Monday, April 30, 2012

GASF Inaugural Meeting: Minutes

1. Introduction
  • What American Studies has mean historically, and what it has come to mean in recent years.
  • The EXPLORE project, the NUI Galway Bright Ideas Initiative, and the Student Projects Fund.
  • Background to the formation of the forum - a place to try out ideas, discuss methodological issues and develop a community of scholars concerned with American Studies in NUI Galway.
  • Building a bridge between NUI Galway and the Irish and British Associations of American Studies.
  • Some ideas for special events.
2. The Scholars
  • We performed that embarrassing task of going around the room, introducing ourselves and our research, and discussing what we hoped to gain from the forum. These expectations included: helping to fill out gaps in each others knowledge; looking to scholars concerned with the U.S. to inform aspects of research on South American topics; seeking information on funding available for travel; publication and conference opportunities.
3. The Irish, British, and European Associations of American Studies
  • Having traveled recently to the BAAS Conference in Manchester, and the IAAS Conference in Cork, Rosemary gave a rundown of how these associations operate and the benefit of our involvement, particularly in terms of disseminating our research through conference papers and publications. 
  • The IAAS is very keen to rekindle links with NUI Galway. The GAS Forum will create a community of scholars in Galway concerned with American Studies, and through visiting speakers and participation in IAAS organised conferences, we can disseminate our research further afield. 
  • The GAS Forum will include researchers concerned with South America and Canada, not just the United States. In an inter-disciplinary forum debates about issues such as gender, ethnicity, and colonisation can be more well-informed if South American Scholars in particular are present. The inclusion of Canada and South American in the field is a topic of ongoing debate in the larger associations, however the members of GASF feel a continental approach is beneficial.
4. Conference and Publication Opportunities
  • NUI Galway could potentially host an American Studies Conference in the near future. Members of the forum could assist each other in hosting American Studies themed events.
  • BAAS has issued a call-for-papers for its Postgraduate Conference in November, Memory: America Past, Present and Future.
  • IAAS is accepting submissions for its journal, to be published biannually. Contact details will be posted shortly, upon confirmation.
 5. Funding Opportunities
  • One common concern of the scholars present was the issue of funding overseas travel.
  • GASF will endeavor to host information sessions in the coming months on the Fulbright Scholarship in September/October ahead of the November deadline, and other funding opportunities as they are advertised.
  • The IAAS may be able to assist postgraduate students who wish to travel to BAAS conferences in the UK. Further details to be posted when available.

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 Presidential Elections in the United States: challenges and expectations

International Conference at the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland October 26-27, 2012

Call for papers

American presidency, the most important office in the U.S. political system, has long been considered as one of the most powerful political institutions in the world. Due to its enormous power and fact that its holder also symbolizes the United States as the country, the presidency gained a notion of an 'elective kingship'. Therefore recruitment process for the office had become a very much sophisticated and time-consuming process, that led journalist Arthur T. Hadley to coin it as 'irrational marathon'. Indeed, running a presidential campaign has nowadays been multivariable enterprise, which consumes vast amounts of time, energy and financial resources.
 To appeal to voters, presidential candidates plan their operations years in advance, building huge campaign organizations that cost more and more money from electoral cycle to cycle. As media reporters and crews are assigned to each person creating their exploratory committee to run a campaign, the presidential election process gains more audience nationally and worldwide. In this environment, again to borrow from Arthur T. Hadley, 'running for president has become a full-time profession' for everyone interested: candidates and their families, political consultants and operatives, media people, scholars and ordinary citizens, etc.
Within this context, we would like to hold a discussion on the ongoing issue of 2012 Presidential Elections in the United States. What are the problems that the next president is going to be challenged by? How are candidates expected to appeal to voters and what challenges they must meet on the contemporary campaign trail? What are the challenges of the modern campaigning and how the U.S. political system is expected to deal with them?

To discuss the phenomenon, we welcome panel and paper proposals for wide range of issues, including, but not limited to, American electoral system, presidential nomination and general election process & outcomes, campaign finance, electoral turnout and voting behavior, the role of media and new media, political communication and campaign rhetoric, election and political parties, interests groups and grassroot movements in the electoral process, and others.

All those wishing to participate are encouraged to send their proposals either for 15-20 minute presentations or whole group panels (abstract of max. 300 words + brief CV) by May 31, 2012 to Authors of accepted submissions will be notified by July 1, 2012 at the very the latest.

Conference fee, that covers conference materials, coffee breaks & refreshments, lunches, official banquet dinner, and publication of post-conference volume, is 450 PLN (about 100 EUR), paid until September 1st, 2012 or 650 PLN (about 150 EUR), if paid later.

The Conference will be held at the old buildings of the Jagiellonian University in the beautiful historical center of Krakow.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the conference organizers, Paweł Laidler, PhD, and Maciej Turek, PhD, at

Beyond the Myth: New Perspectives on Western Texts

David Rio, Amaia Ibarraran, and Martin Simonson, eds. Beyond the Myth: New Perspectives on Western Texts.  The American Literary West Series.
London: Portal, 2011. ISBN: 978-84-938360-7-8.

Classical notions of the West and associated images, symbols, and values retain their appeal for an important number of Americans, as well as engaging the imagination of an international audience.

However, despite the resilience of the myth, it may be argued that an increasing number of artistic portraits of the American West debunk traditional mythology, rejecting at the same time extreme reductionism to simplistic binary oppositions, such as the one between myth and reality. Instead, the main emphasis is on the West as a complex, interrelated, unfinished, and plural space, consisting of multiple meanings and often intercultural experiences and identities. In this globalized age of trans-oceanic studies the international and hybrid properties of western American culture have become more visible than ever. Most of the essays in this book support this shift towards transnational frameworks, both challenging reductionist regional and national perspectives and vindicating the point of view of the outsider. Adopting transnational perspectives does not mean neglecting the importance of regional and local studies that testify to the multiple and overlapping cultures and literatures existing in the American West. The book embraces a diverse literary western landscape, aiming to mediate between the regional and the global in order to understand a literature that, after all, claims to be both exceptional and universal. This volume also extends the analysis of western iconography to other artistic manifestations than writing, adopting primarily a postwestern approach.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface. Elegy and the Defiance of Elegy: Longing and Writing in the American West, by Gregory Martin
  • Introduction: Reconsidering Western Writing beyond the Regional Imaginary and its Mythic Borders, by David Rio
Part I: Continuity and Renewal
  • The Rural West as Frontier: A Myth for Modern America, by J. Dwight Hines David 
  • Guterson's The Other, the Doppelganger Tradition Visits the American North West, by Aitor Ibarrola 
  • That Boy Ain't Right: Jimmy Blevins, John Grady Cole, and Mythic Masculinity in All the Pretty Horses, by Maria O'Connell 
  • Western Images in Paul Auster's Work: from Moon Palace to Later Fiction, by Jesús Ángel González
Part II: Beyond Stereotypes
  • Affective Critical Regionalism in D.J. Waldie's Suburban West, by Neil Campbell 
  • Shoshone Mike and the Basques, by Monika Madinabeitia 
  • Revision of American Indian Stereotypes and Post-Indian Identity in Sherman Alexie's Flight, by Elisa Mateos 
  • The Pros and Cons of Writing Confessional Memoir in the Mormon Milieu, by Phyllis Barber
Part III: Cultural Transfers
  • Film and Chicano I/dentity in Tino Villanueva's Scene from the Movie GIANT, by Juan Ignacio Guijarro 
  • "Wagon Train to the Stars:" Star Trekkin' the U.S. Western Frontier, by Stefan Rabitsch  
  • From California to Jarama Valley: Woody Guthrie's Folk Banditry, by David Fenimore 
  • How Some of the West Was Lost in Translation: The Influence of Franco's Censorship on Spanish Westerns, by Carmen Camus
  • Notes on Contributors 
  •  Index

For further information or to order a copy, please check

Scholarships for Two Symposia at the Salzburg Global Seminar

The American Studies Network, a group of 18 American Studies Centers that operate within the framework of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS)is offering a half scholarship for a young American Studies scholar from an EAAS country to attend one of the following symposia that will take place at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg, Austria. Each of the two scholarships is for 325 Euro, which is one half of the symposium fee of 650 Euro. Travel expenses are not included.

American Studies Symposia at the Salzburg Global Seminar - 2012

1) Resistance and Readiness: Immigration, Nativism and the Challenge of Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the US and Europe Today - September 27-October 1, 2012 Distinguished specialists in the field will lead plenary sessions, panels and discussion groups looking at such topics as grounds for migration (push and pull factors), dichotomies between "natives" and "newcomers" and their significance in the US and Europe, identifies and distinctions between "they" and "we" as expressed in politics and in the art and literature of marginality, patterns of adaptation and integration -- and isolation, and the varied meanings of "tolerance". For more information about the program and speakers see

2) Screening America: Film and Television in the 21st Century - November 15-19, 2012 The symposium will concern itself with changes in the modern media and particularly in the film and television industries, and the ways in which film and television have reflected and engaged with America and abroad. In addition to sessions related to and the impact of films and television on individuals, sessions will explore their institutional effect on the arts, technology and politics of the US and ultimately their relation to the perception of America abroad. For more information about the program and speakers see

The ASN is sponsoring this award to acknowledge the important role played by the Salzburg Global Seminar in the establishment of American Studies in Europe since 1947, where the founding of the EAAS took place in 1954. Scholars who would like to receive the program announcement and apply for this award should send an email to Ms. Marty Gecek, Symposium Director, along with a brief cv and a personal statement about his/her interest in attending.

EJAS Special Issue: Wars and New Beginnings in American History

Rob Kroes and Jean Kempf, eds. “Wars and New Beginnings in American History,” special issue, European Journal of American Studies (2012).

War has been a defining moment in the history of nations and no more so than in the United States.  It gives the editors of EJAS great pleasure to present this excellent volume of essays focussed on the issue of American national rhetoric and American wars.  This volume is comprised of essays that were presented at a workshop on “Wars and New Beginnings in American History”, which took place in Dublin in 2010 at the biennial conference of the European Association for American Studies, or are invited contributions on the topic of American wars.
While these essays explore the rhetorical theme of renewal and rejuvenation they also add new insights into wartime rhetoric. This collection is well-conceived and the essays hold together in a clear, logical way, in great part due to the splendid work of the co-editors Rob Kroes and Jean Kempf. This collection clearly demonstrates the quality of the work being done by European scholars and their colleagues on the history of the United States.  The topic of war and America is, sadly, almost always current, which makes this volume particularly relevant and extremely topical.  I am sure that the readers of EJAS will enjoy this latest volume of the journal. — Jenel Virden, editor EJAS

Table of contents


The Irish Association of American Studies Annual Conference

The IAAS 2012 Conference will run from Friday 27 - Saturday 28 April 2012 in UCC.

"Registration for the Conference will take place in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences Meeting Room, on the ground floor of the O’Rahilly Building from 1pm on Friday 27th. 
"Please pay your conference fee (Students and unwaged €10; IAAS/BAAS Members €20; Non-members €30) in cash at registration, at which point you will receive your conference pack with full confirmed details of the programme."

For more information email and see . 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Call for Papers: Melville and Americanness

A one day international conference hosted by the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia on Friday 29th June 2012

Keynote Speaker:

Prof. Robert S. Levine, University of Maryland

"Melville and Americanness: A Problem"
In 'Hawthorne and His Mosses' Melville wrote that 'no American writer should write like an Englishman, or a Frenchman; let him write like a man, for then he will be sure to write like an American.'

This conference invites participants to explore the ways in which Melville's 'Americanness' intersects with current thought on:

  • Religion, Faith and Multiculturalism
  • Race, Ethnicity and Individuality
  • Masculinity
  • The Space and Place of World Art
  • Conflict, War and Political Divides
  • Romanticism and the Gothic
(Proposals dealing with other topics are welcome)

One page Abstracts for 20 minute papers should be no more than 250 words and include a working title and the author's name and email address.

Please email abstracts to Dr Sarah Thwaites by 1st May 2012

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