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IAAS Annual Conference

Foreign Bodies and Native Sons’


The Annual Conference of the Irish Association for American Studies

April 27-28, 2018

University College Dublin

Although the relationship between the ‘native’ and the ‘foreign’ has been a longstanding, evolving site of contention in American cultural history, the Trump presidency has brought both terms (and their histories) to a new level of exposure and debate. The assumptions about ‘foreign bodies’ that fuelled the recent election and its aftermath—from the ‘wall’ to the travel ban— invite sustained analysis, especially in relation to the construction of a seemingly antithetical body of ‘native sons’ that invokes superficial concepts of white working-class masculinity. The divisions and fault lines such constructions facilitate within the American ‘body politic’, in relation to race, ethnicity, sex-gender, class and sexuality, inform debate about contemporary American culture and form the basis of the conference. Although drawing on contemporary formulations of both concepts, the conference also welcomes papers offering an historical perspective on a particularly American etymology of ‘foreign’ and ‘native’ bodies.

The Alan Graham Memorial Lecture was delivered by Dr Sue Currell (University of Sussex). The title of Dr Currell’s lecture is “Good Genes, Great Genes and Smart Genes: Popular Eugenics and the American Body Politic.” You can listen to Dr Currell’s below.



Please direct all questions about the conference to conference@iaas.ie