The Third James L. and Shirley A. Draper Graduate Student Conference on Early American Studies at the University of Connecticut and the American Antiquarian Society, September 18-20, 2008.
Early Americans spoke of monstrous births and depicted dancing skeletons on gravestones. They complained about loosened corsets and uncomfortable wigs and passed sumptuary laws to control what people wore. Bodies crossed oceans in cramped spaces, destined for sale as commodities on distant auction blocks. Constructions of bodily difference from early America shape perceptions of race and gender even today. Controlling the bodies of others could be a source of power as well as wealth. Some early Americans conceived of their bodies as earthly proxies in touch with spiritual beings. Still others employed them as sites of performance, inscribing identities in the flesh. In sum, early America took shape as a place of intermingling bodies and bodily conceptions in ways that historians have only just begun to explore.
What social and cultural meanings lie in the diverse relations early Americans had with bodies, both physical and metaphorical? Corpus americanus seeks to decipher the images, events, objects, and abstractions of the body that entered into the encounters among different groups in the Americas and into the making of new peoples and states. Investigating "the body" in early America promises to open new prospects on all aspects of early American life, including law, science, gender, politics, religion, and race.
To chart this unfolding terrain of scholarship, the University of Connecticut History Department and the American Antiquarian Society invite graduate students to submit paper proposals for the Third James L. and Shirley A. Draper Graduate Student Conference on Early American Studies, to be held in Storrs, Connecticut and Worcester, Massachusetts from Thursday to Saturday, September 18- 20, 2008. We encourage broad-ranging, interdisciplinary presentations investigating bodies as sites and representations of changing and emerging cultural and social meanings in the Americas and the Atlantic world from the beginnings of Native American, European, and African encounters down to the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:
Life Cycle: Birth, Aging, and Death
Social Regulation, Crime & Punishment, Slavery & Captivity
Representations: Art, Adornment, and the Body as Metaphor
Gender and Sexuality
Religion and Spirituality
Perceptions of Race, Beauty, and Behavior
The Physical Body and its Environment
Science and Health
The Body Politic: Social and Political Implications of Metaphor
All submissions must be received by May 15th, 2008. Notification and acceptance will be made by June 1st, 2008. Interested graduate students should submit a 200-300 word abstract and brief C.V. Please submit materials electronically in Microsoft Word (.doc) format and include, “Draper Conference” in the subject line.
Please send proposals or comments to:
Draper Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage you to download electronic flyers from the following locations:
Version 1: http://history.uconn.edu/draper/CFP_version_1.pdf (425kb)
Version 2: http://history.uconn.edu/draper/CFP_version_2.pdf (4.4 Megs)
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