[Msa-discuss] CFP: Roundtable on American Regionalism and Modern Technology, ALA 2012

Jackson, Bob bob-jackson at utulsa.edu
Wed Oct 12 18:38:29 EDT 2011

Call for Papers: Roundtable on American Regionalism and Modern Technology 
American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco, California, May 24-27, 2012

By the latter half of the nineteenth century, the effects of new technologies registered in significant ways in American art and culture, reflecting the emergence of industries, cities, infrastructure, and new ways of life. The proliferation of emerging technologies also affected culture in parts of the United States beyond modernized metropolises. American regional cultures—broadly understood to include art and literature, visual and material culture, and an array of vernacular and folk traditions—alternately incorporated and resisted the influences of technological change while maintaining numerous distinctive regional identities and forms.

This session will bring together papers that explore the complex relations between technology and region in the United States across a long modern period, from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth century.  We will include papers that examine particular locations, theorize regionalism in innovative and interdisciplinary ways, and examine regional encounters with specific technological developments.  The session as a whole will seek to understand how regional experiences of technology have complicated, enriched, and troubled both the traditions of American culture and the ongoing efforts to come to terms with the legacies of these encounters in contemporary criticism.

Papers could explore some of the following areas:

•       American literary regionalism’s relations with technological change 
•       Regionalism and critical or social theory
•       Political institutions, technology, and regional culture
•       Ethnic, immigrant, racial, or nationalist minority identity in regional context
•       Race or identity as technology
•       Modes of transportation and infrastructural development
•       Agricultural mechanization or food distribution networks
•       Film, photography, early television, and other visual media in regional context
•       Radio, newspapers, and regional aspects of mass communication
•       Sheet music, music halls, rural entertainment circuits
•       Jazz, blues, country music, early rock and roll, and regional musical genres
•       Mail order products, rural free delivery, and other networks of distribution
•       The fashion industry in regional permutations
•       Domestic and public architecture, regional planning, and human geography
•       Regional urbanism or cultures of the regional city
•       Nature, ecology, conservation, resource utilization, and technology
•       The military-regional complex

The organizers of this proposed session are Sarah Gleeson-White (University of Sydney), Robert Jackson (University of Tulsa), and David A. Davis (Mercer University). The roundtable will feature six or seven short statements—about eight minutes reading time—that should provoke conversation about this topic. Proposals of about 250 words should be sent to regionalismtechnology at gmail.com by January 1, 2012.  

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