aspeers: emerging voices in american studies is currently seeking submissions for its upcoming issue
aspeers is the first and currently only peer-reviewed print journal for MA-level American studies scholars in Europe. It is a platform for the best work done by American studies graduate students below the PhD level. It aims to foster academic exchange among young Americanists across Europe, and to thereby advance the field as well as its genuine European perspective on ‘America’ and its presences and effects around the world.
Submission deadline: 23 October 2016
In its tenth issue, aspeers will feature a general section and a topical focus. While the general section accepts submissions on any American studies topic (e.g. revised versions of term papers or chapters from BA theses), the topical section will focus on the theme of “American Monsters,” calling for submissions that reflect on the diverse roles and meanings of ‘monstrosity’ in American culture. Please see the following Calls for Papers for details.
1) General Call for Papers
For the general section of its tenth issue, aspeers seeks outstanding academic writing demonstrating the excellence of graduate scholarship, the range of concerns scrutinized in the field, and the diversity of perspectives employed. We thus explicitly invite revised versions of term papers or chapters from theses written by students of European Master (and equivalent) programs. For this section, there are no topical limitations. Contributions should be up to 10,000 words (including abstract and list of works cited). The submission deadline is 23 October 2016.
“The monster notoriously appears at times of crisis,” Jeffrey Jerome Cohen states in his Monster Theory. At first glance, Cohen’s assertion conveniently seems to fit the headlines by various venues—liberal and conservative—that all express a presumed crisis of the US Republican Party by referring to their 2016 presidential nominee as a “monster.” However, Cohen has a different kind of crisis, and different kinds of monsters, in mind, and a broader analytical trajectory to follow: For him, American culture as such can be read “from the monsters [it] engenders.”
Understood as a spectacular anomaly, a cultural shorthand that points at deeper turmoils, American culture has its fair share of monsters indeed. Whether we think of race, a social problem declared ‘dead’ by the post-race discourse, as a zombie roaming the land as deadly as ever, or whether we think of Barbara Creed’s seminal work on the perception and portrayal of femininity as ‘monstrous,’ categories of difference tend to express themselves with recourse to the figure of the monster and the logic of monstrosity. In fact, as Michael Rogin points out, monsters are “a continuing feature of American politics” (xiii). As such they are worthy of critical attention.
For its tenth issue, aspeers thus dedicates its topical section to “American Monsters” and invites European graduate students to critically and analytically explore American literature, (popular) culture, society, history, and politics through the monsters they beget. With a host of disciplines—ranging from economy and political science to history, media studies, literary and cultural studies, and beyond—engaging such monstrosity in various forms, we welcome papers from all the fields, methodologies, and approaches that comprise American studies as well as inter- and transdisciplinary submissions. Potential paper topics could cover (but are not limited to):
- The literary figure of the fantastic monster, the zombie, the vampire, the alien, the cyborg, or the ghost, as tropes that do cultural work.
- The forms of (racialized, gendered, etc.) othering involved in portraying social or cultural outsiders as monstrous.
- Political rhetoric demonizing and dehumanizing the opponent.
- The trope of the monster in various nonfictional discourses, such as law enforcement, medicine and psychology, and many others.
- The pleasures and anxieties negotiated through representations of monsters, in genres such as horror, fantasy, science fiction, dystopia, (post)apocalypse, etc., and in media like novels, films, TV, graphic novels, or video games.