HOTCUS Annual Postgraduate Conference: ‘Contesting Power: Rights, Justice, and Dissent in America and Beyond’

Saturday, 21 October 2017, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

Key Note Speaker: Dr Kerry Pimblott, University of Manchester

The United States has recently witnessed dissent on a scale unprecedented in recent decades.  Mass protests like the Women’s March on Washington, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, and Standing Rock demonstrations, as well as the renegotiation of boundaries of free speech and minority representation on university campuses nationwide are testament to the increasingly visible forms of resistance and activism that have emerged.  As nationalist sentiment grows in the US and across western Europe, and with the prospect of major shifts in American policies in foreign relations, voting rights, immigration, labour, civil rights, education, healthcare and elsewhere, 2017 presents an important time to consider the contestation of power in modern American history, both domestically and internationally.  At present, efforts to gain control of media narratives, direct resources in times of war and peace, and redefine rights and identities are particularly relevant scholarly discussions.

HOTCUS therefore invites proposals for twenty-minute papers or panels (of three speakers) from postgraduate students and early career researchers that explore these broad themes throughout modern American history, from 1890 to the present.  Topics might include:

  • social movements for rights and justice
  • transnational history
  • racial identity
  • political and policy history
  • gender and sexuality
  • war and diplomatic history
  • intellectual and cultural discussions
  • labour history
  • citizenship, identity, and immigration
  • Native American history
  • urban and rural community studies
  • religious studies

With postgraduate students and early career researchers in mind, this conference also includes roundtable discussions on topics such as applying for research grants and postdoctoral fellowships, publishing, and teaching, each led by experienced academics, many from Cambridge’s American History Subject Group.  The event is generously funded in part by the Mellon Professorial Fund and the British Association for American Studies (BAAS).  BAAS will fund six £50 travel grants for PG attendees.

Abstracts for papers or panels (300 words per paper) and a brief CV (100 words) should be submitted to by Sunday, 13 August 2017, and please state in submission if you would like to be considered for one of the BAAS PG travel grants.  For more information or queries, please contact Kate Ballantyne (