AASLH 2023 Conference Call for Papers


This article originally appeared on the AASLH website.

The preamble to the United States Constitution, begins with the phrase “We, the People…” This phrase has become synonymous with the definition of an American identity. Despite its inclusive appearance “We, the People” was employed as an exclusionary tactic. The phrase indicated an incorporation into a larger American identity while, for generations, ignoring significant groups of people who contributed to, sustained, and influenced American society. Today, “We, the People” has evolved into an inclusive statement of the history and experiences of people within in the United States.

The 2023 conference theme “I, too, am America” is inspired by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes’s 1926 poem “I, Too” where he stakes his claim on the evolving promise of an inclusive nation by stating “I, too, am America.”  His demand tests the promise of the preamble. His poem demonstrates that, despite the country’s segregated society and exclusion of Blacks from the American identity, as a Black man, Hughes was also an American. The 2023 AASLH Annual Conference theme draws on the broadening concept of American identity that is found in Making History At 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial. Read more...