For the 2022 IAAS Postgraduate Symposium we invite delegates across all disciplines of American Studies to reflect on the twin themes of ‘rupture and repair.’ There have been many unprecedented and deeply divisive events in the Americas in recent years, as well as longer-standing issues of social atomisation, incarceration, gun crime and mass shootings, accelerated climate crisis, and growing social and financial inequality. Christina Sharpe has powerfully described how Black lives are lived ‘in the wake’ of slavery, and of the temporal breaks this creates: ‘In the wake, the past that is not past reappears, always, to rupture the present.’ Layli Long Soldier writes of how Native Americans and settler descendants ‘share a country but live in alternate nations.’ All of this leads to what Judith Butler has termed ‘precarious life,’ and a declining faith in the concept of progress. One of the definitions of ‘rupture’ is ‘the breach of a harmonious relationship’ – a concept that is ripe for exploration in our current context.
But rupturing can also be the start of a process of repair or strengthening. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick writes in favour of ‘reparative’ instead of ‘paranoid’ reading – a position that “undertakes a different range of affects, ambitions and risks” that teaches us “the many ways selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture– even of a culture whose avowed desire has often been not to sustain them.” We welcome proposals for papers that reflect on reparative change, the things that are salvageable from dark events and that sustain us through seemingly hopeless situations: narratives of recovery in film, literature and TV, protest movements past and present that are energising a new generation of activists, the creation of inclusive social spaces, or the consolations of art in all its forms. This includes rupture and repair of form and genre: as cultural categories peak and decline, we ask how they can be ripped apart and started afresh, with all the possibilities that new media, streaming and other means of digital dissemination present. We also invite explorations of historical moments that speak to rupture and repair or echo the issues of our present day.”
The IAAS is an all-island scholarly association dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary American Studies in Ireland. The annual Postgraduate Symposium, run by Postgraduates, aims at fostering a supportive and discursive environment for more junior scholars to share
their research, exchange ideas, and create lasting connections and networks.
All presenters must become members of the IAAS before presenting. More information is available here: https://iaas.ie/memberships/.
The 2022 IAAS Postgraduate Symposium will be hosted by Maynooth University and run by Andrew Clarke and Janice Deitner, co-chairs of the IAAS Postgraduate Caucus.
For more information, contact us at email@example.com or join the IAAS Postgraduate Discord: https://discord.gg/jasEAMKJ4b