We will begin the Political Worlds session by highlighting political issues that were key at the time the department was created 75 years ago. Using that historical moment as a jumping off point, panelists will address contemporary questions of citizenship, rights, and resistance. Finally, we will think through the ways in which American Studies has influenced the various political worlds represented on the panel.
Moderated by Elissa Underwood.
From the printed word to the documentary and the digital landscape of the video game, American Studies scholars have historically utilized differing forms of media as both methods of investigation as well as subjects of critical analysis. Indeed, American Studies has arguably increasingly turned toward the area of the digital humanities not only as methodology, but as both object and archive. Mediated Worlds is a panel discussion on the interplay between American Studies and the production or investigation of differing forms of digital media.
Moderated by Eddie Whitewolf.
This panel explores the state of university teaching from a wide-ranging American Studies perspective. The panelists’ conversations will encompass both the local dynamics of student-teacher interactions and broader institutional pressures, touching on topics such as student debt and student expectations, the professionalization of university degrees, technology’s impact on teaching practices, the shifting dimensions of graduate education, and getting students to engage with uncomfortable topics and challenging material in the classroom. With teaching experiences in a truly diverse range of disciplines and contexts, the panelists will discuss how their American Studies backgrounds have shaped their approaches to these challenges, but they will also offer perspectives on how American Studies can better address the most pressing issues that liberal arts teachers face across disciplines and departments.
Moderated by Andrew Gansky.
American Studies fosters critical and multidisciplinary approaches that can be adopted across many fields and spaces. The folks included in this panel and the next are actively engaged in the programming and interpretation of American cultural history through academic institutions, museums, and heritage initiatives. Through the depth and breadth of their experience, we can better grasp the many vital ways that historical thinking and critical seeing are vital in cultivating public understanding of the complexities of US cultural history and everyday life.
Moderated by Natalie Zelt.
American Studies prepares public scholars for work in many fields, including historical preservation, art and history museums, publishing, and education. In this panel, we will continue the discussion from the previous session, focusing on the many public roles our panelists fill as they take their work outside of the academy. We will consider the ways that academic training in American Studies influences exhibitions, public programs, and publishing projects on a range of topics, from Texas wildlife to poetry, portraiture to physical culture, museum programming to exhibition design.
Moderated by Emily Roehl.
American Studies is shaped by the landscape of higher education, both as a field at large and through the specific colleges and universities that make up our institutional homes. Participants on this panel work in ways that bring them into direct conversation with this landscape. Panelists intersect with the world of higher education in a variety of ways, but their diverse experiences offer an opportunity to discuss several key questions: How does American Studies fit within the world of the university? How does that world influence our field and work? And how are we positioned, as American Studies scholars, to engage with and reimagine higher education?
Moderated by Caroline Pinkston.