The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)’s Seventh Annual Conference
Conference Theme: Everyday Practices, Memory Making, and Local Spaces
March 11-12, 2022
A Virtual Conference
Host: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Call for Papers
The process of “memory making” is ongoing as activists throughout the African diaspora confront the past and challenge landscapes that pay homage to colonialism and Eurocentrism. Recent debates surrounding the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms, The 1619 Project, and the position of Confederate monuments in the public square highlight these contemporary trends. The United States is facing a unique moment of national reckoning that scrutinizes how history is interpreted, commemorated, and displayed.
In the era of social media, local issues can also have immediate global implications. When Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in the Summer of 2020, protests emerged in cities and towns throughout the United States. But calls for justice and civil rights quickly spread across the globe, as communities throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas condemned anti-Blackness, police brutality, and systemic racism in their own countries. Relatedly, as activists in the United States toppled Confederate monuments and statues of Christopher Columbus last year, people of African descent in Europe also challenged the colonial landscapes displayed in various European cities. In Bristol, for example, activists defaced and destroyed the statues of slave traders such as Edward Colston and in Belgium, activists toppled statues of brutal imperialists such as Leopold II. These national and global activist movements contested the aftermath of enslavement and colonialism in the everyday while also illustrating how memory shapes politics, identities, and communities in the past and present.
In accordance with this contemporary moment, this year’s theme, “Everyday Practices, Memory Making, and Local Spaces” provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary scholarship that examines how history is told in local, national, and international contexts. Correspondingly, AAIHS has selected Las Vegas, Nevada, for its annual conference. The city’s African American residents are deeply tied to national, international, and local histories. As southern Nevada’s Black population grew through the Great Migration, civil rights activists fought against the city’s rampant inequality, culminating in the “Moulin Rouge Agreement” on March 26, 1960, that desegregated the Strip casinos. And as an international tourism hub, spaces throughout southern Nevada have been shaped and reshaped by transnational influences.
As panelists consider their proposals, they might consider the following questions: How do “everyday practices” form conceptions of the past? How is memory “made” and “remade” in different eras of history? How can “local spaces” influence broader discussions of societal injustice and prompt calls for social change? What methods have people from past and present generations used in their “memory making” and why did they use those methods? In what way does gender, sexuality, race, and class complicate memory making in everyday locales? Ultimately, what are the stakes of challenging memorialized and deeply invested in spaces and stories in local, national, and international settings?
AAIHS welcomes individual proposals for abbreviated presentations (5-6 minutes) that consider the theme of “Everyday Practices, Memory Making, and Local Spaces” from a variety of perspectives. Each proposal will be considered for inclusion in one of the featured conference sessions, which will be scheduled remotely on Friday, March 11 or Saturday, March 12, 2022. AAIHS invites scholars at various ranks and affiliations (from graduate students to senior faculty and independent scholars) to submit proposals for consideration. Each proposal should include a title and approximately 500 words that clearly explains the paper’s argument; methods and methodologies; interventions; and engagement with the conference theme. Submissions should also include a short CV (1-3 pages in length), highlighting previous publications and presentations, if applicable. Proposals will be accepted on the AAIHS website between September 15, 2021 and November 15, 2021.