“Worlds Turned Upside Down: Crisis, Calamity, and Cataclysm.”
April 2nd-4th, 2009 – West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
West Virginia University’s History Department seeks panelists and presenters for their upcoming biennial research forum, the Rush D. Holt History Conference. Organizers would like to invite scholars and writers from diverse backgrounds to submit drafts for sessions or papers under the 2009 Conference theme: “Worlds Turned Upside Down: Crisis, Calamity, and Cataclysm.”
Our title purposefully acknowledges a multiplicity of perspectives, or “worlds,” in which upheavals might occur. Our original concept embraced natural and man-made disasters, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Local historians have recently marked the centennial of 1907’s Monongah Mine Disaster, while the anniversary of the R.M.S. Titanic sinking of 1912 rapidly approaches. But we intend to go one step backward in defining “disaster” and view it in its broadest dimensions.
Under this guideline, organizers encourage panelists to interpret this theme broadly in terms of geography or chronology. Natural or man-made disasters form only one aspect of our theme. Historians often examine human reactions to personal emergencies as well as global crises. Individual worlds can also be seriously affected by religious conflict, economic turmoil, destructive relationships, warfare, or political turning-points.
Timothy Silver of Appalachian State University, keynote speaker for the 2009 Morton Callahan Lecture, brings a regional spirit to this conference. West Virginia and Kentucky have endured the crisis of mountaintop removal. Tim Silver’s recent publication, Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains, reminds us that the price of progress dates further back than mere decades. Mount Mitchell, Appalachia’s highest peak, has brought visitors from across the globe since its discovery in the 16th century. Silver’s broad perspective on natural and artificial threats to the environment will ground our conference with a strong sense of history.
We hope to encourage a sizeable range of regional and periodical interests as the conference will reach across borders and time periods – fostering a transnational and comparative approach to crisis, calamity, and cataclysm. We hope you will join us to examine the reversals of fortune that create “Worlds Turned Upside Down.”
Please mail individual paper proposals (250 words) and brief vita and panel proposals including a brief description of the individual papers (500 words) and brief vitas to:
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