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Call for Papers/Presentations: Second Annual Conference on Northern Illinois History and Cultural Heritage

Elaine Evans
/ Categories: General News

Call for Papers/Presentations: Second Annual Conference on Northern Illinois History and Cultural Heritage

NIU Libraries Regional History Center

Transnational Communities and Global Influences In/On Northern Illinois
Saturday April 20, 2024
Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb, Illinois

The Regional History Center at NIU Libraries invites proposals for papers, sessions, panels, and multi-media presentations for a conference exploring transnational communities and global influences in and on the history and cultural heritage of Northern Illinois. Transnational communities consist of groups and individuals who maintain familial, social, and economic ties across national borders and political jurisdictions. 

This often includes migrants and diasporic communities, but also encompasses groupings with common or overlapping commercial, ideological, and cultural interests. The Northern Illinois region has long been subject to global influences, particularly market forces, political conflict, and climatological factors that have historically precipitated waves of migration to and resettlement throughout the region. Conversely, Northern Illinois has exerted its own influence on a global level, mostly through industrial and agricultural production and innovation, but also through its cultural connections and geographic proximity to the greater Chicago area. The digital and social media revolutions have exponentially enhanced our ability to communicate on a global scale, offering groups and individuals limitless opportunities to shape their personalities and beliefs around ever-expanding vectors of identity unbeholden to any location.

This conference seeks to grapple with the question of how people and communities in Northern Illinois have adapted to these transnational trends in the past and how might they continue to function as globalism steadily advances, with both its benefits and detriments. We invite proposals from professionals and amateurs across disciplines that address the history of transnational communities and the many reciprocal global-local influences that continue to characterize the region. The conference organizers hope to engage a diverse audience of scholars, practitioners, students, hobbyists, community leaders, and others to examine the effects and implications of these phenomena. The presentation format is open and both group and individual session proposals will be considered. We welcome topics that include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Immigration, migration, and demographic patterns
  • Dominant cultures, subaltern cultures, and processes of assimilation
  • Transnationalism, nationalism, and citizenship
  • Labor and opportunity in the post-industrial global economy
  • Business, industry, and global markets
  • Indigenous history, culture, and knowledges
  • Suburban sprawl, rural contraction, and evolving land use
  • Race, justice, and diversifying communities
  • Gender, sexuality, and women’s history
  • Technology, climate change, and environmental history
  • Memory institutions, community identity, and storytelling
  • Historiography trends, gaps, and discourses
  • Teaching about transnational communities and global influences in Northern Illinois at the elementary, secondary, and college levels
  • Historic people, places, and events in regional popular culture or folklore
  • Institutional networks, historic tourism, and the heritage industry
  • Documenting and curating regional history

For the purpose of this conference, the Northern Illinois Region is defined by the NIU Regional History Center’s geographic collecting scope, which encompasses the northernmost counties in the state of Illinois outside of Cook County. Preference will be given to presenters and topics originating within this approximate geographic region. However, there is no residency requirement and topics outside of the geographic focus will be considered if the proposal aligns significantly with the other thematic elements of the conference.

Proposals should include contact information, presentation/paper title, and a 200-300 word abstract that describes your topic and how it will be presented. These can be submitted to Associate Professor Bradley J. Wiles at The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2024, and all individuals and groups submitting proposals will be notified with an acceptance decision by January 31, 2024.

Contact Information:
Assoc. Prof. Bradley J. Wiles, PhD
Northern Illinois University
Founders Memorial Library
217 Normal Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

Contact Email:

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