“A more perfect Union”

IAAS Postgraduate Symposium

Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute

November 25th, 2017

In their 1789 Constitution, the founders of the United States aspired to “form a more perfect Union”. Over two hundred and twenty years later, what is the state of this “more perfect Union” today? Have modern exclusionary tactics led to an “America for Americans only” feeling immanent in Trump’s speeches? How has American literature, music, film and philosophy been used to enforce or challenge these feelings of  “America for Americans only”? What can an examination of history and politics do to illuminate the United States’ relationship with the rest of the Americas and the wider world?




9:00-9:30 Registration

9:30 – 9:45 Opening remarks

IAAS Chair, and organising committee

9:45 – 10:10 Tea/Coffee

10:10 – 11:00 Panel 1: The Public Life of Post-Truth

Chair: Ciaran O’Rourke

“Naturalistic False Consciousness in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road” – Sarah McCreedy (University College Cork)

“Clive’s Song by Anne Carson: Pushing the Limits” – Annette Marie Skade (Dublin City University)

11:00 – 11:15 Tea/Coffee

11:15 – 12:15 Panel 2: State of Health in the Union

Chair: Jennifer Daly

“Revolutionary Survival; The Chicago Black Panther Party and Health Care” – Matthew O’Brien (University College Dublin)

“Understanding ‘a more perfect union’: Presidents, their Rhetoric, and Health Care Policy” – James Doran (UCD Clinton Institute)

12:15-12:30 Break

12:30-13:30 Panel 3: Imperfect Unions in Postmodern Society

Chair: Ciaran Leinster

“Rational Self-Interest and Individualism in Le Guin’s The Dispossessed.” – Rebecca Murray (University College Cork)

 “A Union that Shook America’s Core: The Columbine Perpetrators and Literary Constructions of Hypermasculine School Shooter Personae” – Anne Mahler (University College Cork)

“A deconstruction of the “survivor narrative” in Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places” – Eva Burke (Trinity College Dublin)

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-15:30 Panels 4 and 5 

International Alliances: America and the World

Chair: James Doran

“Imagining the New Deal: The visual rhetoric of the WPA posters” – Shane Morrissy (Trinity College Dublin)

“Unlikely Alliances and American Credibility in the World: US Foreign Policy and Crisis in South Asia, 1971” – Elizabeth Tanner (University College Cork)

“The Backyard Alliances: An examination of the US foreign policy relationship with El Salvador during the civil war of 1977-1992, and the impact of migration to the US” – William O’Neill (University of Limerick)

Trauma on Screen

Chair: Dara Downey

“‘You’re not alone’: Trauma, Communal Healing and America in Contemporary Science Fiction – Sean Travers (University College Cork)

“The Same Old Story? Signifyin(g) and the Representations of African Americans in Cinematic Slave Narratives” – Caroline Schroeter (University College Cork)

“Welcome to your tape”: Union and Disunion in Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why – Jennifer Gouck (Queen’s University Belfast)

15:30-16:30 Panel 6: Man on Stage: Masculinity in Performance

Chair: Eoin O’Callaghan

““A man is a fourteen-room house”: the Postmodernist Adventurer in Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mount Morgan”— Ciaran Leinster (University of Seville)

“Scripting Blackness, Scraping off Stereotypes in Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight” – Natalia Kovalyova (UCD Clinton Institute)

“The Masculine Performance of President as a Patriarchal Political Authority and American Identity” – Catherine Casey (University College Dublin)

16:30 – 17:00

Closing remarks and WTM Riches Essay Prize announcement

17:00 – 18:00 Reception

19:00 Conference Dinner