British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference 2015

Jointly organised by researchers from the University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde

Saturday 5th December 2015

Collaboration, n.
1. United labour, co-operation; esp. in literary, artistic, or scientific work.
2. Spec. Traitorous cooperation with the enemy.
(OED Online)

From politics to culture, artistic creation to commercial production, civil disobedience to peaceful protest, collaboration is demonstrably of vital importance. Culture, society, history and in the Americas have been, and continue to be, shaped by collaborative endeavours. Collaboration is no less significant within academia. Interdisciplinary, interinstitutional research and authorship has increased dramatically in frequency and, for some academics, is a necessary prerequisite. Yet collaboration is an aspect of academia often neglected in the postgraduate experience.

Over ten years ago Linda Hutcheon, the then President of the Modern Language Association, made a case for the importance of academic collaboration at their annual convention. In her address she promoted collaboration between scholars as opposed to “the romantic model of solo scholars” stating, “The kind of research that needs to be done in the humanities can’t be done by some solitary person sitting in the library trying to write the last great work on ‘x’” (MLA Convention, 2000). While some, like Hutcheon, view collaboration—both within academia and in wider cultural contexts—as being highly beneficial, for others it represents “traitorous cooperation with the enemy.” Postgraduate research remains, for the most part, aligned with “the romantic model” of solitary work. With this in mind, this one day conference will engage with both the academic practice of collaboration and collaboration as a theme in American Studies.

We are particularly interested in proposals for jointly produced and presented papers on any area of American studies but also welcome the submission of proposals which engage with our overall theme, on topics including but not limited to:

•Artistic collaboration: group theatre, music, group art projects, environmental art.
•Collaborative texts and cultural products: films, magazines, newspapers, and graphic novels.
•Historical examples of collaboration: successes and failures.
•Political collaboration: the US constitution, coalition government, governmental policy.
•Cooperative protest: pressure groups, civil rights movement, LGBT rights movement.
•Cross-border co-operation or conflict: US-Canada and US-Mexico relations.
•International collaboration: US foreign policy in the Americas and beyond, the shifting role of the United States in the world.
•Economic co-creation: crowdfunding and contemporary consumer culture.
•Academic collaboration: impact, interdisciplinarity, co-authoring, research clusters.
•Academic/Public collaboration: oral histories, museums and curation, popular non-fiction, public engagement.

Abstracts (300 words) can be submitted to The deadline for submissions is Friday 25th September 2015. For more information please: follow us on Twitter, @BAASHOTCUS2015; like us on Facebook,; visit

This conference will be preceded by a postgraduate workshop, sponsored by Historians of Twentieth Century United States, and attendees are invited, and welcome, to participate in both days of the event. BAAS, HOTCUS and the organising committee are committed to keeping the cost for attendance as low as possible for postgraduates; £15 for both days, £10 for one.