Call for papers : "American Multiculturalism in Context"

Call for papers : American Multiculturalism in Context

date : 27-29 March 2015

place : Université de Haute Alsace, Mulhouse (France)

organizer : Prof. Sämi Ludwig, author of several publications on American literature and intercultural communication

co-sponsoring : UHA Mulhouse (France), Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg/Br. (Germany), Universität Basel (Switzerland)

special guest : Ishmael Reed, novelist, essayist, publisher, activist (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

One main ingredient of American exceptionalism is its multiculturalism, which is based on a long and still ongoing history of immigration. From the terrible experiences of slavery, through discrimination, long civil rights struggles, and final successes such as the election of president Obama, American culture has developed and strengthened its multiculturalism. However, in a globalized world of migration, the United Stated is no longer the only country exposed to the multicultural challenge. It may in the future no longer be the prime site defining the issues and dominating the critical debates.

This conference wants to reassess American multiculturalism from today’s perspective, look back at its history, its development, success and finally celebration as politically correct dogma. In terms of today’s world, what is “multiculturalism” ? Has it exhausted its usefulness ? Do we need a different kind of multiculturalism ? How should we redefine it in an international context ?

Our special guest, Ishmael Reed, has for many years been in the middle of this debate. He is an expert on the development of art, journalism, and the American experience in terms of multiculturalism in general. As a prolific writer and opinionator, he has been in the eye of the storm ever since he first promoted the American “multicultural artist” in the late 1960s.

As possible topics for contributions, we suggest :

  •  the history of American multiculturalism
  •  multiculturalism in literature and art
  •  multiculturalism and ethnicity
  •  multiculturalism and identity politics
  •  multiculturalism and the law
  •  representation and the media
  •  the labor market
  •  multicultural geographies
  •  domestic vs. international issues
  •  nation vs. culture—the issue of passports
  •  comparative multiculturalism (India, Africa, Europe ?)
  •  multiculturalism and multilingualism
  •  multicultural literacy
  •  useless multiculturalisms
  •  the multiculturalism of the future
  •  etc.

    The conference will result in an international publication.
    Please submit abstracts of 200 words and short bios to
    Prof. Sämi Ludwig
    by 1st September 2014.