American Literature’s New Frontiers
Organizer: Jennifer Harris (Mount Allison University)
As Frederick Jackson Turner noted in 1893, the concept of frontiers has been central to American historic, geographic, and literary expressions. Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” has long been central to American Studies. Those frontiers might be literal or metaphoric, but their imaginative resonance has come to be constitutive of set definitions of American values, with far-reaching consequences for nationalist agendas and mythologies, decisions about security and policing, issues of citizenship, and territorial belonging. Increasingly United States politics and policies lay bare the ways in which particular notions of nationhood and citizenship have been shaped in response to rhetorics of the frontier, as we simultaneously witness resistance to any such reconfigurations of—or challenges to—its supremacy.
This panel aims to revisit and revise the Frontier Thesis, recognizing the ongoing imaginative and lived consequences of the frontier in American life and culture, and encourages submissions which consider how it continues to resonate in contemporary times, or which revise our understanding of earlier representations of the frontier. This might include the frontier as invoked in: transnational configurations, scientific explorations, dystopias, political or economic frameworks, linguistic practices, new geographies, land usages, institutional cultures (such as supermax prisons), new media, body modification, etc.
Please send send your 700 word proposal, a 100 word abstract, a 50 word bio-graphical statement, and the submitter information form (a Word file from the ACCUTE website) to Jennifer Harris <firstname.lastname@example.org> by 1 November 2011.