Timo Schrader is a PhD student and the Impact and Outreach Coordinator in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. He previously studied at Universiteit Utrecht, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, and Loughborough University. His current research project examines the various forms of community activism, or sustainable activism, in the Puerto Rican neighbourhood of Loisaida in New York City between the 1960s and 1990s. Based on this project, he is creating a visual companion mapping the spatial history of activism in the neighbourhood (http://loisaidaproject.com/).

Fault Lines in American Studies: Re-evaluating Academic Conference Models

In the first month of my PhD I read Barbara Tomlinson and George Lipsitz’s daring article on academic conferences in American Quarterly. “American Studies as Accompaniment” criticizes, amongst other things, the institutionalized, egotistical model of scholarship that prioritizes the scholar over the work or discussion:

“Because of the publications, presentations, positions, honors, and awards enumerated on it, the CV circulates out in the world as a strange surrogate for the person whose work it describes . . . The CV represents scholarly achievement largely as individual activity capable of being measured in quantitative terms. The work that scholars actually do, however, is innately collective and qualitative . . . scholarly conversations are cooperative creations, the product of collective communications in which all participants play a part.”

In writing this post I intend to expand on Tomlinson and Lipsitz’s reflections to make visible the flaws in our field with regards to conferences and, more importantly, offer feedback to postgraduates in the ways they can approach conference organizing. Continue reading

Review: The University of Nottingham Postgraduate Academic Retreat, 30 May – 6 June 2015

Timo Schrader and James Brookes, organisers of the University of Nottingham Postgraduate Academic Retreat, 30 May – 6 June 2015, look back upon the trip and its various strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading

500 Shades of Blues: ‘Bluesologist’ Gil Scott-Heron’s “H2Ogate Blues” as Meta-performance

For performance scholar Lesley Wheeler, “print exchanges presence for longevity, voice for script” but by including the audience reaction to an already recorded performance for “H2Ogate Blues,” Scott-Heron manages to pay tribute to the longevity of art through a permanent record while simultaneously honouring the presence of the poet in the original performance by putting him in dialog with a second audience … Scott-Heron refuses to substitute the importance of orality and performance that permeated alternative artistic cultures in the 1960s and 1970s, especially the Beat Generation, the Black Arts Movement and the Nuyorican Movement, for the textual condition that has brought artistic expression to the forefront of our everyday lives since the advent of writing and then printing. Continue reading