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American Islands: Outposts of Security, Prosperity and Culture

American Islands:
Outposts of Security, Prosperity, and Culture
Roosevelt Institute for American Studies
Middelburg, The Netherlands
22 May 2019
CALL FOR PAPERS

Throughout the twentieth century, the United States has built what historian Daniel Immerwahr
has defined as a “pointillist empire” consisting of an intricate web of incorporated territories,
islands, and overseas bases. Expandable from a territorial point of view, these possessions have
nevertheless served as fundamental springboards for the worldwide projection of American
military, economic and cultural hegemony. As Brooke Blower has put it, “the United States has
always been at heart a nation of outposts.”

This conference aims to further investigate how the many “little Americas” spread all over the
world – broadly conceived as military or economic enclaves, missionary communities, research
and cultural centers, etc. – have actively disseminated typical elements of the American lifestyle,
acted as unofficial ambassadors, supported the expansion of American businesses, exported the
linchpins of American culture, and simultaneously challenged the traditional class, gender, racial,
and power relationships of their surroundings.

The conveners would like to discuss papers that, by adopting a bottom-up approach, may assess
the overall socio-economic, cultural, environmental or political impact of such American
outposts. The permeable insularity of these American communities overseas has indeed
alternatively favored the promotion of, smoothened the adaptation to, or spurred the resistance
against American visions of peace, stability and progress. For this reason, the conference invites
scholars to reflect on the polysemous nature of American security and prosperity as a core
component of the ethos of the American Century, as a crucial element of modern globalization,
and as a catalyst for contacts and exchanges between different cultural heritages.

Please submit proposals (maximum 500 words) to rias@zeeland.nl by 15 January 2019. The
conveners aim to publish the selected papers, but the format of the conference output will be
decided collectively. The RIAS will provide the invited scholars with board and lodging.

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