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British Association for American Studies


HOTCUS Winter Symposium - 1963: A Watershed Year? - British Association for American Studies


HOTCUS Winter Symposium - 1963: A Watershed Year?

1963: A Watershed Year?

HOTCUS Winter Symposium, February 24, 2023 

Rothermere American Institute, Oxford

Keynote Speaker: Dr Nick Witham, UCL Institute of the Americas

Call for Papers

The 2023 HOTCUS Winter Symposium provides a fitting occasion to reflect upon 1963, often described as a watershed year that shaped the direction of the 1960s and beyond. Several social movements gained momentum in 1963, including the civil rights movement, which received significant national coverage in Birmingham, Alabama and at the later March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published the same year, and is often interpreted as a key spark in the evolution of Second Wave Feminism. In June 1963, the secularization of public education received a significant push through the Supreme Court decision that banned Bible readings in public schools. Meanwhile, as Americans mourned the death of JFK and W.E.B. Du Bois, the Cold War context shifted in response to a ban on American travel and financial transactions in Cuba and the Senate ratification of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The United States’s backing of the military coup in South Vietnam in 1963 paved the ground for a conflict that would shape the global 1960s.

In this one-day conference, we seek to bring together historians of the twentieth-century United States to consider the significance and interconnectedness of 1963, with a particular emphasis on issues of race, science, religion, foreign policy, gender, sexuality, the arts and popular culture. The sheer range of important events indicated above ensures a diverse range of historical approaches and directions. However, we ask that those interested in contributing to the conference reflect upon the cross currents identified in this CFP, and consider any planned papers as a contribution to a conversation about both the year in question and the wider historical concepts of “watershed” years and anniversaries. We are hoping to develop an edited collection or journal special issue with interested presenters, so please do let us know if this is something that interests you when applying to present at the conference.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday November 30, 2022. 

Interested presenters should submit a 300 word summary of their proposed paper to, detailing the paper’s coverage, argument, and contribution to the wider conference themes. Please also include a brief CV and contact information. Please note that we are accepting individual papers only for this symposium, not panels.

Please direct any questions to the symposium organisers Megan Hunt ( and Uta Balbier ( 

HOTCUS is dedicated to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will give preference to papers and panels that reflect the diversity of our field in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and institutional affiliation. When developing panels, we will also give preference to panels that include a mix of participants from across the career spectrum (i.e., from postgraduate to professor). Historically women have been disproportionately underrepresented at HOTCUS, and the committee is taking positive action, as permitted under s.158 Equality Act 2010, to enable and encourage the participation of women. HOTCUS may constitute an all-male panel or other presentation where absolutely necessary (but any such consideration will be other than via the call for papers procedure).