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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ASA Members: Call for Proposals for "Pacific Worlds: Empire, Environment and Embodiment"

ASA and the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS), with support from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, are pleased to announce a competition open to ASA members. Two ASA delegates will be selected for participation in the annual JAAS conference "Pacific Worlds: Empire, Environment and Embodiment" to be held in June 2012. They invite proposals for papers to be presented at the JAAS conference and possible themes for the two-day pro-seminars. Application deadline: October 1, 2011.


Call for Proposals: Pacific Worlds: Empire, Environment and Embodiment
(Due October 1, 2011)

The American Studies Association (ASA) and the Japanese Association
for American Studies (JAAS), with support from the Japan-United States
Friendship Commission (JUFSC), are pleased to announce a competition
open to ASA members (U.S. citizens). We plan to select two ASA
delegates for participation in the annual JAAS conference to be held
in June 2012. We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the
JAAS conference and possible themes for the two-day pro-seminars. The
award covers round trip airfare to Japan, housing, and modest daily
The members of the ASA-JAAS Project Advisory Committee and the
International Committee of JAAS will choose the delegates by
collaborative assessment and selection. Two-day pro-seminars will be
held, most likely after the JAAS conference, which will enable JAAS
scholars to participate. Themes of the pro-seminars will follow from,
but not necessarily repeat the conference theme. The ASA delegates
will collaborate with the International Committee of JAAS in
finalizing the themes of the pro-seminars and will be responsible for
constructing the syllabi and assigning the readings. The pro-seminars
will be open to the entire range of JAAS members, from graduate
students (including those who may not yet be JAAS members) to senior
scholars. Under the proposed project, the ASA delegates will spend
two days at the JAAS conference, two days in their pro-seminars, plus
travel time, for a total of about a week.
Project Theme:
This is the first year of our new proposal for scholarly exchanges
between the American Studies Association (ASA) and the Japan
Association for American Studies (JAAS) covering the three-year
project period, 2012-2014.
The scholarly theme is Pacific Worlds: Empire, Environment,
Embodiment. Scholarship focused upon international and transnational
relationships faces the challenge of boundary drawing. When the
nation-state is no longer taken for granted as a unit of social and
cultural analysis, and the globe is identified as a horizon of
concern, the transnational risks becoming amorphous. Scholars of
region, and particularly of the Atlantic world, have long illuminated
ways of thinking transnational relations in relation to a delimited
set of flows and exchanges over time that shaped a common if unevenly
(and unequally) constituted social and historical experience among
statesmen, sailors, slaves and commoners. More recently, scholars have
started to map the Pacific world in similar ways, identifying specific
paths of commerce, military conflict, colonization and migration that
have defined the Pacific as a distinct place and region for
policy-makers, and empire-builders, soldiers, artists and writers,
peasants, workers and migrants.
We seek to consider some of the ways in which the Pacific Ocean has
been constituted as a transnational region across several centuries.
Most broadly, we are interested in exploring how forms of human
belonging and experience might be understood in regional terms that
exceed typically national, even comparative frames of reference. For
example, how have competing and at times complementary forms of
imperial ambition and material investment on the part of the US,
Japan, and other nations fashioned the Pacific as a region of common
interest, investment, desire, and (for some) dispossession? As
pressures of market activity, human energy and resource needs roil
this vast, shared oceanic environment, what forms of cooperative
knowledge and practice can sustain Pacific worlds (as well as other
fragile ecologies) into the future? Against doom saying prophecies of
a ?clash of civilizations,? how can regions shaped by overlapping
colonialisms and diasporas imagine new forms of regional membership,
linked fate, or even kinship?
Comparative Empire and the Making of the Pacific World (2012)
The first year of the project will encourage proposals that consider
the ramified ways in which the question of ?empire? is at the center
of inquiry into regional transnationalism in general and the formation
of the Pacific world in particular. The fact that our modernity has
been shaped by imperialism and colonialism is settled, but it
continues to generate exciting new scholarship across the disciplines.
Recent scholars of the cultures and politics of US imperialism within
American Studies have re-emphasized the centrality (and continuity) of
westward expansion and visions of Pacific dominion to the rise of US
globalism in the twentieth-century. Pacific worlds were key sites for
the development of transnational imperial networks, including policing
and security regimes, forms of agricultural, medical and scientific
knowledge, practice and experimentation. Commercial and military
exchange under imperial and colonial auspices did not preclude, and
often augmented rich forms of intellectual and political exchange,
cultural circulation and production. Often under austere conditions,
migrant workers were key carriers and translators of different worlds,
even as they met with exclusion in their new homes.
Application Procedures:
Each application should include a summary in 300 words of the proposed
paper to be presented at the JAAS annual meeting. Participants should
explain how the proposed paper contributes to a discussion of the
project theme in general, and more specifically to the 2012 conference
theme: Comparative Empire and the Making of the Pacific World.
Applicants should include a personal statement, no longer than two
pages, describing their interest in this project and the issues that
their own scholarship and teaching have addressed. Also, provide some
possible themes for leading the pro-seminars. Personal statements may
include comments on previous collaboration or work with non-U.S.
academics or students. Prior experience of work or travel in Japan is
not a requirement for selection, but if applicable, applicants may
comment on their particular interest in, or connections to, Japan. In
addition, applications should include a two-page curriculum vitae,
emphasizing teaching experience and major publications and the names
and addresses of three references. All applicants must be available to
travel for a weeklong period to Japan in June 2012; exact dates
required for travel will be forthcoming. Applicants must be current
members of the ASA and U.S. citizens, and must attend the ASA annual
meeting during the year in which they apply for the grant. Preference
will be given to scholars with teaching and research experience.
Application materials (including the 300 word paper summary, 2-page
personal statement, and 2-page vitae) should be combined into a single
document not to exceed six pages in length addressed to the ASA-JAAS
Project Advisory Committee. Submit the application document via
electronic mail message as a single Word, Word Perfect, or PDF
attachment before midnight (US DST) October 1, 2011, to
asa-jaas@theasa.net. See for additional info: