Rachel Sykes is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary American Literature at the University of Birmingham. Their first book, The Quiet Contemporary American Novel, was published with Manchester University Press in 2017. It is the first study to develop a theory of quiet as a narrative aesthetic in contemporary fiction and shows how, as a phrase, “the quiet novel” has a long and untraced history dating back to the 1860s in British and American periodicals. Post-quietness, they are developing new work based in contemporary feminisms, memoir studies, and popular culture. Their second book project, currently in the early stages of development, will function as an updated study of confession in an era of neoliberalism. They published an article on popular and critical use of the term oversharing and its relationship to gendered online identities with Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and they are currently writing about discourses of risk and precarity in contemporary confessional writing.
April 6-11, 2021
Call for Papers
We are excited to announce details for the British Association for American Studies’s 66th Annual Convention — its first to be hosted entirely remotely. For several years BAAS has been building towards an event of this type, in order to transcend the exclusivity and waste of our traditional conference model. Our plans have been pushed forward by our familiar enemy Covid-19 but are equally motivated by our twin concerns of environmental impact and accessibility/inclusivity. As part of the ‘Green BAAS’ agenda, we are committed to reflecting upon the environmental impact of our activities, and to making positive changes to combat climate catastrophe. The decision to host a virtual conference presents the opportunity not only to minimise international travel, but also to highlight the work of members working in the environmental humanities, and to reflect critically upon the culture of academic conferences. Furthermore, we hope that the reduced costs associated with a virtual event will facilitate the participation of American Studies students and scholars across the globe, and will help generate new and productive networks and collaborations.
We welcome scholars from all disciplines and time periods whose work engages with the culture, politics, society, and history of North America, the United States and the Americas more broadly. Proposals on any aspect of American Studies are welcomed, but we particularly encourage proposals that engage with issues of sustainability and environmental studies. BAAS is recruiting for a conference manager for this event. Please see the BAAS site for further details.
NYRB Classics: A discussion of Gaddis’s major novels, The Recognitions & JR, featuring Tom McCarthy, Lydia Millet, Joshua Cohen, & Dustin Illingworth
December 3, 2020, 5:30 PM
For the re-release of William Gaddis’s novels, The Recognitions and J R, Tom McCarthy, Lydia Millet, Joshua Cohen and moderator Dustin Illingworth discuss the enduring nature of these modern classics. This is part of an ongoing series with NYRB Classics, and will take place on Zoom. Register here: https://www.communitybookstore.net/gaddis
Event time: Monday, November 9, 2020 – 4:00pm to 4:30pm
Vinson Cunningham, staff writer for The New Yorker, will discuss Jean Toomer and his unproduced play from 1935, “A Drama of the Southwest.”
Zoom webinar registration: https://bit.ly/3nQEZb0
Toomer was, in Cunningham’s description, a modernist poet, novelist, religious omnivore, and occasional playwright .”
Cunningham joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2016. His writing on books, art, and culture has appeared in the Times Magazine, the Times Book Review, Vulture, The Awl, The Fader, and McSweeney’s, where he wrote a column called “Field Notes from Gentrified Places.” He previously served as a staff assistant at the Obama White House, and is based in New York City.
The Jean Toomer Papers in the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection at the Beinecke Library include notes, holograph, and typescript drafts of “A Drama of the Southwest.”
CALL FOR PAPERS
The Day Before O’Hara Died: Frank O’Hara and Friends
A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of the New York Poet, 50 years on
When: Sunday, July 24th, 2016; 11.00am – 8.00pm
Where: The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH
What: This one-day colloquium will bring together poets, academics and members of the public to celebrate the life, work and artistic connections of Frank O’Hara, the New York poet, art critic, film maker and curator (at MoMA) who died 50 years ago on July 25th, 1966.
The event is being organised by the North American Poetics Network of CHASE (Consortium for the Humanities and Arts South-East England) and will consist of 3 panels which will examine and discuss O’Hara’s legacy with members of the audience. Keynote speakers include: Geoff Ward (Cambridge University), Daniel Kane (Sussex) and (TBC) Redell Olsen (Royal Holloway)
There will be evening performances by contemporary poets whose work has been influenced and inspired by O’Hara: Andrea Brady, Prue Chamberlain, Kayo Chingonyi, Caitlin Docherty, Jeff Hilson, Sophie Robinson. Peter Gizzi and Anne Waldman will also contribute via Skype / Video.
Papers: Abstracts (~200 words) of papers (15 minutes) are now being sought. We are especially keen for contributions that place and examine O’Hara’s work and legacy in the contexts of his myriad friendships, connections and artistic interests. O’Hara was so much more than just a New York poet and we want the discussion of his life and work at this event to reflect this. So, although we are looking for informed and informative academic papers for the panel sessions, we would like these contributions to be pitched so as to encourage discussion and engagement with the audience (which will include members of the public as well as academics). In keeping with O’Hara’s style and poetics, we are hoping for a colloquium that is open and generous, serious and witty, conversational in the best sense. This will be the best way of celebrating O’Hara’s work and his legacy, 50 years on from the day before he died.
Note: A limited number of bursaries to help graduate students attend and / or contribute are available due to a grant from the British Association for American Studies. These will be distributed on a first come first served basis.
Deadline for submission of abstracts: Friday, May 27th, 2016
Please email abstracts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Organising committee: Ben Hickman (Kent); Jordan Savage (Essex); Nick Selby (UEA); Steve Willey (Birkbeck))
Saturday 14 May, 2016
GR06/7, Faculty of English, 9 West Road, Cambridge
Keynotes: David Brauner (Reading), Pamela Thurschwell (Sussex)
Defending his unadorned, realist style, William Dean Howells remarked in a 1903 letter to Charles Norton: ‘I am not sorry for having wrought in common, crude material so much; that is the right American stuff.’ Bringing together graduate students and faculty from the University of Cambridge and beyond, this one-day symposium examines the kinds of ‘stuff’ that constitute American life, asking what role ‘common, crude material’ might play in literary and cultural history.
Twitter: @AmericanLitCam / #camamstuff
Registration is free, but places are limited. To register, please email email@example.com.
08:30 – 09:15 Registration
09:15 – 10:30 Panel 1: Miniature Connections
Chair: Fiona Green (Cambridge)
Brendan Gillott (Cambridge)
American in Miniature: Models as Mereology in Charles Olson
Wen Li Toh (Cambridge)
James Merrill’s poetics of surface
Alexander Spencer (Cambridge)
Evocations of Walt Whitman in the Contemporary American Novel
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 12:00 Panel 2: American Collections
Chair: Kristen Treen (Cambridge)
Gabrielle Linnell (Cambridge)
The ‘mazed minds’ of Anne Bradstreet
Christy Wensley (Cambridge)
From Daisy Miller to Milly Theale: the American Girl as the Stuff for James
Diarmuid Hester (Sussex)
The Stuff of Fiction: Hoarding Manhattan
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:00 Keynote 1
David Brauner (Reading)
‘Speaking of himself in the third person’: Self-Reflexivity and Subjectivity in Saul Bellow’s Short Fiction
14:15 – 15:30 Panel 3: Grammars of Affect
Chair: Edward Allen (Cambridge)
Ryan McRae Arnold (Cambridge)
Life at the Yam Level: Race, Stuff, and the Cruelty of Optimism in Ellison’s Invisible Man
Mathilde Sergent (Cambridge)
‘Fuzzy Football’: Material Jokes in Lorrie Moore’s ‘You’re Ugly Too’
Lola Boorman (Cambridge)
The Grammatical Exercise in Lydia Davis’s Stories
15:30 – 15.45 Break
15:45 – 17:00 Panel 4: Virtually Contemporary Stuff
Chair: Kasia Boddy (Cambridge)
George Cox (Oxford)
‘…Since these were only words, they tasted like excellent dark chocolate’: Scatology, Sex, and Superficiality in the novels of Jonathan Franzen
Penny Cartwright (Cambridge)
A vast undefined anarchism: Politicizing Thomas Pynchon’s Internets in Bleeding Edge
Jurrit Daalder (Oxford)
Rough Stuff: Authorial Cruelty in the work of George Saunders
17:15 – 18:15 Keynote 2:
Pamela Thurschwell (Sussex)
The Writing on the Wall: Adolescent Futures at Centuries’ Ends (Jude the Obscure (1895), The Awkward Age (1899) and Ghost World (1997))
A collection of materials on the ‘Century of Immigration’ is now available. Collection materials include unique primary source material on the ‘Century of Immigration’ (1800-1924): a period when hundreds of thousands of migrants left their homelands in Great Britain, Ireland,mainland Europe, India, China, Japan and other Asian countries to start new lives in the United States, Canada and Australasia.Materials include unique diaries, personal letters, oral histories and journals; each narrating the intimate journeys and challenges immigrants faced when settling in foreign countries.