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Oct 4 – Trans-Atlantic Bodies: American Nationalism and the Politics of Corporeality 🗓

Oct 4 – Trans-Atlantic Bodies: American Nationalism and the Politics of Corporeality 🗓

Maurizio Valsania (University of Turin)

Oct 4, 2018, 5-6 p.m., P 110 (Philosophicum)

 

In the 1760s, British colonies in North America agreed on boycotting the importation of goods. On occasion, upper-class Americans could reenact the so-called “age of homespun” much later on—George Washington’s 1789 mythic brown inaugural suit made in Hartford, Connecticut, is a wonderful example. But this may give the impression that Americans, including American republican leaders, did not care about style; that they had been created rugged; that they were cut off from the main trans-Atlantic cultural trends that, in the period, were being redefining fashion, civility, politeness, sensibility, and masculinity. My paper discusses two hypotheses. The first is that the Founding Figures (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in particular) took part, knowingly, in a trans-Atlantic ongoing debate about style; second, that these men idealized their own bodies and deployed them as tools to channel a message of modernity. New political visions as well as new ideals concerning the modern white upper-class male were thus made visible.

This talk constitutes the keynote address of the “Transatlantic Conversations: New and Emerging Approaches to Early American Studies” conference (Oct 4-6, 2018).

Click here to access the conference page and the complete conference program.

 

 

Call for Papers – Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies 🗓

Call for Papers – Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies 🗓

Call for Papers

Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies

Closing Conference of the DFG-funded research network “Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies” (DFG # BA 3567/4-1)
June 21-23, 2018, Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
Conference organizers: Dr. Pia Wiegmink (Obama Institute) and Dr. Birgit M. Bauridl (U Regensburg)

The closing conference of this research network aims at scrutinizing the benefits and limitations of a deeper and more reflective integration of a Performance Studies approach into (transnational) American Studies. It intends to investigate how, which, and with what outcome issues that, in the wake of the transnational turn, have become central to the American Studies agenda can be addressed more adequately by the study of ‘cultural performances.’ We invite papers that zoom in on the idea of culture as a corporeal, communal, and dynamic event rather than a stable textual product and that position the local particularities of cultural performance vis-à-vis the dynamics of global mobility.

Potential paper topics could address, but are not limited to the following questions:

  • What is the role and impact of ‘cultural performances’ such as daily rituals, festive occasions, or theatrical events in transnational contact zones, i.e., sites in which cultures meet, grapple with each other?
  • How can cultural performances in contact zones become expressions and negotiations of processes of transnational cultural entanglement?
  • How can cultural performance act as a platform in which diverse and possibly competing (national) identities and cultural belongings are negotiated and experienced by a community?
  • How can ‘cultural performance’ serve as a methodological perspective and thus help understand questions posed by transnational American Studies? I.e. how can ‘cultural performance’ be possibly used as a tool for the analysis of both contemporary transnational processes and historical forms of global mobility and what are its methodological challenges, solutions, and limitations?
  • (How) Does the corporeality, physicality, presence, interaction, and communal character of cultural performance enhance, complicate, or change our perspective on transnational contact zones ranging from immediate local encounters to supposedly immaterial and anonymous global processes and digital environments?
  • How does the study of cultural performance complement and possibly expand prevalent (transnational) American Studies discourses on, for example, affect, corporeality, memory, public (vs. private) space, dissent and cultural resistance, cosmopolitanism, urbanity (vs. rurality), environment and ecology, cultural imperialism, neoliberalism, diasporic identities, social media, tourism, sonic cultures, food cultures, etc.?

Confirmed keynote speakers are Denise Uyehara (performance artist) and Prof. Dr. Werner Sollors (Harvard). Active members of the research network will present on and discuss the topic together with further confirmed speakers Prof. Dr. Ben Chappell (University of Kansas), Prof. Dr. Celeste-Marie Bernier (University of Edinburgh). 
Please send your short abstract (<300 words) and a short CV (300 words) including your email, address, and affiliation to Birgit M. Bauridl and Pia Wiegmink at culturalperformancenetwork@gmail.com by March 1, 2018.

 

Oct 26-28 – From Abolition to Black Lives Matter: Past and Present Forms of Transnational Black Resistance 🗓

Oct 26-28 – From Abolition to Black Lives Matter: Past and Present Forms of Transnational Black Resistance 🗓

From Abolition to Black Lives Matter: Past and Present Forms of Transnational Black Resistance

October 26-28, 2017, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany.

Conference organizers: Nele Sawallisch, Johanna Seibert, Pia Wiegmink, Frank Obenland

This conference hosted by the Transnational American Studies Institute aims at assessing and theorizing past and present forms of black intellectual, political, and cultural resistance from the era of abolitionist campaigns against the transatlantic slave trade to the recent global protest formation of Black Lives Matter.

For more information, please visit the conference page.

 

 

The American Short Story: New Horizons

The American Short Story: New Horizons

Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany

October 5-7, 2017

Throughout its history, the American short story has been praised either as a highly polished gem or condemned as literary fast food. Despite such rise-and-fall predictions, the short story has always been a demanding form. Its narrative economy in terms of time and space records decisive, intimate moments of life that give the American Short Story a broad social resonance. As such, the short story offers a vibrant field of research. There is a renaissance in progress not only in terms of the short story’s productivity but also in terms of innovative theoretical questions. The current state of research is, however, probably best described as “ripening.”

The conference “The American Short Story: New Horizons” invites both panels and papers that address fresh and original questions relevant to studying the American short story. The conference thus seeks to explore the American short story as a coming together of the enduring narrative practice of compression and concision in American literature, presently culminating in a digital culture in which brevity rules.

The keynote lecture “The Short Story and the Census” will be held by Dr. Kasia Boddy (University of Cambridge, UK)

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Call for Papers: From Abolition to Black Lives Matter: Past and Present Forms of Transnational Black Resistance

October 26-28, 2017, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany. 

Conference organizers: Nele Sawallisch, Johanna Seibert, Pia Wiegmink, Frank Obenland

This conference hosted by the Transnational American Studies Institute aims at assessing and theorizing past and present forms of black intellectual, political, and cultural resistance from the era of abolitionist campaigns against the transatlantic slave trade to the recent global protest formation of Black Lives Matter.

Protests against racial discrimination, inequality, poverty, and injustice not only pervade (North) American history but span the globe and cross – oftentimes multiple – borders. Building on the recent transnational turn in American Studies and de-centering American Studies’ focus on the nation as the prime focus of analysis, this workshop invites papers that trace the Atlantic routes/roots (Gilroy), the diasporic and global trajectories, as well as the movement, circulation, and dissemination of past and present forms and ideas of black resistance. The conference aims at discussing the transnational dimension of various forms of resistance that are often embedded in larger social movements such as the anti-slavery, the anti-lynching, the Civil Rights, Black Power, Anti-Apartheid, the Global Justice, the Prison Abolition, or the Black Lives Matter movements. Investigating the transatlantic significance of these movements, this conference will also address how collective or individual acts of resistance are articulated and represented in print, performance, visual art, or other media.

How do we conceptualize the connections between past and present forms of transnational black resistance? How does this relationship between the past and the present shape existing notions of resistance? How did national movements for black equality and justice impact as well as intersect with national and international forms of protest? How do forms of black resistance initiate ways to re-think forms of protest and activism outside the United States? How do protest movements intersect with scholarly and intellectual pursuits in academia? What role have different media played in and for black resistance movements throughout the centuries not only in national but also international contexts? How have the digital world and global social media changed previous forms of transnational black resistance? What could be possible trajectories of movements such as Black Lives Matter in the face of the 2016 Presidential election in the United States? How can scholars and activists collaborate in articulating critical interventions in ongoing political discussions?

Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof. Charmaine Nelson, Professor of Art History, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

We invite contributions from all disciplines, e.g. history, literary and cultural studies, visual culture/art history, political science, sociology. Potential paper topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • transnational routes of political/social activism and cultural resistance/protest cultures
  • transnational black intellectual histories of racial equality and justice
  • methodological and conceptual perspectives that bring together approaches from transnational American Studies with African American and Black Diaspora Studies
  • intersectional approaches to the study of black resistance with regard to class, gender, age, nationality, religion, etc.
  • the role of women in and for black resistance movements
  • Black literatures of protest and resistance
  • Black resistance and cultures of performance, transnational aesthetics of protest
  • Black resistance and popular culture, Black resistance and global (social) media
  • Intersection of popular resistance movements and academic interventions in political discourse

Please send you paper proposal (max. 300 words) and a short bio (150 words) by January 31, 2017 to sawallis@uni-mainz.de

Interdisciplinary Conference: Novel – Seeming – Goods

Interdisciplinary Conference: Novel – Seeming – Goods

A Conference at Mainz University, September 23-24, 2016

Organized by Corinna Norrick-Rühl and Tim Lanzendörfer in the context of the MAINZ MEDIA FORUM

mk_mmf_logo_rgb_transpThe interdisciplinary conference Novel—Seeming—Goods explores the futures of the Anglophone novel at the intersections of content, form, production, and distribution. The conference takes its title from a line in Fredric Jameson’s 1991 groundbreaking study Postmodernism. 25 years after Jameson’s work, in an epoch perhaps after postmodernism, this international conference brings together scholars from English and American literary studies and Book Studies with the aim of discussing several questions related to the possible combinations of the terms in the conference title. What does the novel, understood as a preeminent literary form, look like today, in an age of again-increasing anxiety over its role as a cultural capstone? What are we to make of its connection with its often-proclaimed replacement by novel-seeming texts like graphic novels or TV series, especially when those cultural forms so frequently refer back to the novel for their own prestige? What happens when these concerns are confronted with the question of the novel-as-good, the novel as both a commodity and an increasingly complex digital and physical artifact? And finally, what about the possibility that in many instances, celebrated formal and thematic innovations are only seemingly goods, or explicitly novel-seeming goods—that is to say, what is the practical context in which referencing the novel remains a crucial step in sales, or in which the novel’s character as a good becomes more complicated (as in the sale of digital novels, in the production of free web novels, and other contemporary phenomena)?

We will discuss these questions with a view to answering the question of the novel’s future as a form and as an object both. Does the oft-announced death of the novel loom again today, both because of its obsolescence as a form and the digitalization of everyday life with the constant availability of all kinds of new media has made it a thing of the past? Or does and will it adapt again (as it has so often before) to remain a key format for cultural narratives?

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