The American Studies Association of Korea (ASAK) is pleased to announce an international conference on “The American Dream Reconsidered,” to be held in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, during September 26-27, 2014.
Five decades ago, at the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. declared that his hope—the hope to build a nation of freedom and racial equality—was “deeply rooted in the American [D]ream.” The phrase “American Dream” has served as a “great beacon light of hope” amidst “flames of withering injustice” and inspired countless immigrants with a vision of prosperity through diligence. This ideal has been the driving force in building and developing the social cohesion and national identity of the United States. The term has been incessantly appropriated by political leaders to define the national community of America in various ways. To cite a few examples, Thomas Jefferson envisioned the newly independent republic as a nation of equality and liberty, stating, “All men are created equal” in the “Declaration of Independence.” Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography has served as a guidebook for the nation hoping to achieve the American Dream of the self-made man. Recently, President Obama published a book on “[r]eclaiming the American Dream,” expressing his will to substantiate this national ideal.
Whereas political visionaries have seen the American Dream as an ideal of social integration based on equal opportunities, its emphasis on individual success has often led to possessive individualism and imperialism, undermining its ideal of social equality. Slavery, the Trail of Tears, Manifest Destiny, racial segregation, the Asian Exclusion Act, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and the Occupy Wall Street movement typically betray contradictions inherent in the national vision of the American Dream. They divulge that the possessive or imperialistic form of the American Dream has surprisingly fostered inequalities to the point of endangering fellow citizens and splitting the national community, as evidenced by calamities such as race riots and the Civil War.
This conference therefore aims at simultaneously investigating the viability and vulnerability of the American Dream. Specifically, we will examine how effectively the vision of the “Land of Opportunity” has integrated immigrants into the community of the United State since the colonial days; and how it has belied its slogan of upward mobility and equality, perpetuating racial, economic, regional, and gender inequalities. The conference will look into how the term has been redefined in the process of shaping the culture of the United States from a historical point of view. In addition, we will situate this term within the global context by tracing how it has been appropriated across the world. By shedding light on the past and the present of the American Dream, this conference will attempt to predict the future contour of this problematic vision.
Paper topics should be related to, but not limited to, the following areas and themes:
-Race, ethnicity, class, and gender
-Conflict, war, revolution, compromise, and alliance
-Slavery, racism, and human trafficking
-Manifest Destiny, expansionism, and imperialism
-Social mobility and poverty
-Law and order
-Religion and ethics
-Civil/human rights movements
-Arts and architecture
-Social networks and collective associations
-Nature and the environment
-Film and television/new media
-The American Revolution
-The Occupy Movement
-The American Dream in global contexts
You are encouraged to submit proposals on other topics related to the overarching theme of the conference, the American Dream. Interdisciplinary perspectives and new research methodologies are especially welcome.
Proposals may be submitted as individual paper proposals or as session proposals. Individual proposals should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and a one-page abbreviated CV. Session proposals should include a one-page proposal with a title and topics for a session of three to four presentation papers along with individual abstracts and bios. Delivered in either Korean or English, each presentation will be limited to 20 minutes, followed by discussions and Q & A sessions. Graduate students are also welcome to submit proposals and to participate in the conference. All proposals should be sent to the Organizing Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15, 2014.
Applicants will be notified of the acceptance of their proposals by April 30, 2014. A registration fee of USD 200 for overseas participants will cover accommodations for three nights and meals for two days during the conference. Participants will be individually responsible for travel expenses including airfare and medical insurance, if applicable.
For further inquiry, please feel free to contact the Organizing Committee.
Deadline for submitting abstracts: April 15, 2014
Notification of acceptance of papers: April 30, 2014
Submission of papers for the conference proceedings: July 31, 2014
*Students & early bird (registration before June 30, 2014)
-Registration only: USD 75
-Registration and accommodations: USD 175
*Standard (registration after June 30, 2014)
-Registration only: USD 100
-Registration and accommodations: USD 200
-Hotel accommodations for three nights (September 25-27, 2014)
-2 lunches, reception and banquet (September 26-27, 2014)
-An evening reception on Friday (September 26, 2014).
-Two daily refreshment/coffee/snack breaks
-Conference program and abstracts booklet
International Relations Secretary
American Studies Association of Korea
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