British Association for American Studies Annual Conference 2017, Day One

While the programme jokingly suggested ‘Trump group therapy’ as a potential feature of the conference, a more serious assessment of the value of American Studies research suggests that multidimensionality and critical interrogation of cultural myths are more important than ever, given the current political climate in the US. The conference demonstrated the value of transnational and transcultural perspectives which do not uncritically accept a limited definition of ‘Americanness’, and instead acknowledge, explore and celebrate the crossing of borders through interdisciplinarity. Continue reading

Review: Transatlantic Creative Writing Showcase, Transatlantic Literary Women Series

Building on the success of previous events in the Transatlantic Literary Women Series, including a series of book clubs and an afternoon workshop, the writing showcase offered a glimpse into how contemporary writers have produced creative and critical responses to transatlantic interests across genres, generations and continents. Continue reading

Review: Scottish Association for the Study of America Annual Conference

Held at the University of Edinburgh, this conference brought together a range of researchers, based in the north and beyond, for a day of engaging panels and discussions. The openness of the call for papers attracted a variety of disciplines, representing exceptional new work in the field. Indeed, in a stark contrast to many of the issues and concerns discussed, openness and inclusivity somewhat characterised the day. Continue reading

Review: Transatlantic Modernisms, Transatlantic Literary Women Series

A particular highlight of the Transatlantic Literary Women Series so far was the Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop, an afternoon of papers dedicated to modernist female writers, and presented by esteemed female academics. Questions raised regarding American expatriate women and their often conflicted attitudes to homeland resonated with contemporary concerns, given the heightened awareness of Britain’s relationship to the rest of Europe and the United States following both the Brexit vote, and the presidential election of Donald Trump. Continue reading

Review: Bellows and the Body: the Real, the Ideal and the Nude

Inspired by and focused on the George Bellows collection—recently acquired by the Barber Institute—this symposium brought together international academics to discuss art and culture of Bellows’ America. Bellows was arguably one of the most acclaimed American artists of his generation and the most prominent member of the Ashcan School. The event brought together discussion of Bellows and his work with more practical aspects of curation and acquisition, providing a fascinating insight into the value and importance of the collection. Continue reading

Review: ‘My Dream or Yours? Make America ______ Again’, IAAS Postgraduate Symposium

‘My Dream or Yours? Make America ______ Again’, Irish Association for American Studies Postgraduate Symposium, University College Cork, 26 November 2016. The 2016 Irish Association of American Studies Postgraduate Symposium boasted a triumphant return to Cork following a number of successful conferences in the capital since 2011. The theme, ‘My … Continue reading

Review: The US and Us: American History in Britain in the Twenty-First Century

The framing question of the workshop was: how do we research the US from a distance? Andrew Johnstone, the organiser of this series of events, and holder of the British Academy’s Rising Star Award, drew together an impressive roster of academics, archivists, and librarians to help us answer that question. Continue reading

Review: American Politics Group Conference

At this year’s American Politics Group (APG) annual conference at the University of Leicester, the 2016 US election and the then upcoming presidency of Donald J. Trump hardly warranted a mention. If that sounds unlikely to you, you are quite right. Trump, Trumpism, and the ‘failure to predict’ were hot topics across multiple panels, across dinner tables, and in the inevitable post-conference drinks. The campaign waged by ‘the Donald’ and his subsequent victory inspired a diverse range of assessments and analyses. No doubt, this will be the pattern for years to come. Continue reading

Review: Bowie’s Books Conference

Few musicians, perhaps, have been so closely identified with literature than David Bowie. Marking just over a year since the artist’s death ‘Bowie’s Books’, organised by Professor Richard Canning and Dr Sam Reese, gathered scholars from a variety of backgrounds for an interdisciplinary conference on Bowie’s relationship with literature. Continue reading

Review: ‘Homeland Insecurities’, the Canadian Association for American Studies Annual Conference

Thinking of the Patriot Act, the extrajudicial killing of Black people by American police, or Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall, anxiety appears to permeate American society. With this in mind, the annual Canadian Association of American Studies conference could not have come together under a better heading than ‘Homeland Insecurities’. Continue reading