MARCH 29-30, 2019


The Society of Americanists and the Eastern American Studies Association invite proposals for presentations, panels, and forums on “Currents of American Culture and Its Study” for their joint international meeting on March 29-30, 2019 at Central Penn College, located near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The rhetoric of “currents” takes inspiration from the meeting’s location by the Susquehanna River, the longest river on the East Coast of the United States, and the largest in the continental United States without commercial boat traffic. As with the subject of American culture under scrutiny, the river has several branches, many diverse communities and landscapes, a natural as well social history of change, and legacies of imaginative and scientific exploration from James Fenimore Cooper’s historic writings on the river’s source to the more contemporary humanistic and social scientific writing on the terminus of the Chesapeake Bay from the likes of renowned authors and filmmakers James A. Michener, Nora Roberts, and Barry Levinson.

“Currents” also suggests concern for contemporary movements and what Americans and those that study them think as well as do. Organizers of the meeting therefore especially seek proposals for interpretations of the current American scene and the flow and forms of American culture in a global context. Building, too, on the launch of the inaugural issue of SOAR (Society of Americanists Review) on the assessment of American Studies (, organizers want to extend the discourse on currents of American Studies scholarship and the profession of Americanists. This discourse includes issues of applications, and representations, of American Studies in historic preservation, cultural conservation, and befitting the area’s identity as a capital region, public policy and administration.

While the conference theme is central to discussion at the meeting, organizers welcome panels on topics of significance to scholars engaged in all disciplines related to the study of American culture that might fall outside the call.

Furthermore, in keeping with our tradition of supporting undergraduate research and scholarship, we invite undergraduate students to consider submitting proposals for inclusion in our Undergraduate Roundtables.

Submission Guidelines:

  • For Individual Presenters: Submit a short abstract (no more than 200 words) and a brief CV or resume (no more than two pages).  Place your name and email address on both documents.
  • For Pre-formed Panels: Submit a cover sheet with the title of the panel, the names of each participant, and the titles of their presentations.  Include a short abstract of each paper (no more than 200 words each) as well as a brief CV or resume for each panel participant (no longer than two pages).
  • All materials should be sent to Dr. Brant Ellsworth at before Monday, January 14, 2019.
  • Graduate students whose proposals are accepted will be encouraged to submit their final papers electronically several weeks prior to the conference to be considered for the Simon J. Bronner Award for the outstanding graduate paper in American Studies.
  • The conference will also host an Undergraduate Roundtable.  Undergraduate students or faculty members interested in having their undergraduate students present research at the conference should contact Dr. Francis Ryan of La Salle University (  Roundtable participants will compete for the Francis Ryan Award, awarded annually to the outstanding undergraduate paper.
  • Presenters and attendees can register for the conference beginning in January 2019 at the website:

For more information on the host organizations, see and For directions to Central Penn College, see , and for visitor information on Harrisburg-Hershey and the Central Pennsylvania region, see Information on conference rates for lodging will be sent to registrants at a later date.

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