nicola.nixon@concordia.ca

American Popular Culture in the 1970s and 1980s

This panel seeks papers that explore American popular culture (film, television, music, and so on) in two pivotal decades of the twentieth century. Topics might include the following: alternative and oppositional forms of popular culture; lost or ignored texts, genres, movements; popular texts that embody recent history; popular cultural responses to the end of the 60s, defeat in Vietnam, stagflation, the election of Ronald Reagan; intersections of popular culture and such trends as New Age, the Human Potential Movement, the “culture of narcissism,” and others. Varying theoretical approaches are welcome, but papers should be historically grounded.

Send 200 word abstracts and brief (100 words) bios by April 5, 2019 to Peter Brown, pbrown@mta.ca

Conspiracist-in-Chief: Conspiracy Theory in the Age of Trump

Conspiracy theories have a long history in American culture. One notable paradigm shift occurs with the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Another arises following 9/11, and still another appears with the return of Donald Trump to political life. From his propagation of birtherism in 2011 to his declaration that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China in 2012 to his fanning the flames of the deep state, the migrant caravan, and QAnon in recent months, Donald Trump has headed another paradigm shift in conspiracy theory in American culture. This panel aims to discern the current direction of conspiracy theory.

Sociology, psychology, history, political science, and literary and cultural studies take very different approaches to conspiracy theory. This panel seeks papers from diverse disciplinary perspectives on the nature, function, and effects of contemporary conspiracy theories. It will take the rise of Donald Trump as a rough starting point for the period under consideration (though the 9/11 Truth movement certainly provides an informative framework), but should not be limited solely to theories disseminated or endorsed by the President. Possible topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • conspiracy theory and literature (The Circle (2012), The Ghost Network(2015))
  • conspiracy theory and politics (xenophobic nationalism, the deep state)
  • conspiracy theory and ecology (chemtrails, flat earth, climate denialism)
  • the dangers of conspiracy theories (vaccination, Pizzagate)
  • conspiracy theory and film (The Conspiracy (2012), Room 237 (2012))
  • conspiracy theories and celebrity (Alex Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • conspiracy theory and technology (facial recognition, digital assistants)
  • conspiracy theory and journalism (fake news, alternative media)
  • conspiracy theory on/and social media
  • conspiracism in/as entertainment
  • conspiracism as pathology and/or conspiracism as pleasure
  • paranoia in the age of Trump
  • secrets and lies
  • false flags and hoaxes
  • secret societies 

Send a 300-word proposal and 1-page CV by April 5, 2019 to Lindsey Banco, lindsey.banco@usask.ca

Ambivalent Outcomes

We tend to think of the act of publishing or engaging in literary culture as a positive one, empowering cultural producers. But what about people for whom the act of publishing or participating in literary culture does not produce a positive outcome? Those who might lose control of the story as it circulates in other cultural contexts or is taken up in unanticipated ways?  This panel invites proposals from those working on publications gone awry, with special consideration given to proposals on texts and authors from before 1940.

Please send a 250-word abstract and brief bio to by April 5, 2019 to Jennifer Harris,   jennifer.harris@uwaterloo.ca

Nineteenth-Century Usages

This panel concerns the politics of politeness in nineteenth-century America. Presenters will examine the mediation of political speech, strategy, and action by conventions of civility, gentility, and etiquette. As a foreseeable key word, Mannersmay be defined broadly or narrowly, according to contextual focus and theoretical or (inter-) disciplinary approach. Panelists may also reflect on the political significance of rudeness and transgression. For example, relevant topics might include:

Transatlantic Travel

Post-Colonial Anxieties

Anglophile/Anglophobe

Mobs and Populism

Reformisms (Rude Radicals, Polite Moderates)

Civil War Civilities

Professional Courtesies

Childhood and Education

Masculine and Feminine Protocols

Etiquettes of Reconstruction/Reconciliation

Political Conventions

Queering Customs

Rhetorical Modes

Escalation, Mobilization, and Violence

Snubbing, Shunning, Shaming

Polite Dialogue

Proprieties of Slavery

(Un-) Conventional Domesticity

Genteel Consumerism

Genteel Fiction

Comedy of Manners

Literary decorum

Clerical decorum

Speakable/ Unspeakable

Passive/Aggressive

Survivance and Decolonization

Class and “Tone”

Social Cues and Triggers

Diplomacy

Hospitality

Resistance

Courtship

Friendship

Please send 300-word abstract and 1-page CV by April 5, 2019 to Luke Bresky, luke.bresky@stmu.ca.

Future Conferences

2018: Alternative/Mainstream

October 12-14, 2018 / St. Mary’s University, Calgary, Alberta

View the CFP here

Past Conferences

2017: Uncertain Futures

October 27-29, 2017 / OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario

2016:  Homeland Insecurities

October 21-23, 2016 / Fredericton, New Brunswick

2015: CAAS  sponsored four panels at the 2015 American Studies Association annual meeting

October 8-11, 2015 / Toronto

2014: American Circuits, American Secrets

Banff, Alberta

September 18-21 2014

2013: Total Money Makeover: Culture and the Economization of Everything

University of Waterloo
October 24-27 2013

2012: Geographies of Promise and Betrayal: Land and Place in US Studies
York University and the University of Toronto
Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School of Global Affairs, Toronto, Ontario
October 25-28, 2012

2011: The Aesthetics of Renewal
Carleton University
Chateau Laurier
November 3-6, 2011

2010: Health/Care/Nation
University of Windsor
Windsor, Ontario
October 14-17, 2010

2009: States of Emergency: Crisis, Panic and the Nation
Centre for American Studies, University of Western Ontario
Hilton Hotel
London, Ontario
November 13-16, 2009

2008: American Legacies
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, Newfoundland
August 13-16, 2008

2007: The Americas— Drawing the Lines
Gouverneur Hotel Montreal Place Dupuis
Montreal, Québec
November 8–11, 2007

2006: American Exceptionalism
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario
October 19–22, 2006

2005: America and Violence
Delta Barrington
Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design
Halifax, Nova Scotia
October 6 – 9, 2005

2003: Authenticity and Contention
Conference Program (in Adobe® PDF)
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba
October 17-19, 2003