Fairfield Hosts 5th Annual American Studies Conference, March 25
Bringing together the scholarship of Fairfield University undergraduate and graduate students, the 5th Annual American Studies Conference on Saturday, March 25, will explore the theme of The Divided States of America and what it means politically, culturally and socially in past and present U.S. culture.
The conference begins at noon with a series of panel discussions and student presentations covering a wide-rage of cultural perspectives on topical issues, and concludes with a 4:30 p.m. lecture by Keynote David Roediger, author and University of Kansas Foundation professor of American Studies, who will tackle the question “What is this ‘White’ in White Working Class?” in a dissertation on the intersection of race and class in the workforce.
The event will take place from 12 – 6 p.m. in the Aloysius P. Kelley Center Presentation Room and will be followed by a reception. Registration is free and open to the public at fairfield.edu/asconference.
Known for his teachings and writings on race and class in the United States, Roediger employs Marxist theory to explain white working class racism and new labor history. Drawing from his book Class, Race, and Marxism (Verso), Roediger will discuss how race and class conflicts and oppression in America have persisted, and will use examples from the nineteenth century through the Trump administration to support the argument that moments of opportunity and danger in U.S. history have unfolded at the intersections of race and class.
Peter Bayers, PhD, director of Fairfield University’s American Studies program, says that the turmoil leading up to, and in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, served as the impetus for this year’s conference.
“The student presentations and keynote will address the upheaval of our contemporary moment in U.S. history and offer a deeper and wider lens to consider how divisions between Americans have shaped and continue to shape American identity,” Bayers said. “We hope that this conference will help illuminate the ways in which divisions have and continue to shape America, socially, morally, politically and culturally.”
The 5th Annual American Studies Conference is sponsored by Fairfield’s American Studies program and the University’s English, History and Politics Departments. Students enrolled in Fairfield’s American Studies program engage the idea of America as it has been culturally imagined and contested throughout history, both within and beyond U.S. national borders. Students also consider their own place, engagement and responsibilities as participants in the unfolding narratives of America within a global context.