CFPs: American Studies Association panels

The Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association wishes to
encourage participation in the 2011 Annual meeting: "Imagination,
Reparation, Transformation," October 20-23, 2011, Baltimore, Maryland. To
read the conference Call for Papers please see:

In an effort to get more strong material culture-related papers and panels
on the program we hope to help link potential panelists with shared
interests in material culture topics. If you, your colleagues, or doctoral
students may be looking to connect with others with similar interests please
email us your panel CFP or your paper idea and we will work to connect
similar panelists and papers. We are also happy to offer suggestions on
complete panels.

We will make every effort to help connect interested potential panelists and
panel conveners who contact us before Thursday, January 20. NB: All
interested parties who email us will still be responsible for following all
posted instructions ( submitting
their own panels or papers to the ASA by the ASA deadline (January 26,

After submitted panels are reviewed and selected by the ASA, the Material
Culture Caucus will select one of those panels as the official
Caucus-sponsored panel, and will publicize related papers and panels.

If you are interested, please submit your ideas or abstracts to Sarah Carter
(scarter at fas dot harvard dot edu) and to Bess Williamson (bessw at udel
dot edu) as soon as possible, and definitely before Thursday January 20th.

The decay of the built environment has become a subject more of aesthetic
fascination than of fear for many twenty-first-century Americans. Real
communities such as Detroit, pictured in *Time*’s 2010 photographs and
Julian Temple’s documentary “Requiem for Detroit?” (2010), and Gary,
Indiana, seen in David Tribby’s *Gary Indiana: A City’s Ruins* (2009), have
become fodder for photographers, bloggers, and artists. Meanwhile, fictional
decayed landscapes are used as a spectacular backdrop to countless recent
apocalyptic movies, from “I Am Legend” (2007) to “The Road” (2009), even
undergoing transformation into animated form in the children’s film “Wall-E”
(2008). But people who live, or once lived, in the real landscapes of decay
often resent the intrusion of visitors following a podcast tour through
Baltimore neighborhoods used as locations for “The Wire,” or the presence of
the urban explorer, wishing that such touristic interest might be followed
by political action aimed at transformation of the material environment
where their communities are based. How can scholars interested in visual and
material culture address the aesthetics and ethics of this fascination with
deterioration? Possible topics to be addressed in this panel include the
ethics of the representation and simulation of decayed environments; the
role of the urban explorer as proto-archaeologist; historical perspectives
on the visual and material cultural presence of the decayed landscape;
decayed landscapes and their function in filmic narrative; and decay and its
relationship to discourses of consumer culture.

This panel will lead to a themed issue of *Paperweight: A Newspaper of
Visual and Material Culture*, published by J.C. Kristensen, an editor at
Journal of Visual **Culture*. *Paperweigh*t has two ASA members on its
staff, Rebecca Onion and Katherine Feo Kelly. Please see for more information.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words to rebeccaonion at gmail
dot com by January 20, 2010.


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