Discussions about, toward,
around, and alongside the
New England American Studies
Association's Fall 2011 Conference.
See the schedule at the bottom of
the page, and please add your voice
and perspective to the mix!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Post-Conference Conversations: Ben Railton's Responses

All this week (11/7 through 11/10) I'm going to be responding to standout conference moments on my own blog: http://americanstudier.blogspot.com/. Please feel free to head over there, see some of my takeaways from the amazing weekend, and add your own voice there (or here, or both).


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Post-Conference Conversations: Cathy Stanton's Responses

The conference has come and gone, with absolutely amazing and inspiring turnout and voices and conversations, but this blog remains; while it might turn into other American Studies dialogues in the months to come, right now it's going to be the host to some conference follow ups.

The first ones come from plenary speaker Cathy Stanton. Cathy has provided an e-version of her plenary talk here:


and has also responded to another Plymouth experience in a blog post here:


More to come! (And please of course continue to revisit or visit for the first time the many great pre-conference conversations present here.)

Ben Railton

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Notes from Day 1

So much fun on the first day!

I was struck as I always am by the diversity of approaches at an American studies conference. As I was remarking to another participant, some panels you learn about things you didn't know (or refine ideas you already did) and other times you learn approaches.

The four panels or events I was able to attend give a good example of the discipline's intradisciplinary approaches. The plimoth/plymouth panel looked at both the town and the site from a visual standpoint in Holly Markovitz Goldstein's talk about the visual components of Plymouth, through an experiential and theoretical idea in Michael Millner's explication of the experience of bringing his college class to Plimoth Plantation, and Karyn Goldstein's talk on the way plymouth has been invoked over time. The discipline often does well when it explores a common text through multiple disciplines, and the audience was engaged by the panel as they were by the plenary speakers. The speakers all approached Plimoth/Plymouth from different disciplines or perspectives--from members of the Wampanoag tribe, Joan Tavares Avant and Linda Coombs, historian Joseph Contori, Archeologist Kevin McBride, and anthropologist Cathy Stanton.

The panel I chaired was one was tied together by the world's relationship to American culture. And the showcase of Native American artists last night at Pilgrim Hall emphasized in many ways the same point as the plenary speakers about the diversity of perspectives both in terms of Plymouth and in American Studies.

--Jonathan Silverman

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Special Session: International Indigenous Video Conference

**Transnationalism and American Studies**
Video Conference with Indigenous Activist Organization from Oaxaca, Mexico

Please join us for a discussion with an organization that struggles for the cultural and social rights of indigenous people who inhabit a transnational local economy increasingly defined by the circulation of tourists, commodities, and culture. The Committee of Defense of the Citizenry (CODECI) was founded in 1996 to organize and advocate for indigenous Chinanteca/os who were displaced by the construction of the Cerro del Oro dam. It is now a multiethnic, multi-state, and transborder organization that works to support peasants, refugees, and migrants. For its efforts it faces constant repression.

Please join us!

Saturday, Nov.5 11- 12:15
Special Session 6D
Shakespeare Theater

New England American Studies Conference
Plimoth Plantation
137 Warren Avenue
Plymouth, Mass. 02360

Please contact Eric Larson with any questions. (larson@fas.harvard.edu)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 13 Recap and Open Thread

With the conference only days away now, presenters from both the Regional Indigenous Canon panel and the Friday evening reading shared their voices and ideas here. They make, through the very presence and even more through all that they have to say and offer, a more compelling case than I ever could for why you should find your way to Plimoth Plantation this Friday and Saturday.

This week, as we gear up for the conference, we'll hear from the Images of Plimoth and Plymouth panel, one of many that will focus on elements of our amazing site and space.

But please feel very free to keep digging back into the earlier weeks and posts on this blog, to add your thoughts to any prior post, to share your perspectives on American mythologies in this open thread, and generally to join our e-community even if you can't do so in person this weekend. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday: Indigenous New England Literature

How many Native American authors can you name from New England? BESIDES Samson Occom and William Apess. At Plimoth, you'll be able to learn about a rich regional indigenous literary history, going at least as far back as Mi'kmaq hieroglyphics and as far forward as Narragansett children's poetry. Even better, you get to meet some talented contemporary local Native authors, hear them read, and buy their books.

On Friday afternoon (Session 3A at 2:15) we will have a roundtable discussion with editors of Dawnland Voices: Writing from Indigenous New England. This anthology, years in the making and about 600 pages in manuscript form, is under contract with the University of Nebraska Press; if we're lucky, we should see it sometime next year.

The book is organized by nation, and each nation has a community editor--a tribal elder and/or historian who selected and introduced the texts. Three of these editors will be on hand to discuss the project: Joan Tavares Avant (Mashpee Wampanoag), Dawn Dove (Narragansett), and Stephanie Fielding (Mohegan). It's awe-inspiring to hear how much they know about tribal writing, how they located and chose texts for publication, and how they presented them. This is grass-roots canon-building!

Friday evening, Joan will read from her book, People of the First Light; along with Larry Spotted Crow Mann (Nipmuc), who has published a book of stories called Tales from the Whispering Basket; Mihku Paul (Maliseet), who has a forthcoming poetry chapbook; and Mohegan Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, who has a new Victorian Gothic, Fire Hollow.

If you want to learn a little more about these and other regional Native writers, you can follow the blog, Indigenous New England Literature . We also have an "Indigenous New England Literature" book discussion group on Goodreads.com. And hopefully, before too long, students at UNH will be launching an online archive of regional indigenous literature. Stay tuned, and come on Friday!

Siobhan Senier
University of New Hampshire

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 12 Recap and Open Thread

Less than two weeks until the conference! (Revised and updated program now available at http://www.neasa.org under the Conference tab.)

This week the presenters from the "Whispers, Screams, and Echoes: Creating, Recreating, and Challenging Archaeological Narratives" panel highlighted both their individual emphases and ideas and the panel's underlying questions and arguments here; presenter Russ Handsman of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum added some further questions and thoughts in a comment on that post. Please check out this panel's really interesting and important ideas, and add your own in comments too!

This week presenters from a panel on the regional indigenous canon--presenters who have worked to assemble an anthology of those writings--will share their voices here. Keep an eye out for that, but feel free as well to use this post as an open thread to highlight your building excitement for the conference!