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.
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.”