The 2016 Annual Conference of the Eastern American Studies Association (EASA)

The 2016 Annual Conference of the Eastern American Studies Association (EASA)

Theme: Connections and Collisions:  The Divisive and Unifying Forces of Race and Ethnicity
Date: April 1-2, 2016
Venue: Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster PA

As current events remind us, race and ethnicity remain at the forefront of American life.  This year, EASA will explore the role of race and ethnicity in shaping the stories and histories that continue to unify us as a people yet, paradoxically, also divide us.  Fittingly, our venue – Lancaster, Pennsylvania – figures prominently in America’s racial and ethnic past and present.  Several homes and churches served as temporary safe houses for fugitive slaves using the several routes of the Underground Railroad.  The city was also the home of James Buchanan, Democrat, who served one term as President prior to the Civil War (1857-1861).  Buchanan, who tolerated slavery to preserve the union, presided over some of the most racially turbulent years in American History, a four-year span that included the Dred Scott Case, Bleeding Kansas, John Brown’s raid and subsequent execution, and the rise of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party.  Buchanan’s home, Wheatland, which is now a museum, is in easy walking distance from the Franklin & Marshall campus.  Thaddeus Stevens, abolitionist and Congressman from Pennsylvania, also called Lancaster home.  After the Civil War, Stevens led the “Radical Republicans” in enacting a legislative plan for Reconstruction that involved rights and enfranchisement for African Americans.  After his death in 1868, he was laid to rest in Lancaster at Shreiner's Cemetery, a grave yard that did not distinguish between white and black.  Shifting to ethnicity, Lancaster possesses America’s oldest Amish and Mennonite communities – based on religion, Germanic tradition, and agriculture.  A remarkable yet controversial tourist infrastructure has grown around this community, raising issues about whether tourism based on ethnicity unites or divides.  From the racial turmoil of the 1850s to the anti-German protests in the World War I Era to the desegregation movements of the Civil Rights era, Lancaster has remained culturally and politically vibrant as far as race and ethnicity are concerned.  Feeding off that energy, this conference provides scholars and students who work in this area with a venue at which to present their research.  As always, EASA is open and welcoming to papers and panels on any topic of American Studies, including those which do not fit under the conference theme

Submission Guidelines

Individual Papers: Send a short abstract (no more than 200 words) and a brief CV or resume of no more than two pages.  Place your name and email address on both documents.

Pre-formed Pan​els: Send a cover sheet with the title of the panel, the names of each participant, and the titles of their presentations.  Include a short abstract of each paper (no more than 200 words each) as well as a CV or resume of no longer than two pages for each panel participant.

All materials should be sent to David Beecher ( before Friday, January 8, 2016.  Graduate students whose proposals are accepted will be encouraged to submit their final papers electronically several weeks prior to the conference to be considered for the Simon J. Bronner Award for the outstanding graduate paper in American Studies.  

The conference will also host an Undergraduate Roundtable.  Faculty members interested in having their undergraduate students present research at the conference should contact Dr. Francis Ryan of La Salle (  Roundtable participants will compete for the Francis Ryan Award, given out annually to the most outstanding undergraduate paper.

Any general questions can be directed to John Haddad of Penn State Harrisburg (  For more information, including our downloadable newsletter, see the EASA website.