‘Homeward Bound’: Nation, Belonging and the American Home

BAAS and IAAS Postgraduate Conference, 7-8th December 2013

University of Nottingham

 Keynote speakers:

Professor Bridget Bennett (University of Leeds)

Professor Randall Woods (University of Arkansas)

The home has long served as a powerful signifier of American culture and identity, from the colonial frontier log cabin constructed to resist the rigors of a New World, to the suburban house synonymous with affluence and spiralling consumerism. The home is a space in which the politics of domesticity and sexual difference is made concrete; where gender roles are continually contested; and where a sense of belonging and unbelonging helps to define the roots of a community whether local, national or transnational. The home is a signifier of nation, of class, race and ethnicity and it is a location that inspires musicians, poets, artist and writers.  Notions of a besieged homeland texture the language of international relations, whilst a banking crisis and the foreclosures that followed rearticulated the centrality of the home within American policy. This conference interrogates a symbol that lies at the foundation of America itself.

 ‘Homeward Bound’ is a two-day interdisciplinary conference for postgraduate students with an interest in North America and whose research engages with history, literature, critical theory, visual culture, architecture, media studies and political theory. The conference invites proposals for 20-minute presentations on any aspect of our broad theme. The topics include, but are not limited to:

 –           Urban, suburban, exurban and rural homes/spaces

–           Domesticity, gender, private/public spheres

–           The home as a historical construct

–           The non-familial family and concepts of legitimacy

–           Regions, regionalism and transnationalism

–           Morality, family values, religion

–           Constructions of immigrant, diasporic, transnational identity

–           Architecture, spatiality, sociality and protested spaces

–           Public policy and the politics of urban development

–           Mother tongues and dialects

–           International relations and homeland security

 Please e-mail abstracts of no more than 300 words to homewardbound2013@hotmail.com.Abstracts should include your name, institution, email address, and the title of your proposed paper. The deadline for submissions is: 1st October 2013.

 In association with BAAS and IAAS the committee aims to keep costs low for postgraduate attendees by charging a minimal fee of £10 for one-day attendance and £15 for two-day attendance.  This year the conference will also feature two training sessions tailored towards the professional development of postgraduates researching North America. These training sessions will be run by academics and specialists within publishing and funding organisations.

 For more information on the conference follow our twitter (@homewardbound2013) or consult our official web address: amcannotts.wordpress.com.