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

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.

The IAAS is delighted to announce that Dr Aoileann Ní Éigeartaigh will deliver this year’s W.A. Emmerson Lecture.

You can listen to a recording of Dr Ní Éigeartaigh’s talk here:

 

Dr Ní Éigeartaigh is a Lecturer in Literature and Cultural Studies in the School of Business and Humanities at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Her research interests include American Literature, Irish Literature, and Cultural Studies. Aoileann is also a former chair of the Irish Association for American Studies.

Her lecture, “Liminal Spaces and Contested Histories in the novels of Juan Rulfo and George Saunders”, will take place at 4.30pm on Thursday, March 28th in room L4 in the Department of Business & Humanities, Dundalk Institute of Technology. Tea and coffee will be available from 4pm.

The W.A. Emmerson Lecture is named in honour of, Tony Emmerson, one of the IAAS’s founding members and is a highlight of the association’s events. Information on previous lectures can be found here. The lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.

Aoileann NíÉigeartaigh (centre) with IAAS Chair David Coughlan

 

 

ArtsPatronage in Modern America

26th–28th June 2019

Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, UK

 

The founding of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965 was a celebrated occasion for many artists and cultural patrons in the United States, but it failed to put to rest the decades old public debate over whether or not art and culture ought to be supported by the federal government. From the Reagan era in particular onwards, straight through to the Trump administration, Culture Wars debates have centred on whether the federal government should fund art, if so, how much, and if not, who should? From the New Deal federal arts projects of the 1930s to the cultural Cold War and beyond, the story of the growth of American arts patronage has often been told through the lens of the federal government, with philanthropies, corporations, state and local governments playing supporting roles to leading federal agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Information Agency, and the State Department, amongst others.

Although the American state’s role and influence in cultural affairs expanded in the twentieth century, the degree to which the state actually drove these transformations both at home and abroad remains to be examined. What role did American corporations or philanthropies play in shaping emerging forms of cultural patronage? Did state or local programmes and policymakers push changes at the national or international level? And what impact did artistic participants have on developing or curtailing the institutionalisation of American art and culture? Answering such questions will offer an insight into cultural relations between private and state actors, which promises, in turn, to inform not only understandings of the institutional forms of modern American culture, but also to illuminate how individual and private actors have shaped the American state. This conference therefore calls upon scholars, policy-practitioners and artists working on and in modern American arts patronage, broadly defined, to submit proposals for papers that explore and critique the existing narrative.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • philanthropy and government cultural cooperation or conflict
  • cultural funding, policy or exchange either at home or abroad
  • the creation, implementation, and impact of cultural policymaking at the state or local levels
  • how artists or academics experienced cultural policy or patronage
  • cultural policy and protest or lack thereof
  • philanthropy or philanthropic funding in the cultural sphere
  • federal cultural programmes and agencies
  • national or transnational public-private arts partnerships and programmes

Individuals interested in delivering a 20 minute paper should submit a brief abstract (approx. 400 words), a short CV (no more than 2 pages), and a brief biography (of around 250 words) to karen.heath@rai.ox.ac.ukand niedf005@umn.edu by 4th January 2019. Full panel proposals are welcome, although all-male panels will not be considered nor compiled by the organisers. We encourage submissions from scholars of colour and from those whose voices have traditionally been left out of scholarly narratives.

We hope to be able to offer a limited number of bursaries to support attendance by postgraduates and early career researchers. Priority will be given to those presenting papers. Please indicate in your email if you would like to apply for a bursary and whether you have access to institutional support, giving an estimate of potential travel and accommodation costs. You can visit our website at https://americanartspatronage.wordpress.com/

Conference Organisers:

Karen Patricia Heath, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford

Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman, and All the Intrepid Sailors
July 3-5, 2019
School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon

Herman Melville (1819-1891), sailor and writer, plowed the ocean as a tablet to be read, gazing at
the white page where unfathomable characters surface to the eyes of the puzzled reader. “Captain”
Walt Whitman (1819-1892), on the other hand, writing “in cabin’d ships at sea,” broke open and
passed the divide between in- and out-of-doors, as he urged his book to “speed on.” Both were
born 200 years ago.

ULICES’ Research Group in American Studies is pleased to announce the international conference
and exhibition “Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman and All the Intrepid Sailors,” to be held on 3-5 July,
2019. We aim to foreground the international afterlife of both authors and their contribution to the
interconnectedness between the arts, sciences, human philosophy and history, with a
special focus on the imagination and memory of the oceans. In line with one of the group’s
main axes of research, “(Re)imagining shared pasts over the sea and across borders: dialogue,
reception and projections between the USA, the Americas, and Europe,” the title “Over_Seas”
accommodates an eagerness to pore over the depths of wild and cultured nature(s), as well as the
transatlantic and transnational dynamics that Melville, Whitman, and various writers on both sides
of the Atlantic have helped to shape. The events will take place at the School of Arts and
Humanities of the University of Lisbon, the Portuguese National Library, and other public spaces
devoted to cultural dissemination and to the promotion of the vital resources within our ocean(s).

This bicentennial celebration aims to bring together scholars with expertise not only in nineteenth century
American literature and culture, but also in areas related with the broader and
interdisciplinary themes envisaged by the conference itself. Participation of junior researchers and
students is especially welcome. We invite submissions of abstracts for panel sessions (up to
1000 words), roundtables, papers and posters (up to 300 words) to be sent to
melville.whitman2019@gmail.com, with the following information:

. full title of paper, panel or poster;
. full name of author;
. institutional affiliation;
. individual e-mail address(es);
. brief bio (max. 5 lines).

Suggested, but by no means exclusive, topics are:

– Dialogue and tension in Melville and Whitman: their texts as an ocean and/or vessel;

– Home, overseas and at sea: Melville, Whitman, and/or other 19th century US writers (also in
dialogue with writers overseas who addressed the sea in their writings);

– The ocean(s) and/or sea in literature, arts and sciences;

– The ocean(s), what goes on within, down deep, what moves across and more – wilderness,
chaos, death, shipwreck, rage vs. fantasy, freedom, voyage, nourishment, commerce;

– To and fro: Atlantic trade, finance and industry;

– Bridging borders – translation, transatlantic (textual) commerce, Indic and Transpacific
influences, literary transformation;

– Transoceanic wave-sounds, wave-lengths, wave-motions;

– Women across borders, overboard, and at sea;

– The Anthropocene, Whitman, Melville, and/or other sailor-writers – environmental
sustainability / crisis and ecological protection;

– Changes, interchanges, and dialogues across oceans, continents, peoples.

Deadline for abstracts: March 11, 2019
Notification of acceptance: March 30, 2019