Fall 2023 Conference Call for Papers

Fall 2023 Conference Call for Papers

Call for Papers

“Miss America and Pageantry: Gowns, Crowns, & Contradictions”
Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey
September 29, 2023


With this conference, we hope to generate public and scholarly conversations about the complex social, cultural and political meanings of Miss America and other pageants, and to showcase Rowan’s Miss America digital archive.

We are planning a one-day conference with 2-3 panel sessions, a keynote speaker with lunch, a “poster session” including both physical and digital posters, and a student work showcase. It will be both streamed and in-person. 

As scholars, we come here neither to praise the beauty pageant, nor to bury it. Our intention is to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding of this American institution. We especially hope to:

  • highlight perspectives from people and groups traditionally excluded from pageantry
  • integrate the history of mainstream pageants such as Miss America with nontraditional pageants (Black, indigenous, queer, etc)
  • explore the dialectic between pageant organizers, participants, and critics
  • interrogate the competition’s impact, as a largely female-organized institution focused on female participants, on women’s social, cultural, and political status
  • explore pageantry through theatrical, performance, and artistic lenses

We invite papers and posters or digital project entries from all disciplinary backgrounds:

Communications studies
Women and gender studies
Cultural studies
Theatre and performance studies

Papers may be on any topic related to pageants with a United States or international focus. Scholars, teachers, professionals, grad students, and others are invited to submit and attend. 

Presentations will be delivered in person (virtual presentations may be possible in certain circumstances); attendees may attend in person or virtually. 

Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes in length and delivered in English. Individual paper or poster proposals should consist of an abstract (not exceeding 300 words) and an 80-100 word bio in a single Word or PDF file. Panel proposals should include abstracts for 3-4 papers, a brief rationale that connects the papers (100-200 words), and biographies of each participant (80-100 words) in a single pdf or Word file. Please indicate if one of you will serve as panel chair. Successful panel proposals will include participants from more than one institution, and, ideally, a mix of disciplines/fields and career stages.