CfP: 4th American Studies Workshop in Zagreb – The (Un)usable Pasts of American Studies

by admin on January 21, 2016

This year’s American Studies Workshop in Zagreb proposes as its central concern the question of the meaning of the past, understood as a living history, and its interaction with the practice of American Studies. The workshop will take place at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on May 14, 2016. The deadline for proposals is March 15, 2016.


Call for Papers
The (Un)usable Pasts of American Studies
4th Annual American Studies Workshop
Zagreb, May 14, 2016

This year’s American Studies Workshop in Zagreb proposes as its central concern the question of the meaning of the past, understood as a living history, and its interaction with the practice of American Studies. Even if originally the discipline lacked more consistent goals and methodology, this has changed over the years leading to an increasing number of overt and covert disciplinary assessments, positionings, and staking out of new positions among its practitioners.

This relative exemption from history and professed innocence of the past in the study of America was a myth that the revisionist American Studies begun to debunk already in the 1970s. With the onset in the 1980s of a neo-historicist perspective a new call for a return to history was sounded. It could be claimed, within reason, that the discipline has ever since retained an interest in its own past refracted through a historical consciousness of its object of study.

Taking as our starting point the abiding concern with the past, as a viable theory for the present, we propose the themes of the sense of the past, temporality, duration and historicity to mark discussions and exchanges for the 2016 American Studies workshop. The past as a theme in American Studies and related fields (English Studies, Postcolonial Studies, North American Studies), but also the past of American Studies and related approaches, as this year’s central theme is inspired by the research of Russell Reising, whom we are honored to welcome as our guest speaker in this year’s workshop.

The suggested topics include but are not restricted to the following:

  • methodology of literary history
  • literary periods as categories of classification and analysis
  • American historical fiction
  • genres of the past (fiction and faction)
  • transformation of the U.S. literary canon
  • philosophical notions of the past
  • attitudes to the past in American society
  • sense of the past in/of American Studies (English Studies, Postcolonial Studies, North American Studies)
  • periodization in U.S. cultural history
  • themes in U.S. American cultural history
  • “moments of danger” in U.S. American history (P. Lauter)
  • sense of the past in popular culture

Guest speaker: Professor Russell Reising, University of Toledo, Ohio, USA

Proposals for 15-minute presentations, of no more than 300 words and a short bio should be sent to the organizers, Dr. Jelena Šesnić (jsesnic at ffzg.hr) and Dr. Sven Cvek (scvek at ffzg.hr) by March 15, 2016. The potential participants will get final confirmation of the status of their proposal by April 1, 2016.

For non-members of the CAAS the workshop fee is 150 kn (20 Euros). The fee is waived for the members of the founding associations of the AASSEE.

The workshop is organized by the American Studies Program, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Zagreb, and the Croatian Association for American Studies (HUAmS). Co-organized and co-sponsored by the CSF project: A Cultural History of Capitalism: Britain, America, Croatia (HRZZ-1543).

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