The IAAS Postgraduate Symposium
“The Land of the (Un)Free: Interrogating Democracy in America”
University College Cork
23
rd  November, 2019

Call for Roundtable Participants:

In addition to accepting proposals for traditional fifteen-minute papers at this year’s Irish Association for American Studies Postgraduate Symposium, we will host a roundtable session entitled ‘Inception, Evolution, Completion: Navigating PhD Research in American Studies’.

The objective of this roundtable is for final year or recently graduated PhD researchers to share experiences of how their research, particularly in contemporary studies, may have changed direction or evolved in light of cultural developments: for example, how the #MeToo movement has impacted projects in Gender Studies, or how the #BlackLivesMatter movement has affected research in African-American Studies.

This session is intended to foster inclusive and lively discussion amongst postgraduate and early career scholars in the IAAS community, whilst also offering prospective postgraduate students the unique opportunity to gain an insight into how the PhD process functions in a variety of interdisciplinary and institutional contexts.

We invite roundtable participants to submit a proposal, including a brief description of their research – from its inception, to its evolution, to its completion – and why they think it may be beneficial to share their experience (300 words), by Friday, 18th October 2019. Potential participants are invited to contact postgrad@iaas.ie to express their interest, or to ask any further questions they may have.

CFP: Alternative Realities: New Challenges for

American Literature in the Era of Trump

Friday 13 – Saturday 14 December 2019

Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin

 

Watching the televised debates between then-presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1959, and reflecting on the growth of televisual media and the gradual transformation of politics into spectacle, Philip Roth observed that “the American writer” was now challenged “to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality,” at a time when the actuality was “constantly outdoing our talents”. After the election of Donald Trump in 2016 it feels like, once again, reality is outpacing fiction, with the Trump presidency inaugurating a new stage in the process of aestheticization in which politics and entertainment converge as never before. This paradigm shift—which is not exclusive to the US, but that is especially acute given Trump’s celebrity status and his leadership style—has been sharpened by the disruptive impact of new and social media in the public sphere, bringing to the fore concomitant concerns about the derealization of political and cultural discourses. In a context where the relationship between fact and fiction has been deeply destabilized, writers are challenged to make sense of this new “American reality” that is troubling core assumptions about the purpose and value of literature.

This conference seeks to bring together scholars in literary studies and adjacent fields to consider literary responses to the new American realities.

We are delighted to confirm as Keynote Speakers:

Aleksandar Hemon

novelist and short-story writer, author of Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project

Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University

 

Karen E. Bender

novelist and short-story writer, author of RefundThe New Order, Like Normal People

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University

 

Chris Beckett

novelist and short-story writer, author of America City and Dark Eden

Arthur C. Clark Award winner 2013

 

Topics may include (but are not confined to):

  • Narrative strategies and innovations in the literary representation of American reality
  • Intersections between fiction and non-fiction
  • Fictional subversions of the “real”
  • The valence of realism in contemporary American literature
  • Literary criticism in the age of “Fake News”
  • Politics of representation, dissent, and resistance
  • Genre and gender in contemporary American fiction(s)
  • Diasporic, minority, immigrant, and Native American literatures
  • Right-wing/conservative American literature
  • The resurgence of American protest poetry
  • The currency of dystopian and counterfactual literature
  • The role of irony, satire and parody in the era of Trump
  • The demands of writing the contemporary
  • Reading publics/audiences and the role of fiction
  • Shifting economies in the publishing industry
  • The currency of prior literature for making sense of the present

Please submit the paper title, an abstract of 300 words and a short bio to dolores.resano@ucd.ie and catherine.carey@ucd.ie . We also welcome applications for full panels of 3-4 papers. We will soon update information on our website, but don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

The deadline for paper and panel proposals has been extended to 1st October 2019. Registration fee for participants is €120, reduced fee of €50 for postgrad students.

The IAAS Postgraduate Symposium
“The Land of the (Un)Free: Interrogating Democracy in America”
University College Cork
23
rd  November, 2019

This year, the Irish Association for American Studies Postgraduate Symposium welcomes proposals for papers that interrogate Democracy in America – in how it is constructed, understood, and the extent to which it is successfully enacted. Inspired by current events and political trends within the United States, from the strict abortion laws imposed in Alabama in February, to the on-going humanitarian crisis at the U.S.- Mexico Border, we seek papers that engage with and respond to the paradoxical relationship between the American ideal of democracy, and the actual practice of that democracy. We invite papers that consider the gulf between democratic principles and fundamentally unconstitutional behaviours, with a particular emphasis placed upon undemocratic and authoritarian actions that have both historically shaped America and continue to resurge in the Trump era.

 

“The Land of the (Un)Free: Interrogating Democracy in America” is a one-day interdisciplinary symposium that seeks to provide an opportunity for Postgraduate Students and Early Career Scholars to share their ideas and contribute their individual voices to the inclusive academic community of American Studies across the island of Ireland.

 

We welcome proposals for fifteen-minute papers which engage with the concept of democracy within the field of American Studies, encompassing Continental American perspectives (Canada and South America) as well as those related to the United States. Proposed topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

 

  • Representations of American democracy, American people, and American culture in literature and film
  • Historical insights and social/political considerations regarding democracy and attacks on democracy, political polarization and democracy
  • New perspectives on Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America 
  • The relationship between American exceptionalism and democracy
  • Philosophical conceptions of democracy and their application in the U.S. context
  • Explorations of democracy in American music, comics, popular culture
  • Issues of gender, sexuality, class & race in relation to American democracy
  • Democracy in visual culture

 

The deadline for submissions is Monday, 30th September 2019. Proposals for papers should include a title, an abstract (max. 300 words), and a short biography. For more information, or to submit a proposal, please email postgrad@iaas.ie

Throughout the history of the United States, various media have been employed as mediums of national and international communication. From presidents, to journalists, to civil rights organisations and beyond, visual, textual, and sound media have provided modes by which groups and individuals have conveyed their ideas, beliefs, and understandings about the U.S. Whether it be books, photographs, paintings, music, films, or a president’s ramblings on Twitter, conflicting and complimentary forms of media have helped make meaning of the “American experience.”

Throughout the centuries, events occurring within the United States have captured the attention of both domestic and overseas audiences. Neo-colonial expansion, the Black Freedom Struggle, and America’s wars – along with contemporary issues including Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and anti-abortion legislation – have inspired local, country-wide, and transnational commentary. Different media genres have played and continue to play a vital role in the diffusion of news and opinions to the nation and to the world. In the fitting setting of the British Library – which houses collections ranging from George III’s personal library, to multi-media sources such as image and sound archives – this conference seeks to understand how the United States has been communicated across mediums and across borders.

The 2019 BAAS Postgraduate Conference invites participants from all disciplines and fields to explore media forms produced by and about America and Americans, both historically and in the present day. How has the United States been described to itself and to the world, and how have internal and overseas citizens responded? How have scholars, activists, politicians, soldiers, or artists sought to represent themselves through different mediums? How have media cultures been utilised by social movements as an agent of change or for the status quo? How has the digital age altered America’s relationship with media forms? What is the role of international actors and networks in cultivating the image of America? This conference invites an interdisciplinary approach to the employment of media as a mode of communication.

Potential topics for papers and panels include, but are not limited to:

  • Print and visual culture
  • Theatre, music, and performance
  • Film and television
  • Journalism and photojournalism
  • Digital and social medias
  • Race and racism
  • Ethnicity, migration, and diaspora
  • Protest, activism, and social movements
  • Dynamics of gender, sex, and sexuality
  • Issues of class and labour
  • Domestic and international identities
  • Images and imaginings of America
  • Indigenous communities
  • Religion and belief
  • Environmental and climate studies
  • Memory, memorialisation, and commemoration
  • Vast Early America

Abstracts for individual papers should be no more than 300 words. Panel proposals should include details of each individual paper, along with a panel description. All submissions are to include the speaker’s name, institutional affiliation, email address, and a short biographical profile. The deadline for submissions is Sunday 8th September. Please submit all applications to baaspgrconference2019@gmail.com

BAAS is dedicated to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will give preference to panels that reflect the diversity of our field in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and institutional affiliation. Historically women have been disproportionately underrepresented on panels and BAAS is taking positive action, as permitted under s.158 Equality Act 2010, to enable and encourage the participation of women. For this reason all-male panel proposals will not be accepted. BAAS 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).

Travel bursaries will be available along with subsidies to support your own childcare provision. Please complete the funding application form, and submit it along with your proposal, if you wish to be considered.

Follow us on Twitter: @baaspgr2019

Call for Papers: The Heidelberg Centre for American Studies

The 17th HCA Spring Academy on American Culture, Economics, Geography, History, Literature, Politics and Religion will be held from March 23-27, 2020. The HCA invites applications for this one-week annual conference that provides twenty international PhD students with the opportunity to present and discuss their PhD subjects.

 

The HCA Spring Academy will also offer participants the chance to work closely in their respective fields of study. For this purpose, workshops held by visiting scholars will be held throughout the week.

 

We encourage applications that range broadly across the arts, humanities and social sciences and pursue an interdisciplinary approach. Papers can be presented on any subject related to the study of the United States of America. Possible topics include American identity, issues of ethnicity, gender, transatlantic relations, U.S. domestic and foreign policy, economics, as well as various aspects of American history, literature, religion, geography, law, musicology, and culture.

 

Participants are requested to prepare a 20 minute presentation of their research project, which will be followed by a 40 minute discussion. Proposals should include a preliminary title and run to no more than 300 words. These will be arranged into ten panel groups.

 

In addition to cross-disciplinary and international discussions during the panel sessions, the Spring Academy aims to create a a pleasant collegial atmosphere for further scholarly exchange and contact.

 

Accommodation will be provided by the Heidelberg Centre for American Studies.

 

Thanks to a small travel fund, the Spring Academy is able to subsidise travel expenses for participants registered and residing in developing and soft-currency countries. Scholarship applicants will need to document the necessity for financial aid, and explain how they plan to cover any potentially remaining expenses. In addition, a letter of recommendation from their doctoral supervisor is required.

 

Start of Application Process: 15th August 2019

Deadline for Applications: 15th November 2019

Selections will be made by: January 2020

Please use our online application system: www.hca-springacademy.de

 

For more information, please see www.hca.uni-heidelberg.de

For further questions: ibahmann@hca.uni-heidelberg.de

Call for Papers

Crossing the Atlantic:  Visual Culture at the Crossroads of Ireland and the United States

Americans who travelled to Ireland, many compelled by familial connections, developed rich relationships with Irish artists that led to cultural exchange between the two countries, while social and political unrest in Ireland prompted Irish artists to leave their homeland, and that migration resulted in cultural exchange as well.

One of the best known examples, Irish painter John Yeats and Irish American art collector John Quinn facilitated cultural exchange between the two countries in the early twentieth century, including the advancement of Irish painting and design in America. In addition to his friendship with John Yeats, Quinn developed close ties with his children, including Jack Yeats, one of Ireland’s most celebrated painters and designers Elizabeth and Lily Yeats.  But there is much more yet to be explored by scholars in this area of study.

Thus, we are seeking articles for an anthology that will focus on Irish/American transcultural exchange as it relates to visual culture.  For this project, visual culture is being defined broadly to include the visual arts, images from popular culture, material culture, and craft.  If interested, please contact Cynthia Fowler at email:  fowlecy@emmanuel.edu.  A one-page abstract that describes your project should be sent by September 15, 2019.

Edith Wharton’s New York

A conference sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society

New Yorker Hotel

June 17th-20th 2020

 

Please join the Edith Wharton Society for its upcoming conference marking the centennial anniversary of the publication of Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, The Age of Innocence. We will celebrate this momentous year in New York, the setting not only of so many of Wharton’s works but also of much of her life.

While all topics are welcome, we are particularly interested in whole panels and individual papers that focus on New York as a geographical and thematic element in Wharton’s life and works. Papers could explore the role of New York City and/or the Hudson River Valley in Wharton’s works, Wharton’s own history with the region, or Wharton’s relationship to place and space more generally. Papers that offer new readings of The Age of Innocence—such as new historical approaches or legacies of The Age of Innocence, the novel’s relationship to other works by Wharton and/or her peers, and adaptations of the novel (for film, theater, etc.)—are also welcome.

Since 1920 marks the beginning of what many consider the “later years” of Wharton’s career, examinations of Edith Wharton’s works in the shifting literary and political foundations of postWWI society are also of interest. The 20s mark the centennial of other significant Wharton texts, and essays that examine these later works are of particular interest.

In addition, there will be a keynote speaker and opportunities for tours of local attractions. Further details forthcoming.

We welcome submissions for full panels of 4-5 participants and roundtables of 6-7 participants as well as individual paper submissions. Please submit proposals no later than August 1st, 2019 to whartonnewyork@gmail.com

For full panel and roundtable proposals, please submit 200-350-word summaries of each presentation included in the panel or roundtable as well as a brief 50-word bio and A/V requests for each presenter.

For individual paper proposals, please submit a 350-500-word abstract, a brief 50-word bio, and A/V requests as one Word document.

All conference participants must be members of the Edith Wharton Society at the time of registration.

For additional information, contact co-directors at email address above or individually:

Margaret Toth (Meg), Manhattan College margaret.toth@manhattan.edu

Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), University of Alabama at Birmingham mjjessee@uab.edu

 

Narratives of (Un)sustainability: Assessing U.S. Oil Culture

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon

Until newly-elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez propelled the “Green New Deal” into the public discourse following the 2018 midterm elections, ecological issues had remained largely absent in American political debate and agenda. Unsurprisingly, the US emerges as a longstanding contributor to the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, one of the leading causes of climate change. The holder of one of the most important carbon footprints, the US ranks among the most unsustainable states. If the “American way of life” were to be replicated on a worldwide scale, its rate of resource consumption and waste production would require close to five planets to sustain itself. Since the end of WWII, the US has accumulated a colossal ecological debt at the expense of future generations, whose access to natural wealth is substantially jeopardized, and developing economies, which rely on a much lower resource supply.

Climate disruption is a symptom of this socio-economic matrix of unsustainability and of the unclaimed “check” or hidden cost of the US and other countries’ dysfunctional modes of existence. Specifically, unsustainability results from the harmful triad consisting of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), a high-energy society, and economic growth. The refusal to address pressing environmental issues by engaging the country in broad, systemic changes (for instance through a national plan for a fossil fuel phase-out) attests to the pervasiveness of oil culture and its coterminous ideology of perpetual growth in American society. That being said, counter-narratives that seek other ways of relating to the environment and of living on earth’s rhythms have emerged in the past years (from the US itself and from elsewhere), and they offer an avenue for moving past the oil predicament.

With Prof. Stephanie LeMenager (University of Oregon, author of Living Oil: Petroleum in the American Century), an expert on America’s petroleum culture, as our keynote speaker, we would like to invite scholars from various disciplines to reflect on the narratives surrounding the US oil culture. We conceive of this conference as an opportunity to explore both ends of the spectrum: from narratives of how unsustainability fuels the oil culture by disseminating ideas such as the existence of inexhaustible abundance or the possibility of a technological “fix” to all environmental ailments, to narratives of sustainability that demonstrate how American culture could be changed through an awareness of the fundamental incompatibility between a politics of infinite growth and a finite biosphere.

Interested in presenting something? Please submit an abstract of 200–300 words and a biography of 100–200 words by 30 June 2019 to the conference organizers:

Audrey Loetscher@unil.ch

Agnieszka.SoltysikMonnet@unil.ch

Contributions should be twenty minutes in length, followed by approximately ten minutes of Q&A.

Please note that there is no conference fee.

Call for Papers

Alternative Realities: New Challenges for American Literature in the Era of Trump

Friday 13 – Saturday 14 December 2019

Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin

Watching the televised debates between then-presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1959, and reflecting on the growth of televisual media and the gradual transformation of politics into spectacle, Philip Roth observed that “the American writer” was now challenged “to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality,” at a time when the actuality was “constantly outdoing our talents”. After the election of Donald Trump in 2016 it feels like, once again, reality is outpacing fiction, with the Trump presidency inaugurating a new stage in the process of aestheticization in which politics and entertainment converge as never before. This paradigm shift—which is not exclusive to the US, but that is especially acute given Trump’s celebrity status and his leadership style—has been sharpened by the disruptive impact of new and social media in the public sphere, bringing to the fore concomitant concerns about the derealization of political and cultural discourses. In a context where the relationship between fact and fiction has been deeply destabilized, writers are challenged to make sense of this new “American reality” that is troubling core assumptions about the purpose and value of literature.

This conference seeks to bring together scholars in literary studies and adjacent fields to consider literary responses to the new American realities.

We are delighted to confirm as Keynote Speakers:

Aleksandar Hemon

novelist, author of Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project

Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University

 

Karen E. Bender

novelist and short-story writer, author of RefundThe New Order, Like Normal People

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University

 

Chris Beckett

novelist and short-story writer, author of America City and Dark Eden

Arthur C. Clark Award winner 2013

 Topics may include (but are not confined to):

  • Narrative strategies and innovations in the literary representation of American reality
  • Intersections between fiction and non-fiction
  • Fictional subversions of the “real”
  • The valence of realism in contemporary American literature
  • Literary criticism in the age of “Fake News”
  • Politics of representation, dissent, and resistance
  • Genre and gender in contemporary American fiction
  • Diasporic, minority, immigrant, and Native American literatures
  • Right-wing/conservative American literature
  • The resurgence of American protest poetry
  • The currency of dystopian and counterfactual literature
  • The role of irony, satire and parody in the era of Trump
  • The demands of writing the contemporary
  • Reading publics and the role of fiction
  • Shifting economies in the publishing industry
  • The currency of prior literature for making sense of the present

Please submit the paper title, an abstract of 300 words, a short bio and contact details to dolores.resano@ucd.ie and catherine.carey@ucd.ie. We also welcome applications for full panels of 3-4 papers. We will soon update information on www.ucdclinton.ie/, but don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

The deadline for paper and panel proposals is 1st September 2019. (Note – we will make decisions on paper/panel submissions on a rolling basis to help facilitate participant’s planning for conference attendance).

Call for Papers

Special issue: ‘Horrific bodies: Surveillance, screens and screams’ Edited by Susan Flynn, University of the Arts, London and Antonia Mackay, Oxford Brookes University

Body horror concerns narratives in which the corporeal uncanny is produced through the destruction or annihilation of the natural human body. The contemporary screen contains countless examples of horrified and terrified bodies; watched, tracked, analysed, transformed and degenerated, these ‘horrific’ bodies speak to the angst of the current social, cultural, political and technological world in which we reside. The practices of surveillance, both diegetic and non-diegetic, offer new versions of modern horror; while the horror genre itself has been generously theorized and analysed, its intersection with practices of surveillance opens up new avenues for discussion and the possibility for radical critique of representational systems. Surveillance, of and within horror narratives, offers a particular nuance to our readings of the genre, and the critique of surveillance itself may help us to excavate how we construct notions of gender, race and power, as well as the psychological terror and fear of surveillance itself. The focus of this special edition of Northern Lights, therefore, is the intersection between the horror genre and practices of surveillance, and this edition seeks to promote emergent approaches to screen analysis.

Notions of surveillance have long captivated the creative imagination and been envisioned at multiple sites, through narratives, images and performances. Whilst surveillance studies as a field of enquiry ostensibly concerns the production of new theoretical and empirical understandings of human behaviour vis-à-vis a burgeoning field of technological development, the project of this issue of Northern Lights is to employ cultural surveillance studies to better understand the human, psychic and bodily affects/effects and manifestations of the practices of surveillance. Operating within the paradigm of cultural studies, we seek to delve into the realm of surveillance as it is portrayed on screen so that we may explore the critical juncture at which surveillance renders bodies ‘horrified’.

The ubiquity of surveillance within horror narratives, one might argue, is perfectly placed to draw attention to cinematic processes, while at the same time, denaturalizing the human body. The editors are particularly interested in transgressive visions of surveillance from within the horror genre that also consider the ways in which the surveillant field emerges from beyond the lens. Areas of exploration may include architecture and horror (haunted houses for instance) as sites of surveillance; the body as a corporeal manifestation of visibility from within the discourse of slasher and gore narratives; the use of omnipotent watching as a dystopian motif in contemporary cinema (and its links to political and cultural change); and the manifestation of surveillant practices in horror that stem from geographical or topographical positions (prisons, schools, suburbia, cities, etc). Recognition of the prevalence of surveillance not only in our past but also in our future requires that we acknowledge the ubiquity of surveillance in our cultural products and psyche and attest to the manipulation of the gaze present in on-screen horror. We seek new and original approaches that move beyond traditional theories of surveillance, and of horror.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Radical readings of horror through surveillance

• Feminist horror criticism for the digital age

• The new horror of digital interference

• The corporeal, biotechnology and the digital

• Slasher films and surveillance

• Contemporary psychological terror

• The abject and the corporeal

• Architectural constructions of the ‘horrific’

• The watching of othered bodies from within a transgressive surveillant lens

• Television series and use of the nostalgic as a lens by which to critique the contemporary

• Postcolonial readings of film that speak of the viewing of racial bodies and their ‘use’ and ‘appropriation’ within the horror genre

• Spoof horror and B-movies and their application of surveillant lenses from within the skewed and comedic

• Transitional spaces and the borders and territories of the horrific (motels for instance)

• Movement and the supernatural as a means by which to transgress the lens

Abstracts of 400–500 words, together with a brief biographical note, should be submitted by 10 February 2019.

Please email these directly to s.flynn@lcc.arts.ac.uk

Complete papers of 6500–7000 words are due on 1 July 2019.

Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook is published by Intellect. Please refer to the style guide here: https://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/MediaManager/File/intellectstyleguide2016v1.pdf