The New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA) announces a call for papers for our 2014 annual one-day conference:



Saturday November 15, 9am-6pm

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

50 W 40th Street, New York, NY


Responding to tensions between official and emerging forms/formats/modes within and beyond academia, the New York Metro American Studies Association has chosen the theme of “American Vernaculars” for our annual conference. Rooted in the ordinary, vernaculars are languages, movements, objects, spaces, technologies, practices, and beliefs people use in their everyday lives. Through these and other vernaculars, we seek to explore questions such as:

How does the vernacular relate to the academy?

How do vernaculars create, define, protect and sustain communities?

How do vernaculars interact with, confront, resist, and/or subvert elite and exclusionary discourses?

How do vernaculars change over time and how do they produce change across geographic and social terrains?

How do vernaculars create, define, protect, and sustain communities, especially marginalized and racialized communities?


We invite participants to engage with any of the following issues (or any others the topic inspires).

Preference will be given to presentations in formats other than the 20-minute paper, especially to performances or displays of verbal, musical, and visual art.


  • The vernacular and the authentic
  • The vernacular and Critical Race Theory
  • The vernacular and the African-American rhetorical/musical traditions
  • Racialized vernaculars
  • vernacular and Composition/Rhetoric
  • Vernacular architecture and design
  • Visual vernaculars: signs, billboards, found objects, realism, the handmade, graffiti
  • Spoken/written vernaculars: jargon, lingo, slang, dialect/s, accents, Yiddish, Global English, neologism
  • Vernacular nationalisms: patriotisms, fascisms, globalization, Americanization
  • Vernacular politics: strikes, demonstrations, protests, chants, slogans, songs
  • Digital vernaculars: memes, selfies, hashtags, wikis, tweets, likes, vine, emoji, text-speak, email novels
  • Code-switching vernaculars: code-meshing, translingual writing and rhetoric, bilingualism
  • Vernacular memories/vernacular histories: storytelling, monuments, textbooks
  • Dangerous vernaculars: cussing, cursing, codes, censorship
  • Urban vernaculars: graffiti, street fashion, city talk,
  • Vernacular food: food carts, locally grown/sourced, cookbooks, the Food network
  • Vernacular movements: Chautauqua
  • Vernacular knowledge: rumors, gossip, myths, jokes
  • Vernacular media: folk, jazz, hip-hop, talk shows, talk radio, music videos, Polaroids, Instagram
  • Vernacular medicine: midwives and obstetricians, doctors and healers, self-help
  • Vernaculars of the body: gender/gendering, sexuality, taboos, tattoos
  • Vernaculars of the future, dystopian/utopian vernaculars
  • Religious vernaculars: spiritualism, direct revelation, translations of the Bible
  • Vernacular scholarship and the scholarship of the vernacular: ethnography, participant-observation
  • The appropriation of vernaculars: advertising, consumer culture
  • Archaic/obsolete/vanished vernaculars


We welcome papers on any historical period in American Studies, as well as 21st century topics. 

Please note that we will accept abstracts for individual paper presentations only, not pre-constituted panels.


Abstracts Due:  July 15, 2014