Annual Convention 2013: “Rural America”

30 May – 2 June 2013, Erlangen

“The United States was born in the country,“ Richard Hofstadter wrote, “and remained emotionally attached to it long after it had moved away,“ David B. Danbom added in his History of Rural America. Thus, it may be argued that the study of American culture and civilization, first and foremost, needs to make sense of the rural. The multidisciplinary GAAS-Convention in Erlangen focuses on rural America, on areas seemingly apart from the political, economic, and cultural centers of the nation. Despite this apparent marginality, the rural may prove to be constitutive not only of regional but also of other subnational and even national American identities. Putting rurality at the center also requires a revision of well-established dichotomous models of city vs. country. The conference will address the rural as a mythic construction (e.g. the American “Heartland“), as a (socio-)economic sector, as an imaginary time-space within American culture, and as the site of specific political, social, and cultural practices. Next to established fields in rural studies (such as history and sociology), recent expertise on rural America has also been provided by environmental science, race/gender criticism as well as poverty studies. Workshops should closely examine rural politics, economics, religion, literature, popular culture, and the arts. Ideally, many of the disciplines and critical paradigms of the field will be represented in the workshop line-up.

Keynote speakers:
· Barbara Ching (Iowa State U)
· David B. Danbom (North Dakota U)
· Brigitte Georgi-Findlay (TU Dresden)
· Mary Gray (U of Indiana)
· Jerry Hagstrom (National Journal)
· Rogelio Saenz (U of Texas)

In addition to the scholarly program, there will be a reading by Stewart O’Nan.

Registration is open now and the conference program can be found here.