European Association for American Studies Conference Ovidius University, Constanta, Romania April 22-25, 2016 Abstracts Adeleke, Tunde, Iowa State University, usa: “The Black American Experience as a Lens for Europe



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European Association for American Studies Conference

Ovidius University,

Constanta, Romania
April 22-25, 2016
Abstracts
Adeleke, Tunde, Iowa State University, USA: “The Black American Experience as a Lens for Europe: Prospects and Challenges”
The last decade has witnessed efforts to revise American Studies across Europe to incorporate hitherto neglected themes on ethnic minorities; a reflection of how Europe’s expanding immigrant population is impacting scholarship. The expanding demographic and cultural boundaries of Europe’s Black population has, not surprisingly, drawn attention to American ethnic experiences, especially the Black experience, as possible template for how to deal with Europe’s own growing and problematic ethnic minority populations. Several European Americanists advance the Black American experience as possibly “the lens through which one looks at Europe.” As “Black Europe” expands both demographically and culturally, European Americanists confront the challenge of developing a viable research paradigm. Can the Black American experience truly function as an adequate lens through which to study and understand Europe’s ethnic minority challenges? This begs another question: how much of “Black Europe” is American? How much of it is of recent African immigration (RAI)? How problematic for Europe is the racial and cultural essentialist slant of contemporary Black America? Are African immigrants in Europe assimilationist or separatist? Are they essentialist (racial, cultural) in aspiration? Or, is integration their overarching goal? How critical is the homeland of origin to identity construction among African immigrants in Europe? This paper addresses these questions and suggests that enthusiasm for the “Black American experience as lens” be balanced by awareness of, and consideration for, certain attributes of the American experience that might or could prove problematic for the European context.
Adelt, Ulrich, University of Wyoming, USA: “Black, White and Blue: Blues, ‘Race’ and the Civil Rights Movement”
The 1960s saw a reconfiguration of the blues music from black to white in its production and reception while remaining deeply connected with constructions of an authentic blackness. Blues and other forms of black music were featured as agents of cross-racial communication and civil rights. However, in the long run the increased whitening of the blues did not lead to a more flexible but rather a more rigid conceptualization of the genre and a commercially driven, nostalgic celebration of an invented past informed by essentialist notions of race and gender. There is an important connection between the racial politics of blues music in the 1960s and the struggle for civil rights by blacks in the United States. In the 1960s there were significant changes in the conceptualization of blues music. These changes were directly related to the crucial events of the Civil Rights Movement occurring in the same time span – the integration of schools in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education, lunch-counter sit-ins and marches, the Watts riots, the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, to name just a few – as whites began to embrace a safe and nostalgic notion of blackness which actual blacks were increasingly moving away from. Yet, there were also moments of resistance against narrow constructions of the blues throughout the 1960s. African American blues performers repeatedly challenged the labels applied to them by white audiences and promoters. In addition, the fusion of blues with genres like soul, psychedelic rock and country produced some innovative music. Although these moments of resistance ultimately failed to seriously challenge racially essentialist conceptualizations of the genre, they are important reminders of the continued relevance and power of blues music.
Aguilar Franco, Ana Cristina, University of Lisbon, Portugal: “Miguéis in Wonderland? American Multiculturalism through the Eyes of a Portuguese-American Writer”
This paper invites to discussion Miguéis short stories taking place in New York that portray atmospheres, scenes of Manhattan, including immigrant experiences of arrival to the United States. Through the bridges his characters build between their heritage and the cultural framework of the place, the construction of a new reality takes place. Born in 1901, in Lisbon, Miguéis flew to New York in 1936, where he earned the American citizenship in 1942, and lived till his death in 1980. This dimension is shown in the characters and the atmospheres he paints with words: John Kerr stresses the writer’s view of life in an urban North America setting of the world not differing from his characteristic appraisal of the human condition; George Monteiro refers to Miguéis as “New Yorker” whose several stories were “imagined by a dweller in a Manhattan apartment”; Gerald Moser highlights Miguéis work as a well-informed outsider’s view of America, particularly New York and David Brookshaw considers Miguéis’s power not only as an observer of immigrant and expatriate life, but as a commentator on modern urban American society and culture. In some of his short stories, as in some photos found in Miguéis Archives (Brown University), America is either the eldorado to reach, or the homeland of so many, where each plot represents the story of a group, a part of the multicultural whole that a megalopolis as New York is, and which caught Miguéis wondering eye.
Albert-Llacer, Mercedes, University of the Basque Country, Spain: “Signifying Youth: Critical Regionalism in the New Literary West”
By using a Feminist Critical Regionalism approach, coming-of-age narratives (Bildungsroman) or Girl Narratives such as The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver published in 1988, A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore in 2009 and Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman in 2012 reveal themselves to us as decolonizing practices. They acknowledge that colonization and the settler-colonial frontier is an enduring practice that persists in the form of neoliberalism since it follows the US imperialist paradigm. They overtly refuse to replicate settler models in regards of jurisdiction, territory, race, and class; but instead they pursuit to unsettle colonial and neoliberal maps. These girls’ geographies interrogate not only the effect of the porous national borders but also the metanarrative paradigm of the Old West or the West as America (Campbell 2000) in favor of a more complex diagram of the New West, one that produces decolonized and deterritorialized knowledges. This approach is very much indebted to Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak when they argue that a solution to go beyond the nation-state limits into critical regionalisms is through Global Feminism as well as to Krista Comer when considers the Feminist Critical Regionalism approach as a way to diagnose and conceptualize the transformations brought by today’s new configurations of place and the altered relations to the self occasioned by global economic restructurings while considering the locations of women across the Global Wests and addressing feminist issues such as precarity, mobility, security and power.
Alexoae-Zagni, Nicoleta, ISTOM / Paris West University Nanterre, France: “Yan Geling’s Fusang —“Fifth-Generation Immigrant” Writing as Transhistorical and Con-Temporal”
My paper aims at investigating a narrative written originally in Chinese (published in 1996), that was considered, even before its first English translation (2001) as challenging the canon of American literature, especially if viewed from the LOWINUS (Languages of What Is Now the United States) perspective. This stance that advocates a transnational expansion of the field of American Studies by adopting a multilingual approach to American literature will be put into perspective with considerations of what Tseen Khoo calls “a work’s multivalenced existence”, in order to delineate the multiplicity of real and symbolic cultural locations associated with Yan Geling’s writing. In so doing, my analyses will explore the ways in which, by taking up the subject of female immigration and sojourning and defying conventions of both North-American- and Chinesecentered epistemic practices, Fusang provides a thought-provoking induction into the problematics of contemporary Asian/(Asian) American configurations and crossings. It will be thus evinced how “fifthgeneration immigrant” authorship comes as an interrogation of processes of representation, narration and inscription, in a permanent intersection of familial, communal, national, textual and intertextual memories and realities.
Alfandary, Isabella, New Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Amfreville, Marc, Paris Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Panel: Memory of the Present, Part I
Panel speakers:

Samuli Björninen, University of Tampere, Finland: “Textual Enactment of Narrative Memory in Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Thomas Pynchon”
Emeline Jouve, Champollion University; University of Toulouse − Jean-Jaurès, France: “The Haunted Stage: Gertrude Stein’s Historic Dramas (1930)”
Stefanie Schäfer, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany: “L’auteur explosé: Cinematic Memory in Quentin Tarantino’s Films”
Alfandary, Isabella, New Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Amfreville, Marc, Paris Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Panel: Memory of the Present, Part II
Panel speakers:

Viorica Patea, University of Salamanca, Spain: “‘The End which is Always Present’: Modernist Notions of the Past as Declensions of the Present”
Claire Fabre, University of East Paris Créteil, France: “Re-membering the Present: Narrative Strategies in Contemporary Short Fiction”
Angeliki Tseti, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece: “Telling the Story through Others: Photo-textual Life Writing and Trauma Memory in Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project”
Tomasz Basiuk, University of Warsaw, Poland: “Edmund White’s Life Writing and the Mode of Reprise”

Alonso-Minutti, Ana R., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA: “Sounds Across the Rio Grande: Imagining Border Music”
This presentation takes the following question as a point of departure: how have musicians particularly in the U.S.-Mexico border communicated the tensions, disruptions, violence, alienation, hysteria, confrontations, and displacements of living in the borderlands? As musicologist and cultural theorist Alejandro Madrid says, “the notion of ‘border’ has been continuously re-signified . . . according to the changing relationship between selves and others, those on one side and those on the other side of the border. . . . [It] has been used to determine limits, as a line imaginarily drawn to separate cultures, peoples, and visions of the world.” (2008, 193). In this light, a border should be understood as a space of cultural negotiation and resignification; as an inbetween state of contradictory identity discourses, where traditions are constantly reconfigured. When talking about “border music,” I am specifically addressing music that has been produced by individuals who, to some degree, position themselves in a bicultural condition that embraces resistance and struggle, as opposed to coherence and consensus. In this paper, I aim to discuss contemporary musicians—from classical, folk, and popular traditions—whose creative output becomes a means to communicate the power struggles, notions of difference and disruption of living in the border. I propose to understand their musics as transnational cultural expressions that have transcended the physical limits of the border and reverted the meanings of north and south. “Border music” in reality, is music without borders; music that resists to be placed in any idealized or physical line.
Ambroży, Paulina, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland: ““The Third Image”: The Pleasures of Intermedial Influence in Charles Simic’s Poetry”
In his collection of prose-poems Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell, Charles Simic evokes the American artist’s aesthetic practice, which was to meditate on the heterosemiotic nature of the artistic imagination. Cornell’s art, often described as “visual poetry,” becomes for Simic a pretext for exploring the multimodal and interconnected spaces of the verbal and the visual. Simic describes his creative rereading of Cornell’s work as “the third image” in which art historical discourse and ekphrasis are reinvented and transformed into a new poetic rhythm “in the spirit of the poets he [i.e., Simic] loved”. The poet’s list includes American innovators such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, as well as the voices of the European avantgarde, with Charles Baudelaire, André Breton, and Marcel Duchamp in the fore. The poet’s engagement with Cornell via the transnational poetic and avant-garde tradition is also of an intensely personal character: the encounter with the artist’s work enables Simic to revisit his own past, i.e. that of a lonely Manhattan flaneur whose imagination is haunted by traumatic childhood memories from the war-torn Serbia. My intention is to examine the ways in which Simic’s texts and visual intertexts probe and break generic boundaries and discursive identifications, showcasing the pleasures rather than anxieties of cross-influence between heterogeneous discourses and media. Simic’s concept of “the third image” – which finds its inspiration in the tension between containment and freedom in Cornell’s shadow boxes – offers his readers a rich and personal insight into the complex exchanges between discursivity, visuality, figurality as well as personal and collective memory.
Amfreville, Marc, Paris Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Alfandary, Isabella, New Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Panel: Memory of the Present, Part I
Panel speakers:

Samuli Björninen, University of Tampere, Finland: “Textual Enactment of Narrative Memory in Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Thomas Pynchon”
Emeline Jouve, Champollion University; University of Toulouse − Jean-Jaurès, France: “The Haunted Stage: Gertrude Stein’s Historic Dramas (1930)”
Stefanie Schäfer, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany: “L’auteur explosé: Cinematic Memory in Quentin Tarantino’s Films”
Alfandary, Isabella, New Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Amfreville, Marc, Paris Sorbonne University, France (chair)

Panel: Memory of the Present, Part II
Panel speakers:

Viorica Patea, University of Salamanca, Spain: “‘The End which is Always Present’: Modernist Notions of the Past as Declensions of the Present”
Claire Fabre, University of East Paris Créteil, France: “Re-membering the Present: Narrative Strategies in Contemporary Short Fiction”
Angeliki Tseti, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece: “Telling the Story through Others: Photo-textual Life Writing and Trauma Memory in Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project”
Tomasz Basiuk, University of Warsaw, Poland: “Edmund White’s Life Writing and the Mode of Reprise”
Andreescu, Raluca, University of Bucharest, Romania: “‘That Which Is Unspeakable by the White Enemy Is Speakable by Us’: Examining Racial Tensions and the Failures of Law Enforcement in Joyce Carol Oates’s The Sacrifice
In the wake of the months of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri – triggered by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer who later on failed to be indicted for the killing – Joyce Carol Oates’s latest and provocative novel The Sacrifice (2015) invites analysis regarding the issue of race, racism and racial profiling in contemporary United States. Based on a controversial rape scandal which shattered American society in the 1980s, the novel exposes the racial undercurrent of an apparently integrated society, in an editorial move reminiscent of Oates’s early rendition of the ‘Detroit riots’ in her celebrated them (1969). By building on Oates’s most recent novel, my paper seeks to address these issues, together with other contemporary plights, such as sexual violence, police brutality, the limits of the criminal justice system and the abuses of law enforcement in black communities across the United States, family disintegration and the impact of media sensationalism on both the legal process and the actors involved, as well as on society as a whole.
Anisimova, Tatiana, Saint Petersburg State University of Industrial Technology and Design, Russia: “Poverty and Violence within the African American Community: Impact on American Architecture”

Panel speaker: African American History: Aspects of Racism and Violence, Part I
Antsyferova, Olga, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Poland: “Correlation of Fact and Fiction in Henry James’s Biographies: Moral and Aesthetic Vision”
Henry James is well known for his complex vision of the due balance of private/public in writer’s biographies. His views upon this issue found their expression both in his fiction (The Birthplace, The Aspern Papers etc) and non-fiction (letters and literary criticism). In the paper the problem is studied in close relation to Hawthornian views of the authorship and Henry James’s antistratfordianism. James’s inner negotiations with his literary predecessors are taken as the starting point for analysis of several biographies of (or biographical novels about) Henry James authored by L. Edel, F. Kaplan, D. Lodge, C. Toibin et al.
Arbeit, Marcel, Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic (chair)

Préher, Gérald, Lille Catholic University, France (chair)

Panel: Southern Specificities of Literary Genres, Southern Studies Forum Panel, Part I
Panel speakers:

Valeria Gennaro Lerda, University of Genoa, Italy: “Rebecca Latimer Felton and Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin: Memoirs of Southern Ladies in the Transition from the Old South to the New”
Constante González Groba, University of Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain: “‘When You Disappear in Mississippi, You’re Dead’: The Reverberations of the Emmett Till Case in Southern Autobiography”
Iulia Andreea, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, Romania: “If a Good Man Is Hard to Find, What about a Good Woman? Gothic and Grotesque Representations of Women in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Stories”
Carmen Rueda, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain: “Appalachian Women’s Autobiographies from the Margins: Crossing the Boundaries of the Genre”
Préher, Gérald, Lille Catholic University, France (chair)

Arbeit, Marcel, Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic (chair)

Panel: Southern Specificities of Literary Genres, Southern Studies Forum Panel, Part II
Panel speakers:

Roman Trušník, Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic: “Jim Grimsley at the Crossroads: From Literary Fiction through High Fantasy to Science Fantasy”
Candela Delgado Marín, University of Seville, Spain: “Southern Ecoliterature: A Silent Sensory Topography”
Irina Kudriavtseva, Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus: “The Short Fiction of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and Peter Taylor: From Anecdote to Epiphany”
Beata Zawadka, Szczecin University, Poland: “Swamp Is the Limit: The Southern as the (New) Western”

Ariton Gelan, Cristina, National Naval Center for Studies and Initiatives in Education, Sport and Traditions, Constanţa, Romania: “Jeannette Rankin - the First Woman Elected to US Congress”
The paper represents an analysis of the political activity of the first women elected to US Congress. Jeannette Pickering Rankin was the first woman elected to US Congress. She began her career in politics with involvement in the fight for the women’s right to vote. Her strength and her intelligence propelled her to the forefront of the suffragette movement where he led the fight for woman suffrage. In 1916 she managed to get noticed and gain the trust of citizens in a crisis of the entire world. Thus, standing as a candidate for a warrant in the US Congress for the State of Montana, won the elections, to the surprise of local figures, which kept her tiny. The work that will take place, Jeannette Pickering Rankin countrymen will win admiration, that materialized by obtaining a new mandate in 1940. During her mandates, Jeannette Rankin held a rich activity with political and social implications. Thus, she was the first woman to vote against US entry into World War I and the only member of the United States Congress which rejected the initiative to declare war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Moreover, she always campaigned for peace and fought for children and families with low incomes. Portrait of Jeannette Rankin remains a towering political actor in the world; she managed to get noticed in US policy sphere in a time when peace in the world was in a real decline.
Arnold, Wayne E., University of Kitakyushu, Japan: “Never to Return: Aller Retour New York and Henry Miller’s Shelved Epistle”
Among various designations placed upon American author Henry Miller (1891-1980) is the acknowledgment that his compositional output was nothing if not prolific. Miller’s novels, collected essays, prefaces and the biographical observations of his fellow artists were published, republished and collected in various forms throughout his literary career. Towards the end of his life, Miller’s creative literary output declined, and he pursued the publications of various personal correspondences or the reissuing of earlier material. One work, however, which failed to see republication was a lengthy missive to his friend, Alfred Perles. Written in early 1935, during an extended trip to New York City, Aller Retour New York (1935) is conceptually Miller’s most biting critique of American culture, second only to The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945). Originally published by the Parisian Obelisk Press, in 150 copies, it was again privately published in 1945, in 500 copies. When considering Miller’s tendency to republish his prior works of limited press, the question arises as to why Aller Retour did not see republication again until 1991, the centennial of Miller’s birth. Miller’s biographers have often attributed the anti-Semitic undertones of the work for the lack of republication. Such hypotheses have valid grounds; however, and primarily dependent on my archive research, I will elucidate how Miller made multiple efforts to republish Aller Retour. Examining the various avenues through which Miller attempted—and at times was hesitant—to republish this work will help bring new understanding to Miller’s personal connection to this literary work.
Auböck, Tobias, University of Innsbruck, Austria: “Two Versions of the Truth: Class and Perspective in Early Modern Captivity Narratives from North Africa”
The loss of the battleship USS Philadelphia was the worst defeat the United States had to suffer during the first Barbary War between 1801 and 1805. American readers eagerly awaited firsthand accounts from the frontlines of this heatedly debated conflict. This led to one of the very few cases in the history of Barbary Coast captivity where more than one narrative was published about the same event. The two texts under closer analysis in this study were written by Jonathan Cowdery, an officer on the ship, and William Ray, a common sailor. In Ray’s account, he portrays the harsh lives of the common captive in Tripoli, something that is distortedly represented in Cowdery’s narrative. In miniature, these narratives hint at a deeper issue that underlies most, if not all, accounts of captivity in Northern Africa: subjective or even fictionalized experience is represented and often received as objective and factual observation. This in turn directly influences future captives, their narratives, and, by extension, the contemporary readership. The existence of conflicting accounts, such as Cowdery’s and Ray’s, sheds light on these complex mechanisms of representation and reception. This is only intensified by the simultaneous emergence of American prose fiction, which had a tremendous influence on many of these writers, and especially on Ray, who turned out to be an aspiring author. Examining these overlapping influences not only provides insight into the nature of the genre of captivity narratives, which blurs the lines between fact and fiction like almost no other, but also helps understanding the great impact it had on American culture as a whole.
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