Wednesday, October 2, 2013
October 2, 2013: NEASA Conference Follow Ups: Diverse Voices
[This past weekend, the New England American Studies Association held its annual conference. This week, I’ll follow up some of the most inspiring aspects of the conference and some of the many great talks I heard there. If you were part of it, or if you have your own thoughts on any of these topics, please chime in!]
On three participants who exemplify the cross-communal possibilities of American Studies.
I mentioned Mike Millner and Jonathan Silverman’s compelling talks about culture and casinos in yesterday’s post; the audience of that panel likewise contributed their own complex responses and ideas to the conversation. And one main reason why the discussion was particularly strong was the diversity of perspectives it, like the conference overall, included. For example:
1) Sharing many ideas was the conference’s keynote speaker, the impressive Native American Studies scholar Mark Rifkin. As he does in that great book, Mark brought sophisticated theoretical and analytical perspectives to bear on the panel’s topics and many related questions and themes.
2) Adding her ideas to the mix was Clarissa Ceglio, a member of the ConnecticutHistory.org team and a leading voice in public history, museum studies, and many related fields. Clarissa’s connections of our discussion to key questions in museum studies revealed just how productive these kinds of interdisciplinary conversations can be.
3) Also in the audience was Tall Oak, a regional Native American elder, historian, and activist. I wrote in the lead-up to the conference about my excitement that we were involving the Native American community directly, through the site and in other ways, and Tall Oak’s presence, voice, and ideas validated just how important and inspiring it is to make such communal connections.
Made for a really rich discussion! Next follow up tomorrow,
PS. What do you think?