Thursday, November 3, 2011
November 4-6, 2011: It’s Here!
Early Friday I morning I drive down to Plymouth, and Plimoth Plantation, where the New England American Studies Association conference will unfold over the next two days. I’ve blogged about the conference many times over the past half-year or so, and if you can’t join us at Plimoth you can catch up on those posts under the “New England ASA” category on the right. There are many, many specific moments which I’m looking forward to, but I suppose what I’m most excited about is just the opportunity to finally meet and talk to the literally hundreds (well, 167 current registrants, plus 65 undergraduates from two universities) of fellow AmericanStudies I’ve met through this process. AmericanStudies is nothing if it’s not a community, as I hope this blog has expressed in a variety of ways throughout its existence—and I’ve never felt more connected to any scholarly community than I already do to the one that’s about to gather at Plimoth Plantation.
There’s one other main thing that I’d say AmericanStudies is, though, and that’s an interdiscipline, an interconnected web of texts and medias, methodologies and approaches, ideas and interests. And of the many things about the conference that make me very proud to be connected to it, certainly at the top of that list is our diversity and range of conversations—from historical and literary panels to ones on the visual arts and pop culture and film and archaeology and anthropology; a plenary panel featuring a scholar of New England Studies, an archaeologist, a scholar of cultural tourism and heritage sites, a Native American historian and museum director, and a Native American tribal elder and storyteller; a creative event featuring readings by four Native American writers who work in four different genres; a keynote address by James Loewen, one of the most prominent and successful public scholars and historians of the last few decades; a post-conference tour of Plymouth with the award-winning Native Plymouth Tours; special sessions geared toward and even featuring presentations by Massachusetts secondary educators; special sessions led by members of the Plimoth Plantation Education, Interpretation, and Library/Collections Departments; and more.I could go on—obviously—but I’ll stop there. If you’re not able to come down to Plimoth, and want to hear more voices than just mine (which I would understand), remember that all the pre-conference blog posts remain up, and represent a significant and impressive collection of AmericanStudies ideas and conversations in their own right. A NEASA colleague of mine might live-blog some of the conference there, but no matter what I am committed to maintaining an online and evolving NEASA presence, and will of course keep you posted on that in this space as well. If you’re here, the odds are good that you’ll find plenty to interest you there as well—and the odds are even better that your voice will be entirely and gladly welcomed there if and when you want to add it into the mix.
Off to Plimoth! More next week,Ben
PS. That means you’ve got three days to make suggestions for future posts or focal points here! Have at it!