American Islands: Outposts of Security, Prosperity, and Culture

Country: Netherlands

City: Middelburg

Abstr. due: 15.01.2019

Dates: 22.05.19 — 22.05.19

Area Of Sciences: History and archeology;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Roosevelt Institute for American Studies


Throughout the twentieth century, the United States has built what historian Daniel Immerwahr has defined as a “pointillist empire” consisting of an intricate web of incorporated territories, islands, and overseas bases. Expandable from a territorial point of view, these possessions have nevertheless served as fundamental springboards for the worldwide projection of American military, economic and cultural hegemony. As Brooke Blower has put it, “the United States has always been at heart a nation of outposts.”

This conference aims to further investigate how the many “little Americas” spread all over the world – broadly conceived as military or economic enclaves, missionary communities, research and cultural centers, etc. – have actively disseminated typical elements of the American lifestyle, acted as unofficial ambassadors, supported the expansion of American businesses, exported the linchpins of American culture, and simultaneously challenged the traditional class, gender, racial, and power relationships of their surroundings.

The conveners would like to discuss papers that, by adopting a bottom-up approach, may assess the overall socio-economic, cultural, environmental or political impact of such American outposts. The permeable insularity of these American communities overseas has indeed alternatively favored the promotion of, smoothened the adaptation to, or spurred the resistance against American visions of peace, stability and progress. For this reason, the conference invites scholars to reflect on the polysemous nature of American security and prosperity as a core component of the ethos of the American Century, as a crucial element of modern globalization, and as a catalyst for contacts and exchanges between different cultural heritages.

Conference Web-Site: