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MONDAY JUNE 22, 2015 - SUNDAY JUNE 28, 2015.

DIRECTOR: Donald E. Pease (Dartmouth College)
CO-DIRECTORS: Colleen Boggs (Dartmouth College), Soyica Diggs Colbert (Georgetown University), Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Northeastern University), J. Martin Favor (Dartmouth College), Winfried Fluck (Freie Universität, Berlin), Donatella Izzo (Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale,"), Eric W. Lott (CUNY Graduate Center)

Program Description:

The eighteenth year of the Institute is the first of a five-year focus on "Questions Worth Asking." The speakers at the 2015 Futures Institute are invited to address questions concerned with emergent, residual, and dominant formations within the field of American Studies. Each of the following questions will serve as the basis for a plenary session consisting of three invited speakers and a moderator:

  • What are the strengths and limitations to the digitization of American Studies?
  • What is Surface Reading? Why did it emerge? What are its strengths and limitations?
  • How has Afro-Pessimism reconfigured African-American Studies?
  • How have historical, cultural, and geo-political forces brought about changes in the periodization of American Literary studies?
  • How have financial speculation and state securitization influenced the mode of production of contemporary US Literature?
  • Why have US American literary studies scholars returned to the literatures of the Civil war at this historical conjuncture?
  • What are the new directions in Queer theory?
  • What are the new European perspectives on Trans-Atlantic American studies?
  • What are the new directions in hemispheric and Trans-Pacific studies?

The Institute is divided into plenary sessions that feature talks from Institute faculty and research seminars in which all participants present and discuss their own work-in-progress. Each day of the institute begins with a morning session in which plenary speakers deliver presentations of no longer than thirty-minutes that contribute to our convoking topic. These presentations are followed by questions from the participants. After a lunch break, the Institute's participants meet in intensive workshop groups (consisting of no more than 15 participants), each of which is led by a Co-Director of the Institute. These workshops offer those enrolled in the Institute—over one hundred scholars from a variety of disciplines and institutions—the opportunity for critical conversations about the central intellectual issues in their research.

The Institute welcomes participants who are involved in a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests. Their research need not be restricted to the questions organizing the plenary sessions.

The Institute was designed to provide a shared space of critical inquiry that brings the participants' work-in-progress to the attention of a network of influential scholars. Over the past seventeen years, plenary speakers have recommended participants' work to the leading journals and university presses within the field of American Studies, and have provided participants with recommendations and support in an increasingly competitive job market.

The Futures of American Studies Institute would like to thank the following institutions for offering financial support to students to participate in the Summer Institute:

  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • The CUNY Graduate Center
  • Duke University
  • Fordham University
  • Freie Universität-Berlin
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio State University
  • The Pennsylvania State University
  • Princeton University
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of Wyoming
  • Vanderbilt University

Last Updated: 6/2/15