CFP: Pacific Triangles: Australia, China and the Reorientation of American Studies

Pacific Triangles: Australia, China, and the Reorientation of American Studies

10 August 2012 – 11 August 2012

Time: 8:00am

Location: University of Sydney, Australia

Plenary speakers:

  • Kuan-Hsing Chen, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
  • Jacqueline Lo, Australian National University
  • Donald E. Pease, Dartmouth College, USA

In the period after World War II, the development of American Studies in Britain and other parts of Western Europe was crucially shaped by the efforts of US cultural diplomacy to expand the country’s influence in the face of perceived Soviet threats during the Cold War. In the twenty-first century, as more US political and diplomatic energies are focused on the rise of the People’s Republic of China, it is likely that Australia will be positioned in a similar triangular situation, with the United States keen to preserve and increase ties to its traditional “Western” ally and Australia itself caught between different political, economic and geographical pressures.

This symposium will examine ways in which the twenty-first century has already reoriented the field of American Studies in relation to the PRC and Australia, and how this process is likely to continue and develop. It brings together scholars from around the world working within and across American Studies, Asian Studies and Asian diasporic studies, to look not only at shifting relationships between the Chinese mainland and the West, but also how these shifts resonate in the Asia Pacific region (ie. Australasia, Southeast Asia and East Asia). In the process, the symposium takes the transnational turn in American Studies outside the national boundaries and ideological frameworks of the US. At the same time, it attempts to promote intercultural dialogue around the ongoing processes of deimperialisation and decolonisation throughout the Pacific Rim in the post-9/11 era.

We seek papers about the historical, political and economic dynamics of the triangular relationships among the Chinese mainland, Australia and the US. In particular, we invite research that examines how representations of Asia and Australasia increasingly are working their way into the US body politic and how these representations, as well as those of the US, are being produced, consumed and reworked in the Asia Pacific region. The symposium will consider developments in transnational history, literature, film and media, as well as political and cultural history, and it will aim to make a critical intervention across a broad range of transpacific cultures.

Proposals for 20-minute presentations should include a title and an abstract of no more than 200 words. All proposals should include your name, institution, and e-mail address. Send proposals to pacifictriangles@gmail.com by 15 April 2012.