This conference situates European-American ethnicities in relation to recent scholarship on whiteness, transnationalism, and diaspora. It positions collectives such as Greek America, Irish America, Italian America, Polish America and others as historically distinct yet interrelated cultural fields, whose complexity has not been sufficiently recognized by scholarship. Globalization and multiculturalism have contributed to significant new developments in the cultural expression of these ethnicities, including revitalization of heritage, institution-building, transnational exchanges, hybridities, and progressive cultural politics that remain severely under-researched. Multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and trans-national scholarship, cultural work, and political activism have changed older concepts of white ethnicity.
The conference enters into a dialogue with dominant representations of white ethnicity as expressions of primarily individual albeit surface identities, politically conservative anti-minority politics, and full assimilation into the ideology of whiteness. Though particularly valuable in the understanding of power relations and racial hierarchies, these latter trends have neglected emerging and alternative cultural and political expressions of white ethnicity. As a result, European-American ethnicities have largely been devalued as a subject in a number of academic disciplines.
The conference seeks to reclaim white ethnicity as a complex and historically-situated site inviting reflections on those heterogeneous and hybridic identities that often challenge hegemonic narratives and histories.
The conference theme is concerned with a broad range of groups, not Italian Americans in particular as has been the case with the Calandra Institute’s past conferences.
This conference is co-sponsored by the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Queens College, CUNY.
SUGGESTED PAPER TOPICS INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
•Review of classic texts, e.g., Herbert Gans’s “Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups and Cultures in America” (1979), Richard Alba’s Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America (1990)
•A historizatation of the “white ethnic revival” movement and the ideology of heritage
•European ethnicities in mixed race identities
•Gender and sexual identities in relationship to white ethnicity
•Transnationalism, “diasporas,” and interactions with the ancestral homeland
•Comparative approaches of different groups and between different countries
•Mediascapes, e.g. film, television, the Internet
•The power of language and narratives to maintain or challenge constructions of history and identity
•The impact of post-World War II immigration from Europe and elsewhere on white ethnicity, e.g., the politics of empathy or the politics of exclusion?
•The changing nature of religious belief and practice in re-conceptualizing white ethnicity
•Commodification and consumption of white ethnicity, e.g., the problematics of food, sports, music
•Uses of folklore and its revival
•The academic politics of race/ethnic studies; re-imagining the study of white ethnicity in ways that do not reinforce white racial privilege
•In addition to scholarly papers and panels, this conference is open to presenting creative work such as memoir, fiction, and poetry.
The official language of the conference will be English. All presentations are to last no longer than twenty minutes, including audio and visual illustrations that accompany presentations. There are no available funds for travel, accommodations, or meals.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: SEPTEMBER 16, 2011.
Abstracts for scholarly papers (up to 500 words, plus a note on technical requirements) and a brief, narrative biography should be emailed as attached documents, by September 16, 2011, to email@example.com, to whom other inquiries may also be addressed.
We encourage the submission of organized panels (of no more than three presenters). Submission for a panel must be made by a single individual on behalf of the group, with all the paper titles, abstract narratives, and individual biographies.
John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
Queens College, CUNY
25 West 43rd Street, 17th floor
New York, New York 10036
Fax: (212) 642-2030 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://qc.edu/calandra
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