15/08/18 – CFP: R-framing the constitution

Re-Framing the Constitution: Futures of the Fourteenth Amendment

deadline for submissions: August 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: Rice University & Humanities Research Center
contact email: sap9@rice.edu

Symposium CFP

Re-Framing the Constitution: Futures of the Fourteenth Amendment

Rice University

Houston, TX

Friday & Saturday, October 5-6, 2018



Edlie L. Wong (University of Maryland)

Concluding Roundtable:

Ikuko Asaka (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Carrie Hyde (University of California, Los Angeles)

Mónica Jiménez (University of Texas, Austin)

Derrick Spires (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Symposium Description: 

The year 2018 marks the sesquicentennial of the Fourteenth Amendment, arguably the most important and bitterly contested ever added to the United States Constitution.

Crafted during the post-war era of Reconstruction, the amendment holds federal and state governments accountable for the protection of rights for all American citizens. Its most important achievements—birthright citizenship and equality before the law—subsequently shaped the next 150 years of American membership politics, and are in our current moment (as they have been since their adoption) under impassioned assault.

Marking this anniversary, “Re-Framing the Constitution” issues an interdisciplinary call for papers that reflect on, re-examine, and re-imagine the Fourteenth Amendment as a definitive turning point in US social and legal reform.

In seeking to renew the agenda for research into ways the amendment has shaped not only the United States Constitution, but the legal and social frameworks of global citizenship, “Re-Framing the Constitution” aims to interrogate the multiple complexities, legacies, and vulnerabilities of this 400-word text.

The 150th year of the 14th Amendment comes at a particularly distressing moment of national turbulence, when exposure to anxieties rooted in fear, hate, and ignorance is becoming increasingly lethal, especially to those for whom questions and issues of “citizenship” are not abstract but tightly woven into the fabric of lived experience.

Keeping the material impacts of social discourse in its line of sight, this conference aims to bring together an interdisciplinary body of scholars to ponder historical interpretations of the amendment (such as “separate but equal”) in new ways; to assess through the lens of the amendment the exegetic landscape of our cultural pasts, political present, and speculative futures; and to discuss what has become a predictable pattern of direct and indirect efforts to delegitimize, dismiss, and “reform” the amendment’s Citizenship Clause.

We especially welcome papers that contemplate new methods, questions, and approaches to critical thought about the amendment, its afterlives and futures, and its place in the cultural and historiographic study of citizenship, gender, labor, law, migration, race and ethnicity, regionalism, and slavery.

In this spirit, “Re-Framing the Constitution” will adopt as its guiding questions: Where does the Fourteenth Amendment take us from here? And where should we, as cultural, legal, and social historians, be taking it?


Please submit a 300-word abstract and an abbreviated CV to Keith McCall (kdm7@rice.ed) and Scott Pett (sap9@rice.edu) by August 15, 2018.

“Re-Framing the Constitution” is generously funded by the Humanities Research Center.

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