British Association for American Studies


Call for Papers- 1st Postgraduate Americas Conference: Power and Change in the Americas (UCL, London)

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Call for Papers- 1st Postgraduate Americas Conference: Power and Change in the Americas (UCL, London)

November 15, 2014

The UCL Americas Research Network is pleased to invite scholars to participate in its first International Postgraduate Conference, to be hosted at University College London from April 30 – May 1, 2015.

This two-day conference seeks to cater to an international community of postgraduate and early-career researchers of the Americas from across the humanities and the social sciences. The organisers welcome paper proposals that address the overarching theme of the conference:

Power and Change in the Americas in the Modern Era

Geographically, this includes the whole Western Hemisphere (Central, South, and North America, as well as the Caribbean). By adopting a broad, hemispheric perspective, the organisers hope to encourage debates that extend beyond the boundaries of the nation-state, and to question the validity of cultural divides that often limit research agendas and enclose perceptions of complex problems and communalities.

The conference, organized by UCL Americas Research Network, especially invites doctoral students and early career researchers whose work ranges both geographically and temporally, and will encourage interdisciplinary conversations on national, regional and local topics and those whose focus is comparative, transnational and global. By facilitating a space to have these discussions, this conference aims to create an ongoing platform and network for collaborative exchange.

The structure of the conference consists of three thematic approaches or streams across which different panels will be formed to addressing related topics in an innovative and interdisciplinary manner over the course of the two days.

1. Representations, Ideology, and Ideas of Change:
Evolutionary and revolutionary concepts in post-independence Americas have brought about significant changes to the ways in which actors and groups think, represent, and position themselves and their demands vis-à-vis the formal structures of power. This stream invites papers that address the topics of “change” and “power” in the Americas in its multiple forms of representations, ideas, and ideologies. The underlying tensions and contestations of certain ideas that have a direct impact on our understanding of what power and change means form the major rationale of this inquiry. Developing new modes of thinking continues to be fundamental in the attempt to understand the political in terms of the modern nation and the major forces shaping the lives of subjects in the Americas.

2. Institutions, The State, and Governments:
This second thematic approach focuses on political institutions and the state in the Americas, and addresses the changing parameters of power and the political in modern times. This includes the ways in which the state and its associated institutions (both non-state and governmental) have evolved over time and geographical space; the modes of interaction between states and institutions, both within and across countries; as well as domestic, regional, and transnational actors. This stream invites papers that address themes from across the spectrum of political interactions, encompassing debates around sovereignty and global governance, regional integration and subnational decentralization, and institutional design and practice. The organisers particularly welcome papers that take an explicit comparative and interdisciplinary approach, and that can appeal to students and scholars of the Americas from diverse disciplinary backgrounds.

3. Contesting Power and Social Practices:
This thematic approach is interested in accounting for how different actors, communities, and movements in the Americas engage and interact with multiple-layered power structures, the state and its institutions and wider social systems. Social, economic, and political changes in the Americas are processes in which social actors are both objects and subjects. Confronted with these changes, historical and contemporary subjects have followed distinctive paths, from support and passive acceptance, to engagement in active contestation. This stream invites papers that address both the processes of resistance and the emergence of ‘from-below’ alternatives driven by non-hegemonic subjects, including, but not limited to, resistance to economic and productive models and to political and governance regimes; the contestation of hegemonic knowledge; the bottom-up emergence of social and material alternatives in the everyday life of social subjects and movements.

If you are interested in participating, please indicate in your paper proposal the thematic approach in which you would like to participate. If you are unsure which one fits best, please do not hesitate to contact the organizing committee with any questions at:

The organizing committee invites all interested doctoral students and early-career researchers to submit abstracts, which should not exceed 300 words, as well as a brief biography of no more than 50 words, which should include your name, email, and institutional affiliation. The deadline for abstracts and paper proposals is November 15th 2014.

Please submit your abstracts to: uclamericasresearchnetwork@gmail.com

NB: This conference will be free to attend, both for speakers and for the general public, though prior registration for attendance without presenting a paper is essential. Details on how to register will follow shortly. Keynote speakers will be confirmed soon.

Key dates:
Deadline for paper-proposal submission: November 15th 2014
Deadline for paper submission: March 20th 2015
Conference: April 30th to May 1st 2015


November 15, 2014
Event Category:


UCL Americas Research Network
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Institute of the Americas/ UCL,
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT United Kingdom
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+44 (0) 20 7679 2000
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