Call for Papers: “The War of My Generation:” Adolescent Culture and the “War on Terror” (ASA 2009 – San Antonio, TX, November 18-21, 2010)
In August, 2006, a sixteen-year-old visitor to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania left a note that read “I’ve been told by my mom that this is the war of my generation.” This comment reminds us that for the first time in four decades, a group of Americans has come of age while the nation has been engaged in ongoing warfare and that a generation of individuals whose political consciousness has developed during these years is now both making and subject to the consequences of political decisions related to these wars. A first-time voter in the 2008 presidential election might have been eleven years old on September 11, 2001; a soldier graduating from basic training and part of the Obama administration’s recently announced troop surge in Afghanistan could have been as young as nine. And yet, as the “War on Terror” approaches its ninth year, one topic that has received insufficient attention amid the intense scholarly consideration that has been given the nearly decade-long war is its impact on adolescents and children within the United States. However, efforts to understand the “War on Terror” in all of its complexity doubtless requires interrogating what young people have been “told” about it and how they have responded to it. This panel invites papers that examine how questions of terrorism, the United States cultural and military response to it, and the larger location of militarism within US culture have been imagined in cultural texts and produces specifically aimed at or consumed by adolescents and young adults. Among the questions that we seek to investigate are: How has the “War on Terror” been represented in literature, media, music, video games, and other forms of popular culture particularly aimed at young-adult audiences, and what is at stake culturally and politically in such representations? Alternately, how have children and adolescents received and responded to cultural products and media coverage of the wars that are ostensibly aimed at adult audiences, and how are such responses significant? Have youth and adolescents created their own cultural products or practices in response to the wars? What kinds of communities and organizations have emerged to teach youth about or assist them in understanding the wars, and how have they done so? How have representations of the war aimed at younger audiences produced or shaped discourses of gender and race? How has the US military specifically sought to present itself to younger audiences, particularly with regard to issues of recruitment in the all-volunteer military? How has the military sought to address issues associated with the stress that repeated deployment places on military families and their children? How have the 9/11 attacks, the politics of terrorism, and the “War on Terror” been integrated into K-12 curricula?
Please send abstracts of 250 words as well as a brief CV to David Kieran, American Culture Studies Program, Washington University in St. Louis (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 10, 2009. As well, please feel free to send along questions or inquiries in advance of the deadline.
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