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American Political History Conference

Events

  • February 6, Liz Cheney: The Rogers Center and the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy will be partnering on an event tentatively titled “Former U.S. Representative Liz Cheney: In Conversation with Jon Meacham,” (official title TBD) following the release of Cheney’s memoir, Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning. This event will be open to the public and will take place on February 6, 2024, at 5pm, in Langford Auditorium. Admission is free! (registration required)
  • February 20, Samuel Freedman: The Rogers Center and the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy will be partnering again to bring journalist and historian Samuel Freedman, in conversation with Prof. Dennis Dickerson, to campus to give a book talk on his new release, Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights. More details, location, etc, to come!
  • February 28, Melissa Estes-Blair: Presidential historian Melissa Estes-Blair (Auburn University) will be giving a talk on her book, Bringing Home the White House: The Hidden History of the Women who Shaped the Presidency in the 20th Century, which will be followed by a book-signing. This in-person event will take place in E.B.I. College, room 1003, at 5pm.
  • March 28, Rebecca Traister: This event will feature abortion rights activist and author Rebecca Traister in conversation with Dr. Nicole Hemmer, director of the Rogers Center for the American Presidency. This in-person event will be held in the Central Library Community Room at 5pm and will be recorded.
  • April 3, Zachary Jacobson: Cold war historian Zachary Jacobson will give a talk on his book, On Nixon’s Madness: An Emotional History. More details to come!

Reconstructing Democracy: Power, Politics, and Participation

June 6-8, 2024 At Vanderbilt University

The study of history and the politics of memory have become key dividing lines in the struggle over the future of democracy in the United States. This conference aims to bring historical research and historical thinking to understanding contemporary challenges to democracy. It will also consider how innovations in political history can help deepen the project of democratic reconstruction: the rebuilding of institutional trust (and trustworthy institutions), meaningful democratic participation, and the roles of the people in U.S. politics and political culture.

This event will bring political historians into conversation with one another and the broader public to grapple with the idea of what it means to study U.S. political history. It will challenge the traditional categories of political history — left and right, elite and populist, rural and urban — as well as the traditional sub field divisions that silo the discipline. It will create opportunities to build networks, share new research, debate ideas, think about the implications of this research in our contemporary setting, and discuss strategies for public engagement.

We invite panel and paper submissions that reflect the diversity of the field of American political history, from the colonial era to recent history, and that will generate debates and discussions over how to define and pursue political history.  As such, we especially encourage round table and workshop ideas that will foster dynamic conversations about how we write and understand political history across time periods, sub fields, and disciplines. We welcome sessions that feature differing sub field dynamics debating topics that challenge traditional paradigms in political history and address broad historical time periods. We especially encourage conversations that include scholars working in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

We also welcome historians from different arenas—including academia, public history, public policy, journalism, documentary film, television, and radio—to launch conversations about the contemporary meaning and uses of history.  More than just sharing specific historical insights, this conference aims to bring together an intellectual community of historians within and beyond academia to inspire conversations about the uses of history, the public responsibilities of historians to engage broader audiences, and the skills needed to do this.  The program committee is deeply committed to inclusion and diversity. We request session proposals with attention to gendered, racial, and career diversity and will have limited funds available to support graduate students and contingent faculty.  The conference will be held in-person only.

Submission Details

Proposal Deadlines: December 31, 2023

The Rogers Center for the American Presidency and the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Sciences will provide some funding to offset costs for graduate students and contingent scholars who do not have access to research and travel funds through their departments and employers. Please indicate on your proposals scholars who would like to apply for these funds.

Submissions should be up to 500 words with proposals for individual papers or panel, round table, or workshop sessions.  Each proposal should also include a biographical statement for each participant of up to 150 words that includes contact information.  Please submit proposals in one Word or PDF document to caroline.a.johnston@vanderbilt.edu.

The Rogers Center for the American Presidency and the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Sciences will provide some funding to offset costs for graduate students and contingent scholars who do not have access to research and travel funds through their departments and employers. Please indicate on your proposals scholars who would like to apply for these funds.

Program Committee

Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Purdue University (co-chair)

Nicole Hemmer, Vanderbilt University (co-chair)

Leah Wright Rigueur, Johns Hopkins University (co-chair)

Lindsay M. Chervinsky, Southern Methodist University

Brent Cebul, University of Pennsylvania

Bobby Cervantes, Harvard University

Elizabeth Hinton, Yale University

John S. Huntington, Houston Community College

Michael Koncewicz, New York University

Cecilia Márquez, Duke University

George Derek Musgrove, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Rachel A. Shelden, Penn State University