Wednesday, 11 May 2016

HOTCUS Annual Postgraduate Conference: ‘Winning minds and hearts: constructing national identity in US history'

Historians of the Twentieth Century US, Friday 9th September 2016, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Keynote speaker: Dr Simon Hall (Senior Lecturer in American History, Leeds University)

On 1 February 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asserted that ‘Americanism is a matter of the mind and the heart.’ Just a year after he approved the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, FDR’s statement about the inclusivity of American identity highlights one of the key questions scholars face when writing the history of the United States: what do we actually mean when we talk about US national identity?

The distinction between what is and isn’t American has dominated the history of the twentieth century United States, from the Hollywood Blacklists of the 1950s and protests in the streets of Selma, Alabama in 1965, to clashes between construction workers and anti- Vietnam War protesters in New York City and debates over U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. In these instances and many others, the process of defining national identity remains central to our understanding of U.S. history.

This conference will explore the constructions and limitations of American national identity in the twentieth century. Panels and twenty-minute paper proposals are invited from postgraduate students and early career researchers on the constructions and manifestations of Americanism in the last century.
Topics for papers or panels might include:

Political and policy history
Citizenship, identity and immigration
Domesticity, home and national identity
The cultural and intellectual history of Americanism
‘Un- Americanism’ in the 20th Century
Protest history
Gender and Sexuality
Memorialization, commemoration and national identity
Border Cultures in the U.S.
Labour history, workers’ rights in U.S.
Presidential history
National identity in film, media, and journalism
Local and regional history
Foreign, military and diplomatic history

The conference will primarily be formed of traditional academic panels, with a keynote lecture from Dr Simon Hall. An interactive workshop on postgraduate and early career issues and concerns will also feature, with discussions of grant applications, teaching, and publishing.

Abstracts for papers or panels (300 words per paper) and a brief bio (100 words) should be submitted to by Friday July 15th 2016. For more information/queries please contact the HOTCUS postgraduate secretary, Megan Hunt (
Supported by the British Association for American Studies.

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