Remaking American Political History
June 6-7, 2019
West Lafayette, IN
American political history is thriving. Over the past two decades, an interdisciplinary examination of American political history has produced scholarship that explores the expansive spheres in which Americans engage in politics and relate to one another and the state. Now is the time to build on momentum in the field with a transformative conference that brings together cutting-edge scholarship with new forms of engagement. This conference will bring political historians into conversation with one another and the broader public and grapple with the idea of what it means to study American political history. It will create opportunities to build networks, share new research, debate ideas, think about the implications of this research in our contemporary setting, and discuss strategies for public engagement. This conference aims to rethink the parameters of American political history and remake the ways in which we disseminate historical scholarship within and outside the academy.
This conference, “Remaking American Political History,” encourages a diversity of approaches and perspectives while cultivating opportunities for robust dialogue that will continue to expand the field in new ways. It will launch conversations about connecting research to the broader public and provide platforms to do just that by inviting political journalists and outlets like C-SPAN, Backstory, Past Present Podcast, Public Seminar, Bunk, the Washington Post’s Made By History, and more. By including new media formats and individuals who serve as bridges between scholars and the broader public, this conference will address the question of how historians adjust to the abundance of digital opportunities for scholarship, publication, and engagement while confronting the reality of collapsing academic support.
We invite panel and paper submissions that reflect the diversity of the field of American political history, from the Early Republic to recent history, and that will generate debates and discussions over how to define political history. As such, we invite historians in a range of subfields and disciplines—legal history, urban history, policy history, diplomatic and transnational history, history of capitalism, history of science, medicine and technology, media studies, and political science—to think about how we write and discuss political history.
We also welcome historians from different arenas—including academia, public history, public policy, journalism, documentary film, television, and radio—to launch conversations about the contemporary meaning and uses of history. More than just sharing specific historical insights, this conference hopes to create an intellectual community of historians within and beyond academia to inspire conversations about the uses of history, the public responsibilities of historians to engage a broader audience and the skills needed to do this. As such, we welcome proposals for sessions that move beyond the traditional panel structure and encourage panels that integrate roundtable debates, collaborative sessions in which participants grapple with certain themes and map out new approaches to them (interdisciplinary approaches and the place of American political history in an international context), and workshops in which participants discuss and develop skills (writing for the public, political history for the digital age).
Proposal Deadlines: December 15, 2018
Conference Organizers: Kathryn Cramer Brownell (Purdue University), Nicole Hemmer (Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia), and Leah Wright-Rigueur (Harvard University Kennedy School of Government).
Submission Details: Submissions should be up to 500 words with proposals for individual papers or panel, roundtable, or workshop sessions. Each proposal should also include a biographical statement for each participant of up to 150 words that includes contact information.
Please submit proposals in one Word or PDF document to Kathryn Cramer Brownell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Support is provided by the Jack Miller Center through a grant from Howard and Marilyn Witt.