Transgressive and Transgression

full name / name of organization: 
British Association for American Studies and Irish Association for American Studies
contact email: 
baas.iaas@gmail.com

Discourses of American Exceptionalism pivot effortlessly around the fulcrum of America’s position as an idealised other to the normative standard: the ‘city on the hill’ as disjointed from the normative valley below. However, contemporary American scholarship has been so bold as to tackle the ‘othered’ identities and constructs considered anti-social or nihilistic (as opposed to ‘exceptional’) by virtue of their disconnect which have long peopled the American narrative. Such demarcations beg the question as to what exactly denotes ‘exception’, and what denotes ‘deviance’ or even ‘eccentricity’. What does it mean to be ‘transgressive’ in the context of an America which privileges the concept of ‘exception’? And at what point does ‘exception’ translate into ‘transgression’? Is America ‘exceptional’ or ‘transgressive’? In a broader sense, as America’s international interests see an increased American military presence appear on the international stage, what does ‘transgression’ now mean in relation to America’s own borders, and the borders of others? And within American borders, how has recent legislation transgressed the boundaries of America’s ‘exceptional’ ideas of itself? This conference seeks to examine notions of transgression in all aspects of the American narrative.

The inaugural IAAS and BAAS postgraduate and early career scholar conference collaboration invites proposals for 20-minute presentations and welcomes papers from across American Studies. Suggestions for topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

- Transgressions of federal and state law
- Changing notions of family and community
- (Alternative) articulations of transgression in the American context
- American Studies as a transgressive area of inquiry (?)
- Revising or integrating transgression(s) into the American narrative
- Transgressive Subjects: Thinking class, gender, race, sexuality and disability

Plenary speakers: Philip McGowan (Queen’s University Belfast) Chair of IAAS
Martin Halliwell (University of Leicester) Chair of BAAS

Deadline for receipt of abstracts is Friday the 16th of December, 2011. Proposals should be emailed to baas.iaas@gmail.com and marked for the attention of Louise Walsh, Kate Kirwan and Zalfa Feghali.

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