The IAAS Postgraduate Symposium
“Parallel Lives in America”
Virtual Event via Zoom
13th-14th of November, 2020
Last year, the Irish Association for American Studies’ Postgraduate Symposium, titled “The Land of the Unfree”, sought to interrogate the legitimacy of democracy in America. One year on, in the midst of a global pandemic, this legitimacy has not only been interrogated, but put on trial.
In the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has both exacerbated and exposed already existent crises: social, political and economic, among others. Referred to by The New York Times as “The Pandemic Inequality Feedback Loop”, research has shown that individuals of lower economic strata and minority groups are both more likely to contract the virus, and to die from it. From bulk buying to wide-spread job losses, the concerns and priorities of American citizens have existed on a wide spectrum according to relative levels of privilege and oppression.
The 2020 postgraduate symposium, taking place in the IAAS’ 50th year, therefore endeavours to investigate “Parallel Lives” in America. In this context, “Parallel Lives” signify the juxtaposition of the wealthy with the poor, those with power to those who are oppressed, and those who discriminate to those who are discriminated against. As the #BlackLivesMatter movement has shown, exposing and resisting the discord between parallel ways of living is essential for social change, particularly in a world where our lives have become more interconnected than ever before.
While this conference takes inspiration from the present moment, we are particularly interested in historical roots, parallels and contemporary repetitions, and welcome transhistorical papers and panels.
To be conducted over the course of Friday and Saturday afternoon on the 13th-14th November, the interdisciplinary symposium will be run as a virtual event via Zoom. Participants will be invited to complete a webinar registration to be able to join the symposium.
300 word proposals for ten-minute papers, along with a short academic biography, are welcomed from PGRs and ECRs working in the field of American Studies across disciplines including literature, history, film, politics, music, art and media. The deadline for submissions is Friday, 9th October, 2020.
The IAAS is committed to the development of postgraduate and early career researchers. Therefore, the symposium will also feature workshops specifically designed for these scholars.
Paper topics may include but are not limited to:
- Racial/gender/social/economic inequalities in the U.S.
- The intersectionalities of equality and inequality
- Widening socio-economic discrepancies in times of American crisis
- Narratives of resistance, counternarratives
- Protest literature and movements, particularly #BlackLivesMatter
- Documenting Protest
- The role of art and the artist in social change
For more information, or to submit a proposal, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org