Early American Studies in the Neoliberal University


Panel organizer: Lorrayne Carroll, University of Southern Maine  lorrayne@usm.maine.edu   


This roundtable seeks participants for a conversation about the role of Early American Studies in this historical moment in higher education. While our teaching and scholarship require resources for archival research, many of us work in institutions where those practices must be justified within a model of an “entrepreneurial faculty.” That is, as we challenge students to discover, contextualize, and interpret rare--even odd--texts, faculty must explain this work--and submit it to evaluation—as a direct preparation for student employability. Education for employment increasingly informs the ways in which we (can) teach Early American Studies.

Many of us have had versions of this discussion at our home institutions; the roundtable brings the conversation directly to bear on the specific role of Early American Studies in “the education economy.”  Beginning with comments from 5-6 participants, we anticipate a broader conversation among the audience. If you would like to participate, please send a brief statement that addresses this question: How do scholars and teachers of Early American Studies respond to the demands of the neoliberal university for “an entrepreneurial model of faculty subjectivity based on quantitative output”?*  Both potential panelists and audience members might read  *“If You’re So Smart, Why Are You under Surveillance?  Universities, Neoliberalism, and New Public Management” by Chris Lorenz (Critical Inquiry 38, Spring, 2012 (599-629) as a touchstone text. 


Please send your 250-word proposal to Lorrayne Carroll at lorrayne@usm.maine.edu by Friday, September 7, 2012.