The State of the State: What is American Political History Now?

HOTCUS winter symposium, University of Nottingham, Saturday 17 February 2018

Plenary speaker: Ira Katznelson, Columbia University

Writing in the New York Times in 2016, Kenneth Osgood and Fredrik Logevall mourned the slow demise of American political history. Confronted by popular disillusionment with mainstream politics, the emergence of powerful social movements and the massification and diversification of higher education, the field, they argued, had “cratered”. In response, commentators – many of them political historians – rushed to defend the health of political history, pointing to its application of new methodologies and approaches, its interaction with other disciplines and subfields, and its astonishing breadth and diversity.

Using Osgood and Logevall’s jeremiad as a starting point, this one-day symposium seeks to explore the state of twentieth century American political history today, both through reflections on the field and examples of the latest historical research. It welcomes panel and research paper proposals on a variety of twentieth century American political history topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Political ideas and ideologies
  • Social movements and the state
  • Race, class, gender and sexuality
  • Public policy and political development
  • Foreign affairs and diplomacy
  • Political economy, business and capitalism
  • Mass incarceration and the carceral state
  • The environment and environmentalism
  • The state and transnationalism
  • State of the field debates

Proposals and one-page CVs should be sent to Joe Merton (joe.merton@nottingham.ac.uk), Vivien Miller (vivien.miller@nottingham.ac.uk) and Bevan Sewell (bevan.sewell@nottingham.ac.uk) by Friday 27th October 2017.

Individual paper proposals should be no longer than 250 words. Panel proposals should include an overall abstract of no more than 250 words as well an individual abstract for each paper of no longer than 250 words. HOTCUS values diversity and equality in its conference organisation. We strongly encourage and, where possible, give preference to panels that reflect the diversity of our field in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, institutional affiliation and employment status. All-male panel proposals will not be accepted.