GRADUATE STUDENT WORKSHOPS
Wednesday September 28, 2011, 4-6 pm
Room 208N, Munk
Wednesday October 26, 2011, 4-6 pm
Room 208N, Munk
“The Slap Slap Motion of the Tortilla”: Taste and Race in the American Southwest in the New Deal Era
This paper explores the food of the American Southwest in the 1930s, and uses the methodology of sensory history to analyze the ways in which race contributed to the taste of place in this modern American region. This sensory narrative draws on a close reading of the Federal Writers’ Project’s (FWP) popular guidebooks as well as the archive of the America Eats book project. The FWP participated in a process of sensory heritage-making that animated the region’s developing tourism industry. Mexican food was not only entrenched in a local creolized sensory identity, but also part of a tourist sensory economy that required and constructed an authentic perception of another race. Exploring the interplay of taste, place, race, and gender in the FWP’s archive allows a deeper and contextualized understanding of how the senses contribute to the making of race.
Camille Bégin is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on cultural history, sensory history, and material culture. Her dissertation is a study of the records of the Federal Writers’ Project, especially the America Eats book project. Bégin’s article, “To partake of choice poultry cooked a la southern style: Taste and Race in the New Deal Sensory Economy,” is included in the Spring 2011 issue of the Radical History Review entitled “Radical Food.” Before relocating to Toronto, Begin earned her MA from the University Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne’s Centre de Recherche d`Histoire Nord Américaine.
Wednesday November 30, 2011, 4-6 pM
Room 208N, Munk
Playing with Nature: Exploring the History of Golf Course Construction in North America, 1873-1945
Between 1873 and 1945, golf grew from a recreational activity for the wealthy to a popular sporting interest amongst the upper-middle and some members of the working class in North America. As the sport spread across the continent, class, culture, and the physical environment interacted when it came to imagining and building new “golfscapes.” Jewett’s paper explores how these new golfing landscapes were a product of the architects, greens keepers, and golfers’ shifting notions of what made a first-class golf course, as transnational design ideals and technological innovations intersected with the local, social, and environmental realities. Through the examples of the transatlantic circulation of golf architecture principles, and the establishment of the Green Section of the United States Golf Association, she illustrates how designing and building “golfscapes” in North America helped to create a new type of human/nature interaction, which blended together pre-existing ways to conceptualize, shape, and experience the natural world.
Elizabeth Jewett is finishing the fourth year of her PhD program in the History Department at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, titled: “Behind the Greens: Understanding Golfing Landscapes in Canada, 1873-1945,” explores the environmental history of golfing landscapes in North America. Her research highlights the centrality of intersecting transatlantic cultural ideas about nature, sport, and class with local physical environments in crafting and defining these unique spaces. Jewett is an administrator and participant in several academic environmental history organizations including: Quelques Arpents de Neiges, and the Network in Canadian History and the Environment (NiCHE).
Wednesday January 25, 2012, 4-6 pm
Room 208N, Munk
The Promise of School Lunch: Professional Discourses of Nutrition Education and Civilization in Post-War North America
This paper examines the discourse that emerged about school lunch programs in the United States and Canada among school lunch professionals following the Second World War. While improved physical health was one factor behind lunch programs, this paper examines the ways in which these programs came to represent what I refer to as the “utopian lunch.” This model saw school lunch as a tool for the promotion of nutrition education, the development of social skills, the inculcation of civic consciousness and democratic ideals, and the assurance of increased “civilized” behaviour and thought among school-children. These discussions are explained in terms of cold war anxiety, the need to provide new justifications for school feeding programs, and the push for professional legitimacy. The paper uses school lunches as a lens to explore the ways in which ideas about national security, social betterment, and civilization are linked to food choice and eating habits.
O’Neill is a fifth year direct-admit doctoral candidate. Rebecca’s dissertation is entitled “Food for Thinking: School Lunch and the Cultural Construction of ‘Brain Food’ for Children in New York City and Toronto, 1940 – 1980.” Her research deals with food history in twentieth century North America. Specifically, she studies school lunches in Toronto and New York City between 1940 and 1980. Her work explores the social, cultural, and economic factors that contributed to nutritional understandings and food choices within families and schools throughout the twentieth century. O’Neill is a 2011-2012 Lupina/OGS Doctoral Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Comparative Program on Health and Society. O’Neill holds two prior degrees from Queen’s University: she graduated with distinction from her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 2006 and from her Bachelor of Education (Concurrent) in 2007.
Wednesday February 29, 2012, 4-6 pm
Room 208N, Munk
Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History in the Black Power Era: The Washington Park Relocation
In the late 1960s, Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History began a negotiation with city officials to relocate into a larger facility in Washington Park, next to the University of Chicago. Through this relocation, the museum helped to re-envision an African-American “social space” into the city’s south side geography, a process that mirrored the diverse engagements of Black Power activists around the country with civic-level politics. Since its founding in 1961, and especially by the end of that decade, the museum’s many functions included tour groups, curatorial exhibitions from around the world, archival research, and popular educational functions such as regular Black history classes and lectures—all of which required an increasingly larger space to operate. The ensuing initiative to seek relocation demonstrated how battles over the parameters of African-American cultural politics during the Black Power era could usefully be considered through the evolution of public history practices.
Ian Rocksborough-Smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. He is working on a dissertation about post-World War II African-American and labor-left cultural politics in Cold War Chicago. His fields of interest include late nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. social and cultural history, and histories of race in the Americas. In 2009-2010, he held a Fulbright student award, and was a visiting graduate scholar with Northwestern University’s Department of African American Studies.
Wednesday March 28, 2012, 4-6 pm
Room 208N, Munk
The Annihilation of Space by Just in Time Delivery
This paper argues that an impoverished theory of decline contributes to the narrative of a disembodied and exceptional space of the other that has emerged around Detroit in particular, and declining cities more broadly. Focusing on Detroit, it examines spaces of decline through a comparative analysis of representations of the Michigan Central Station and the grounded political economy of the station and surrounding area as a site of struggle for control in global shipping networks. The active erasure of the city’s population, particularly in the global circulation of photographs, has extended the trope of the disappearing city, and perpetuated a frontier imaginary of blank slates and boundless possibilities. The emptiness of these photographs captures the dissonance of an impoverished theory of decline predominantly focused on absence and loss. It obscures actors engaged in systemic exploitation in dismantling the city to manage the flows of profit through and out of Detroit.
Joshua Akers is a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Toronto. His current project Rethinking Decline examines the role of capital in community in reshaping spaces of decline. The work is funded in part through a Centre for the Study of the United States Graduate Research Grant.
Wednesday April 25, 2012, 4-6 pm
Room 208N, Munk
Red Scares and Renewal
In this paper, Vitale reviews Pittsburgh’s role as what David Caute described as the “violent epicenter of the anti-Communist eruption.” He spans a series of events from the formation of the local organization Americans Battling Communism (ABC) and its 1948 attack on a Communist Party meeting on Pittsburgh’s North Side, to the 1949 purge of the radical United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) from the CIO, to the early 1950s trials and imprisonment of Communist Party organizer Steve Nelson. Rather than rewrite the well-documented history of red scares in Pittsburgh, he offers a new interpretation. Red scares were part of an intentional campaign that used a spectrum of violence (from mobs to courts) to limit the possibility of left and progressive politics in Pittsburgh. Red scares were part of the overall effort by business conservatives to remake the Pittsburgh region (and the United States) as a place safe for capitalism.
Patrick Vitale is a doctoral student in geography working on a dissertation, “Nuclear Suburbs: Westinghouse and the everyday politics of the Cold War in suburban Pittsburgh.” Patrick’s research examines the confluence of the Cold War, nuclear science, and suburbanization in the Pittsburgh region from 1937 to 1979. Using the Westinghouse Electric Corporation's extensive involvement in the nuclear industry as an example, Patrick argues that the suburbanization of scientific work was a vital and overlooked aspect of the dramatic remaking of the Pittsburgh region during the Cold War. Fundamental to Patrick’s argument is that the Cold War is constituted at the level of the local and everyday, that Cold War science is situated within a suburban context, and that one force driving suburbanization in Pittsburgh was the desire to protect the privilege of scientific research and researchers.
The three recipients of the 2011-12 Graduate Research Grants in American Studies and/or the Study of the United States are:
Joshua Akers, Geography
Camille Begin, History
Patrick Vitale, Geography
Centre for the Study of the United States (CSUS)
Graduate Student Workshop
The CSUS Graduate Student Workshop, initially launched in 2007-08, is designed for graduate students pursuing research relating to American society and culture broadly conceived. The workshop is a forum for graduate students to present work in progress before a group of peers, and may include dissertation proposals or chapters, articles, or conference papers. The workshop also provides a venue to showcase the emerging scholarship of the winners of the Graduate Research Grants in American Studies and/or the Study of the United States. The overall goal of the workshop is to receive friendly, but critical feedback from scholars coming from an array of disciplinary backgrounds.
The CSUS Graduate Student Workshop is a monthly, academic-year, daytime seminar presentation. Our aim is to include graduate students and interested faculty from many academic institutions in the surrounding area. Students at any area universities, or those dissertating in the GTA, are warmly welcomed to join the proceedings. Inclusion in the workshop is to be broadly defined; students working on transnational, hemispheric, or comparative projects are encouraged to participate. For the upcoming academic year, the CSUS Graduate Student Workshop will be held near the end of the month on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm in the Munk School of Graduate Studies, at the University of Toronto. The Workshop is sponsored by the interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the United States (CSUS).
We are currently seeking graduate students who would be interested in presenting their work in the 2011-12 academic year. Interested applicants should submit a paper title, brief abstract, one paragraph biography, and up-to-date C.V. The deadline for submissions is July 25th, 2011, if you are interested in presenting or serving as a commentator, please contact:
Academic Advisor, American Studies Program Doctoral Candidate
Department of History, University of Toronto
Faculty Liaison, Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation Academic Advisor, American Studies Program Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, University of Toronto
Graduate Research Grants in American Studies and/or
the Study of the United States
Deadline: June 7, 2011
The Centre for the Study of the United States is pleased to announce the 2011-2012 competition for Graduate Research Grants.
Eligibility and Terms: The Graduate Research Grant competition is open to University of Toronto graduate students who have matriculated into a Ph.D. program for support of research (including preliminary research) undertaken for the dissertation. Students in all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Three grants will be awarded in the amount of $1000 each. The awards are to be used primarily for research travel and/or for presentations at major academic conferences. Funds may not be used to pay for normal living expenses or computers. Recipients will be expected to present an aspect of their research in the CSUS Graduate Student Workshop in the 2011-2012 academic year. Awards will be announced within two weeks of the application deadline, and the grants will be available within three weeks thereafter.
Applications must include:
1. Summary sheet stating the applicant's name, address, phone, and e-mail; department; year entering department; proposed dissertation title; the name of faculty committee members (and their departments), if relevant; and proposed use of funds;
2. A 1 page (single-spaced) summary of the research project, which explains its relationship to the either the interdisciplinary field of American Studies and/or to the study of the United States, whether interdisciplinary or not, if not self-evident;
3. A curriculum vita;
4. A detailed budget describing how the research funds would be spent.
Submission of Application: Deliver a hard-copy of your application to the receptionist at the South House of the Munk School of Global Affairs, and ask her to place the application in the in-box for Benjamin Pottruff. Alternatively, hard copies of applications can be mailed to: Benjamin Pottruff, Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School for Global Affairs, University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7. Emailed applications will be accepted at email@example.com.
Deadline for applications: Tuesday June 7th, 2011 at 4 pm. Applicants will be notified of the outcome within two weeks.
GRADUATE STUDENT WORKSHOPS 2010-2011
Fall 2010 Term
Wednesday, September 29th 2010, 4-6 pm
Welcome Coffee Social
Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 4-6 pm
Performing Cultural Identity in the Borderlands: Spatial Negotiation in the Work of Urban Curator Teddy Cruz
Doctoral Student at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama, University of Toronto.
If the performance of cultural identity takes place through the range of socio-cultural practices that make up community building, then urban planning is one such practice that palpably concretizes a community’s performance in space. When looking at borderland cultures, however, urban planning tends to mirror dominant cultural policy, reinstating cultural hegemony and ignoring variants. Urban theorist Teddy Cruz has attempted to mediate this problem through a remapping of borderland space which takes into account not only official urban structures, but also the extensive illicit practice he terms ‘encroachment’. Taking Cruz’s remapping of San Ysidro—a borderland community in San Diego, California—as its starting point, this presentation will examine the dialogic relationship between legal and illicit urban structure in borderland communities as a complex negotiation and, ultimately, performance of a polymorphous cultural identity.
Shelley Liebembuk is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama. She holds an Honour Bachelors degree in English—Theatre & Drama, and Philosophy from McGill University, and a Masters degree in Drama from the University of Toronto. Her current research interest is in intercultural performance practice, focusing on urban cultural contexts.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 4-6 pm
“I Just Love My Private Room!": Some Preliminary Thoughts On the Rise of Teen Room Culture in America, 1800-1985
Doctoral Candidate in History, York University
The idea of providing teenage children with rooms of their own has been around since the early nineteenth century. Back then, though, separate bedrooms were limited to middle-class, urban-dwelling girls who were expected to use their rooms to build character and train themselves to be competent housewives. By the latter decades of the twentieth century, however, the teen bedroom had become a much more democratic space, finding expression amongst male and female teens from nearly all ends of the socio-economic spectrum. The purpose of this paper, then, is to offer an explanation as to why the teen bedroom became such a normative feature of modern family life in America. Particular attention will be paid to four variables: (1) middle-class trends in housing and family living; (2) child development expertise; (3) home decor expertise, and other forms of consumption; and, (4) the decentralizing affects of technology on the family home.
Jason Reid is a doctoral candidate in American history at York University. His interests include teen culture, popular music, intellectual history, and literary history. He has a Bachelors degree in History from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a Masters degree in History from York University. His doctoral dissertation, “A Room of One’s Own: The Emergence of Teen Room Culture in America, 1800-1985” is nearing completion and will be defended sometime in the fall of 2010. He is currently an instructor in History at Ryerson University in Toronto.
GRADUATE STUDENT WORKSHOPS 2010-2011
WINTER 2011 Term