Irish Association for American Studies Annual Conference
April 28-29, University of Limerick (hybrid)
The Irish Association for American Studies 2023 Annual Conference will take place on the 28-29 April
at the University of Limerick. This hybrid event will be the first IAAS Annual Conference since 2019
to include an in-person element; it will feature in-person and remote presentations from American
Studies scholars based in Ireland, the UK, Greece, Spain, Turkey, the US, and Canada.
The theme for this year’s conference is “In/Security.” Questions of security have dominated the US
news agenda in the past year, from the inquest into the breach of the Capitol on 6 January 2021; to
geopolitical threats of energy shortages, a cost-of-living crisis, cyber-attacks, and nuclear war; to the
FBI’s retrieval of documents endangering national security from a former President’s home. Actual
and perceived threats to security – personal, institutional, and technological – have increasingly
become the norm in US politics, as allegations of voting fraud and campaigns of intimidation
continue to reverberate across elections. Meanwhile, the rising risks of wildfires and storms are a
reminder that climate change represents an existential threat to human society that requires us to
act now to secure a liveable future.
This year’s conference will consider security, safety, defence, and protection, as well as their
opposites: insecurity, precarity, vulnerability, and danger. We will think about security at various
scales, the various senses and feelings of terms like “security” and “safe,” and the different ways in
which notions of security and its absence structure cultural, social, political, and economic
discourses in the Americas.
The Alan Graham Memorial Lecture for 2023 – the conference’s annual keynote presentation – will
be delivered by David Watson, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Uppsala
University. Dr Watson specialises in American literature and culture; his current book project, The
National Security Aesthetic: Twenty-First-Century American Fiction and the Governance of
Contingency, explains how and why contemporary U.S. fiction has responded to the expansion of
American national security culture in the twenty-first century, exposing the historical, ideological,
and formal connections between fiction, experiences of security and insecurity, and the national
security state. His ongoing research focuses on questions about neoliberalism, finance, democracy,
and the contemporary American novel. He has published on nineteenth-century and modernist
American poets, nineteenth-century and contemporary novelists, and issues in transnational and
translation studies. He is an Associate Editor at the journal Studia Neophilologica, and coordinator of
the Fictions of Risk network. Dr Watson’s lecture will be titled “The Security Fix: Literature, the
State, and the Problem of Governance.”
Read the provisional programme here.
Register for the conference here.
For information about accommodation, click here.
For a UL campus map, click here.