Monday, November 05, 2007



A special international conference jointly sponsored by the Middle Atlantic
American Studies Association ( and the Great Lakes American Studies Association ( in Rochester, New York,
USA, in cooperation with the Strong National Museum of Play.

Date of Conference: April 4-5, 2008
Deadline for Submission of Proposals: December 14, 2007
Electronic Submission:
Location: Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, New York
( USA.
Conference Hotel: Hyatt Regency Rochester
Contact: Professor Simon J. Bronner, American Studies Program, The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057-4898 USA, 717-948-6039 (o), 717-948-6724 (fax),

Proposals for papers and presentations are invited for a special conference addressing the theme of American Play: Sports, Games, Entertainment, and Fantasy in American Culture to be held at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, April 4-5, 2008. Play is conceived broadly in this call and proposals are invited that explore and expand the definition and application of play in American Studies. The organizers are especially interested in interdisciplinary perspectives on play across the life span, including adulthood and old age; cultural meaning of play and entertainment in theme parks, film, literature, television, advertising, and political protest; uses of fantasy in new media and technology,
including video gaming and the Internet; material and visual culture of play, including toys, furniture, dress and the body, costuming, sports, and board games, for adults as well as children; the topography of play, including parks, stadiums, playgrounds, and gyms; play in consumer
culture, including intertextual connections between merchandise and film, music, advertising, and television; relationships between play and work, and the idea of leisure and recreational industries as they have historically emerged in the United States and its border regions,
especially in Canada; verbal play, including humor, speech, jokelore, and legendry; intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and age in sports and recreation; the ethnography of play behavior, especially controversial traditions such as pranks, hazing, gestures, and extreme
sports; comparative cultural analyses of games, sports, and entertainment in the United States and other countries.

Proposals for individual papers and presentations (15-30 minutes for each presentation, depending on the number of presenters in a session) should include one sheet with title, name and affiliation of author, and 150-300 word abstract. Another sheet should include a brief CV
or biographical statement with full contact information of the presenter, including email.
Proposals for panels, roundtables, and workshops should include a summary of the panel's concept and a list of participants and special roles (chair, discussant, respondent). Send materials by email BEFORE DECEMBER 14, 2007 to Proposals will be evaluated by a program committee composed of representatives from the sponsoring
organizations of the Middle Atlantic American Studies Association and the Great Lakes American Studies Association, and notices will be sent to presenters in February 2008.

Publication of papers from the conference will be encouraged. Presenters will be invited to submit papers for a special issue subject to peer review in the American Journal of Play, edited by Dr. Jon-Paul Dyson. The American Journal of Play is intended to increase national awareness and understanding of the critical role of play in learning and human development and the way in which play illuminates the cultural history of the United States.

The setting of the Strong National Museum of Play is significant for this conference because it is the first and only major museum in the world devoted to the study and interpretation of play. The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York (already home to the National Toy Hall of Fame and the world's most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, and other play-related artifacts) nearly doubled in size in 2006 to 282,000 square feet after a $37 million expansion.
Attendees at the conference will have an opportunity to tour the collections of the museum
in addition to having the benefit of free admission to the exhibitions. To encourage family participation, the Strong National Museum of Play will extend a 50 percent discount to family members accompanying attendees (an adult needs to accompany visitors under 17). Rochester
is also an attractive destination for American Studies students and scholars because
of famed material and visual cultural institutions, such as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Genesee Country Village and Museum, Susan B. Anthony House, Mount Hope Cemetery, and the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester. Significant nearby attractions include the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, Corning Museum of Glass, Hill Cumorah-Mormon Historical Site, Sonnenberg Gardens Mansion State Historic Park, and the Jell-O Gallery. The setting of the Strong National Museum of Play is also significant in its representation of the collaboration of public heritage professionals, academic institutions, and community scholars that has been a priority of the sponsoring organizations. The organizers especially want to encourage opportunities for exchanges among
public and academic sectors and lively discussions among participants on the theme of play. It
is a theme, the organizers want to emphasize, that merits interpretive work characteristic of American Studies as play affects significant aspects of American life and letters, including public
policy, education, family and human development, environment, and media.

For more information, contact Simon J. Bronner at
Simon J. Bronner, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor of American Studies
and Folklore
Coordinator, American Studies Program
Director, Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies
The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057-4898
717-948-6039 (o)
717-948-6724 (fax)