calls for papers
   related links


American Studies and War Narratives
This conference will examine the cultural response to war in America, with particular emphasis on how literary, visual and dramatic representations of armed conflict from the seventeenth century to the present become occasions to reimagine America’s place in the world. As such, the conference aims to focus energies devoted to “internationalizing” American Studies, by inviting renewed attention to specific moments of ethnic violence and military intervention, to global partnerships, diplomacy, strategic alliances and transcultural contact. By drawing together scholars who have turned their attentions to various scenes of conflict — from colonial encounters to the Civil War to U.S. campaigns abroad — the event will consider the rhetoric and iconography of war as a recurrent feature of attempts to articulate America’s national project while commemorating its losses and gains. At the same time, this conference will examine the special importance of war to the interpretive gestures of American Studies, a discipline crucially shaped in the decades spanning WWII and the Vietnam War, and long invested in arguments about violence in the name of national interests. Our hope is that close attention to narratives of American combat will encourage discussion of how war stories have helped to define and challenge the history of American Studies itself. The event will facilitate such discussions by structuring multi-disciplinary panels that are devoted both to analyzing discrete historical conflicts, and to the interpretation of war discourse across time and into our present moment. This event is being co-sponsored by UCSB's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, The English Department and the American Cultures Center.