CFP, Americas Online: A Digital State of the Field for Early American Studies

McNeil Center for Early American Studies logo
Friday, January 15, 2021 - 12:00am

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12-13 November 2021


In recent years, scholars of early America have engaged with digital methodologies to create projects that have facilitated new forms of inquiry, practice, and pedagogy. To assess the current state of digital early American studies, The Americas Online aims to bring together scholars, professionals, and students representing a variety of disciplines to determine how recent efforts by digital humanists have reframed—or may yet reframe—our understanding of the early Americas (conceived to include North America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic world up to 1850). As demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we think about the ways digital tools and methods can enhance teaching, learning, and research. And, in light of the structural inequities that can shape historical narratives, we must explore digital tools and methods to accomplish anti-racist and decolonial agendas.

We are seeking presentations on innovative digital approaches to early American studies. This might include work with new technologies and tools, such as virtual and augmented reality and critical making, profiles of works-in-progress or completed projects that expand traditional inquiry and pedagogy, and reflections upon past/new digital directions for work. We are especially interested in digital work that intersects with public history or seeks an audience beyond the academy. Applicants with any level of expertise, and scholars and professionals in any discipline, or at any stage of their career are encouraged to apply. A future CFP will solicit undergraduate poster presentations.

The one-and-a-half-day event will begin with a keynote seminar on Friday afternoon, followed by an undergraduate poster session. Saturday will begin with sessions of pre-circulated papers. In the afternoon, conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops that will explore critical methods and tools by which researchers, students, and scholar-teachers might engage with digital scholarship in creative and collaborative ways. 

To propose a paper, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and a brief C.V. (no more than 3 pages) to Proposals should indicate any technological needs. Pre-circulated materials will need to be submitted eight weeks in advance of the conference. Any questions about the conference or the submission process should be directed to the email above. 

This conference is sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University, and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College.

Important Dates:

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2021.
Applicants will be contacted by March 15, 2021.
Formal, pre-circulated papers will be due by September 15, 2021.

Conference Committee:

Jessica Linker, Co-Chair (Northeastern University)
Maxime Dagenais, Co-Chair (The Wilson Institute for Canadian History)
Lori Daggar (Ursinus College)
Mitch Fraas (University of Pennsylvania)
Amy Sopcak-Joseph (Wilkes University)
Nora Slonimsky (Iona College and Institute for Thomas Paine Studies)

Note: The conference organizers understand that many are feeling uncertain about making plans at this time. Please know that this event will take place as scheduled, whether in-person or online or perhaps as a mix of formats. We also understand that even if an in-person event can take place, individuals might still need to participate remotely, and we are preparing to accommodate those needs.



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