UdS American Studies Graduate Forum

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UdS American Studies Graduate Forum 2020

Distance and Diversity in Times of Crisis: Literary Expressions and Artistic Responses

October 15-17, 2020

In cooperation with the German-American Institute Saarland, the Chair of North American Literary and Cultural Studies at Saarland University (UdS) will hold a 3-day American Studies Graduate Forum that invites advanced Master students, doctoral students, as well as advanced scholars to present their current projects-in-progress in a workshop-style setting. The forum will offer participants a chance to discuss their research with peers as well as with experienced scholars. This year, we invite submissions dealing with issues of diversity, distance, and crisis.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become catchwords in the past years, but the current pandemic has put these issues in stark relief, as it has become clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting disadvantaged groups. New perspectives are emerging as this health crisis has aggravated disparities, shining a light on more subtle forms of diversity, such as issues surrounding child-care and caregivers. The current pandemic has exposed deep social divisions in our societies, drawing the attention to the many challenges of marginalized communities.

The imposed actions to prevent the spread of the virus, summarized under the catchphrase ‘social distancing,’ have aimed at ensuring a minimum physical interpersonal distance, often engendering a side effect of increased onerous and stressful situations, leading, in turn, to affective, emotive, and emotional distance and re-orientations. At the same time, as people all over the world are struggling with the very perceptible and experienceable force of this ‘social distancing,’ global distances have been dismantled and the world has moved more closely together in the virtual world, as the offer of online events increased considerably.

The UdS American Studies Graduate Forum 2020 offers a setting in which a decidedly humanities-driven, cultural studies and literature studies approach to issues of distance and diversity in times of crisis will be discussed. Focusing on literary and artistic expressions of and reactions to various forms of crises, ecological crises as well as health crises, this workshop seeks to highlight cultural representations that call for gender and racial equity, and a commitment to LGBTIQ issues.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially in our current pandemic times
  • distancing & forms of artistic/artivist expressions
  • the impact of physical distancing on disadvantaged communities
  • coming to terms with crisis-inflicted traumas
  • emerging (virtual) community-building practices
  • distancing & new forms of protest
  • cancel culture & identity politics

In order to submit a proposal, please send an email, including a title, a 250-word abstract, and a short biographical note to amerikanistik(at)mx.uni-saarland.de by September 10, 2020.

Conference Program

The program for our ASGF2020 "Distance & Diversity" is finally out! You can download it here!

Book of Abstracts

If you want a sneak preview on what to expect during this year's ASGF2020 "Distance & Diversity," have a look at our book of abstracts!

... and don't forget to register both for on-line and on-site events!

Conference Poster


Presentations should be approximately 20 minutes in length and will be followed by a discussion and feedback round with all participants and experts. Saarland U will seek to offer assistance in travel funding to selected presenters; recipients of the funding will be selected based on their proposals.

In order to submit a proposal, please send an email, including a title, a 250-word abstract and a short biographical note to amerikanistik(at)mx.uni-saarland.de by September 10, 2020.

Download the Call for Papers here.