The ‘invisible hand’ of the market, an idea first coined by enlightenment philosopher Adam Smith, has become a fundamental principle for advocates of free market capitalism. Smith’s famous turn of phrase disembodies the sensations of sight and touch, but by restoring their primacy in the workshop’s title, his metaphor acquires new possibilities for tracing the influence of the market on works of art. Far from neutral or natural creations, markets – like artworks – are forms that are always composed and manipulated according to the interests of their makers. This one-day workshop will seek to identify the traces of market capitalism on American art, exploring how the operation of the market might help us understand its forms and ideas, and the social ends that art serves.

The event will bring together papers that do not simply seek to describe the operation of the markets within which American art has been circulated and exchanged but also identify its visual and theoretical expressions. How did, for instance, the scale or materiality of works of art concretise their entanglement in economic systems? How might the dynamics of supply and demand, boom and bust, or other market cycles be apparent within particular artistic practices? How did writers and curators absorb the principles of the market in its approaches to the history of American art? What were the transnational ramifications of these intersections between art and economics? The workshop will be focused on American art of the postwar period but relevant research concerning other periods will be also be considered.

Papers might consider issues such as:
·        Dynamics of supply and demand
·        Taste, fashion and the cycles of the market
·        Collecting as investment, speculation and/or hoarding
·        Taxation, tariffs and trade regulation and the work of art
·        Economies of making and selling art (outsourcing, artificial scarcity etc.)
·        Markets, marketing and creation of artistic value
·        Studio-gallery-museum distribution systems
·        Art world competition, protection and monopolies

Presented as part of the Tate Research initiative Refiguring American Art, proposals are encouraged from art history, American studies, history, economics and other fields exploring the histories of capitalism.

Abstracts due 23 October 2015
Speakers notified by 30 October 2015
Papers should be 15–20 minutes in length.

To propose a paper, please email an abstract of 200 words or less and a 50-word biography in a single Word document to by 23 October 2015.

The workshop is one of a series of independent but related events being planned by Maggie Cao (Columbia University), Sophie Cras (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Alex J. Taylor (Tate) that are intended to explore economics as an emerging field of art historical inquiry. For more information email

The Department of History at the University of Southampton invites applications to a Lectureship (Level 4) in Modern History (Nineteenth-Century America), with special reference to the histories of the American Civil War, slavery, abolition and reconstruction. This post is available from 1 January 2016 on a fixed-term basis, for two years in the first instance.

You will join a vibrant team of more than forty permanent academic staff, with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research (ranked 3 in REF 2014). Situated within the Faculty of Humanities, our interdisciplinary research centres include the Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies, the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research, and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations. (For further information, see our website at

You must have completed or be near to completing a PhD in Modern History and show a developing profile of international excellence in research and publications, together with potential for attracting research funding. You will undertake research-led teaching at all levels of the Faculty’s History programmes, have the opportunity to contribute to the design and teaching of new modules in History, and play an active role in our administrative team.

The successful applicant will be required to take up this post on 1 January 2016.

Further enquiries should be addressed to Professor Sarah Pearce: email   or Dr Christer Petley: email


Application Procedure: You should submit your completed online application form The application deadline will be midnight on 9 October 2015. If you need any assistance, please call Maxine Parker (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0)23 8059 3784.

Please quote reference 619015F4 on all correspondence.

The Department of Languages, Literature and Communication at Utrecht University is seeking to appoint two full-time Associate Professors (UHD) who will contribute to the teaching and research activities of English Language and Literature, a subject area which is based in its own Section within the Department.

·       You will have expertise in any aspect of English Literature, Literary Studies or Cultural History within the Modern period (broadly speaking, 1750 to the present day). A demonstrable interest in some aspect of American Literature, Translation Studies, or the Departmental research area Literature and Media Technology, may be advantageous to your application.
·        You will be an energetic and inspiring colleague, and will make a major contribution to English Studies at undergraduate level.
·        You will also be expected to play a crucial role in the development and introduction of a new MA Programme, ‘Literature Today’, as well as to participate in the Research MA Programme, ‘Comparative Literary Studies’.
·        You will conduct research in your specialism at an internationally recognised level, and have a demonstrable potential in attracting sources of funding in this area.
·        You will become an active member of The Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON), the Faculty’s research centre, and participating in its Literature research group.
·        You will (co-)supervise PhD projects.
·        You may also assist with the delivery of some language proficiency courses (including translation) and introductory courses on English and / or American cultures.
·        You will be required to undertake other duties, administrative or otherwise, such as may reasonably be required.

·        A PhD in a relevant field;
·        Fully fluent in English to near-native standard (oral and written);
·        Teaching experience in English Studies at university level;
·        Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to empathize with students;
·        Ability to work in a team and to contribute to collegiality;
·        A track record of research and publication (including evidence of publications currently under review with peer-reviewed and internationally recognized journals)
·        Experience of submitting grant applications;
·        Experience of postgraduate teaching;
·        Experience of postgraduate research supervision.

Utrecht University strives for excellence in teaching and study performance. This also holds for the clearly defined research profiles with respect to four core themes: Dynamics of Youth, Life Sciences, Institutions and Sustainability. Utrecht University has a strong commitment to community outreach and contributes to answering the social questions of today and tomorrow.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 7,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

For further information you can contact prof. dr. T.J.M. Sanders, Head of the Department of Languages Literature and Communication, or prof. dr. D.A. Pascoe, Head of the English Section, 0031-030-253 5219, email or

The closing date for applications is 20 September 2015. Applications are online at:


American women ghost stroiesDara Downey lectures at University College Dublin. In American Women’s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age (Palgrave, 2014), she explores how closely late nineteenth-century American women’s ghost stories engaged with objects such as photographs, mourning paraphernalia, wallpaper and humble domestic furniture. Featuring uncanny tales that range from the big city to the small town and the empty prairie, she offers a new perspective on an old genre. Rather than seeing the spectres that stalk the pages of women’s writing in Gilded-Age America as mere hallucinations or signs of mental disturbance, Downey examines the unusual motif of haunted houses without ghosts. Rarely appearing as ghosts, the dead women in the tales studied here hide away in the patters of furniture and wallpaper, offering a radical critique of the male gaze that reduced female bodies to alluring objects. Covering murderous nightcaps, haunted boarding houses and spectral china closets, it allows the object matter of the ghost story to, almost literally, come out of the closet.

To find out more, or to buy a copy, click on the book cover.


P1040942 (00000002)

contemp am trauma narrAlan Gibbs is lecturer in American Literature at University College Cork. His Contemporary American Trauma Narratives, which won the IAAS’s 2015 Peggy O’Brien Book Prize, examines the representation of trauma in contemporary American fiction and non-fiction. The book looks at the way writers present the effects of trauma in their work and challenges dominant and widespread assumptions about literary representations of trauma. It explores a range of narrative devices, as well as events in contemporary America, including 9/11, the Iraq War, and reactions to the Bush administration. Contemporary American authors who are discussed in depth include Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Tim O’Brien, Mark Danielewski, Art Spiegelman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Anthony Swofford, Evan Wright, Paul Auster, Philip Roth and Michael Chabon. Contemporary American Trauma Narratives offers a timely and dissenting intervention into debates about American writers’ depiction of trauma and its after-effects.

A timely and important book, richly deserving of the Peggy O’Brien Book Prize, Contemporary American Trauma Narratives is published by Edinburgh University Press, and is available here.


Call for Papers for the 1st International Virtual Conference on Cultural Studies on the topic of  “Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies: Sites and Insights” to be held from January 15 – 17, 2016

The conference is organized by North American Literary and Cultural Studies at Saarland University (Germany) and Black Sea State University (Ukraine). 

Registration and Abstract Submission Deadline: September 10, 2015

Full Paper Submission Deadline: October 31, 2015

This virtual conference focuses on collaborative transnational cultural studies and wants to investigate how encounters with the English language and ‘American culture’ have shaped European identities. Sites of these encounters span literary and cultural texts (e.g. novels, short stories, plays, films, TV series), corporate mass culture (e.g. Social Networks, technological products or fashion items) as well as countercultural phenomena (e.g. social movements). ‘America’ in this project is an object of study that functions as a cultural process of translation. The primary research question is to examine how the signifier ‘America’ functions as an intermediary in the production of transnational civic European cultures.

The conference will gather researchers from universities, colleges and companies from all around the globe. The event will connect different cultures and knowledge, thus contributing to the improvement of intercultural communication and research skills.

 For more information, see:

Contact us at:

Selected papers will be published in a conference proceedings.

There is no participation fee.

Associate Lecturer A: Modern and Contemporary Literature

Birkbeck College, University of London – Teaching

Purpose and Main Duties

This is an exciting opportunity to join our teaching teams on the BA English, the MA Contemporary Literature and Culture and the MA Modern and Contemporary Literature in the School of Arts at Birkbeck.

We are currently looking for a part-time fixed term Associate Lecturer A to teach on a number of modules beginning October 2015 as maternity leave cover.

The postholder will teach a variety of modules encompassing British, American and postcolonial modern and contemporary literature, at BA and MA level. Modules might include the BA core course The Novel, BA options like The ‘American Century’ and Beyond: US Literature and Culture since 1900, British Literature 1945-79, and the MA core course Postwar to Contemporary Literature. The postholder may also supervise BA and MA dissertation students.

Responsibilities will include giving lectures, leading seminars, administration and assessment of the module. The role may also involve the convening of some modules. You will deliver teaching to Birkbeck students, in order to enable them to complete their studies successfully and undertake all related course administrative duties as required.

All teaching takes place within the Department of English and Humanities’ evening timetable, between 6pm and 9pm, and may occur in the autumn, spring and summer terms.

Candidate Requirements

In addition to the job requirements outlined on the role profile the minimum requirements for selection are as follows:

  • A Masters degree in English/American literature or an equivalent qualification with specific subject knowledge of literature;
  • A demonstrable knowledge and understanding of the key historical and theoretical frameworks that inform the field of literary studies;
  • Relevant teaching experience teaching in literature, American studies, and/or the arts at HE level;
  • A good understanding of the needs of part-time adult learners with an ability to relate well to their individual needs and engage their interest and enthusiasm;
  • Experience of marking and assessment at HE level;
  • Demonstrably effective communication, interpersonal and presentation skills across a range of relevant contexts;
  • A working knowledge of IT including word, excel, email and experience of/ willingness to use a virtual learning environment (Moodle);
  • Able to work both as part of a team and independently as appropriate;
  • Willingness to engage in reflective practice.

Please note: Candidates will need to demonstrate competence or significant potential in all areas.

In addition it is desirable that candidates have:

  • A PhD qualification in a relevant area;
  • Significant experience in teaching adults from a wide range of backgrounds on open access courses (particularly in HE);
  • Experience in teaching literature/American studies at MA level;
  • A Teaching Qualification.

Further Information

Informal enquiries on the role can be made to Dr Anna Hartnell via email to however please note that only completed formal applications through the online system will be considered.

Remuneration: Payment is based on an hourly rate dependent upon length of continuous service with the College (starting rate £55.65 per hour inclusive pro-rata London Allowance and holiday pay) for contact hours worked.

The IAAS is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2015 WTM Riches Essay Prize is Ciarán Kavanagh, a Masters student at University College Cork. The WTM Riches Prize is an annual prize, was established in 2004 to recognise and reward high-quality work being done by younger scholars in many of the areas that are covered by the term “American Studies,” including history, politics, literature, film, geography, the visual arts, architecture, and cultural / critical theory.

In a particularly impressive field of essays, all of which were deemed by the judges to be excellent and thoroughly enjoyable, Ciarán’s essay, “Diagnosing Kurt Vonnegut: A Response to Susanne Vees-Gulani on the Subject of Slaughterhouse-Five”, was commended for its clear and strongly articulated argument. In particular, the judges noted its close reading alongside a subtle critique of the way in which psychiatric categories are applied to literary tropes.

Wishing to acknowledge the high quality of the essays submitted, the judges also wish to give honourable mentions to the following students: Luke Monaghan (University College Dublin), for his informed and strongly conceived essay on Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative; Kelsie Donnelly (Queen’s University Belfast) for her cogent and contextually sophisticated reading of Don DeLillo’s Point Omega; and Martha Hegarty (University College Cork) for her polished and adeptly contextualised essay on works by Willem de Kooning. Congratulations to all concerned.

The prize of €100 in book vouchers (as well as the chance to revise the essay for publication in the Irish Journal of American Studies) will be awarded at the IAAS Postgraduate Symposium, held at the Clinton Institute on the 28th November.

The October Dialogues 2015: Black Lives Matter

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Movement and the 50th anniversary of the UK Race Relations Act, during Black History Month, please join the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (University of Nottingham), Bright Ideas Nottingham, the Monitoring Group and Nottingham Contemporary for The October Dialogues 2015:

Black Lives Matter: The Past, Present and Future of an International Movement for Rights and Justice

Nottingham Contemporary, The Space
October 28, 2015

Plus an evening of Hip Hop performance and dialogues featuring Akala and activist-scholars Dr. Monica Miller and Dr. James Peterson (Lehigh University) (6.30-9pm).

Stephen Lawrence. Eric Garner. Mark Duggan. Michael Brown. Sean Rigg. Trayvon Martin. Olaseni Lewis. Freddie Gray. Kingsley Burrell. Oscar Grant. Smiley Culture. Mya Hall. Cynthia Jarrett. Tamir Rice. Julian Cole. Tony Robinson. Cherry Groce. Walter Scott. Colin Roach. Rodney King. Demetre Fraser. Sandra Bland. Azelle Rodney. #SayTheirNames #ICantBreathe #HandsUpDontShoot #BlackLivesMatter

The rallying calls of a new movement have spread across the US and the UK. There have been around 1000 Black Lives Matter protests worldwide in the last two years, including in at least 10 UK cities. There are now 30 Black Lives Matter chapters across the United States. The movement responds to the oppression, violence and exclusion that shapes black lives: in the US, 42% of black children are educated in high-poverty schools, black Americans are 37% of the country’s homeless population, constitute nearly half of the 2 million jail population, and are 26% of those killed by police (though are 13% of the population). In the UK, black children are more than twice as likely as white children to be living in poverty, black people are six times as likely as whites to be stopped and searched, are more likely to go to jail when convicted of similar crimes and will serve longer sentences, are twice as likely to be not in employment, education or training, and are more likely to be forcibly restrained when held under mental health legislation. “I Can’t Breathe” evokes the suffocating daily reality of all these statistics.

A series of panels featuring activists and researchers will explore the roots, dynamics and possible futures of #BlackLivesMatter. Is it a movement or a moment? A transatlantic or an American phenomenon? How does it operate on local, regional, national or international levels? Does it have a leader? What characterises its rhetoric, visual culture and philosophies? Is it a new civil rights movement, a new Black Power movement or a new black feminism? Did Black Lives Matter bring down the Confederate flag? Push President Obama to speak with a new voice? What is its protest heritage—does it draw from the lessons, tactics and legacies of anti-slavery, anti-lynching, the Black Panthers, Anti-Apartheid, or other movements? Is there a usable past for Black Lives Matter and what is that protest memory in the U.S. and UK? What should #BlackLivesMatterUK be about? What is the history of Black Lives Matter since the UK Race Relations Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of 50 years ago, and where is Black Lives Matter going next?

Please send a 200-word abstract on these or related topics and a short biographical note to by August 24. Panels will be announced by the end of August. In particular we welcome presentations by postgraduate and early-career researchers (within 5 years of the PhD). Funding will cover UK travel and accommodation for presenters, and registration is free.

Supported by the British Academy

Journal of American Drama and Theatre


Alt Inq: Scientific Research and Inquiry in American Theatre


Deadline: 1 December 2015


The American Theatre and Drama Society invites submissions for the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Membership in ATDS is not required for submission of an article, but submissions from ATDS members are especially encouraged.

This special issue explores forms of research and inquiry offered by theatre in the United States and throughout the Americas and its scholarship in the age of STEM. The dominance of these disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—is driven both by economic exigencies and underlying ideological assumptions about what constitutes valuable research and inquiry. What challenges and opportunities does this historical moment present for theatre to reassert its relevance and necessity? How does it engage in alternative forms of inquiry? How does scholarship aid theatre, both by bringing theatre’s forms of inquiry into view or engaging in such inquiry itself? Can alternative forms of inquiry close the gap between practice and analysis in the arts and humanities, and counter claims that research occurs only in STEM disciplines?

Questions authors may pursue include but are not limited to:

  • How do plays or other performance texts address the STEM disciplines? How do they depict science in action or under discussion?
  • Should theatre offer an ethical perspective on STEM research that claims to be value free?
  • How have historical or current theatrical productions, alternate performance platforms, or pedagogy integrated the STEM disciplines?
  • What does performance as research (PAR) or practice as research (PaR), and scholarship supporting such forms of inquiry, contribute to debates over the value of creative-arts research?
  • How do the STEM disciplines incorporate performance techniques? (e.g. standardized patients programs used to train medical doctors)
  • How do federal and state initiatives and policies affect the development of inquiry in theatre and performance? In colleges and universities? In conservatory or studio programs?
  • How does STEM put transnational pressure on theatre and performance inquiry throughout the Americas?

Manuscripts (5000-7000 words) should be prepared in conformity with the Chicago Manual of Style, using endnotes, and submitted as attachments in Microsoft Word format. All correspondence will be conducted by e-mail. Submissions must be received no later than 1 December 2015; please e-mail queries and articles to Iris Smith Fischer,

For more information about JADT, see

For more information about ATDS, see