COPAS: First Call for Thematic Papers on "Sentiment”; Deadline: Sept. 1, 2013.

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Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies (COPAS)
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COPAS: First Call for Thematic Papers "Sentiment”; Deadline: Sept. 1, 2013.
Our peer-reviewed e-journal COPAS (Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies), which regularly publishes the annual proceedings of the Postgraduate Forum of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA), is pleased to invite scholars of American Studies and related disciplines to contribute to our first thematic issue. Inspired by the recent move to our new internet platform (, COPAS now reaches beyond the previous scope in order to initiate—and participate in—theoretical and thematic discussions related to ‘the study of American culture, past and present.’
We welcome innovative and previously unpublished contributions from (inter)national scholars in their advanced postgraduate studies and beyond. Intending to bring together research from various different fields and angles, we open discussions on thematic spotlights. For our first thematic issue, COPAS seeks to explore ‘sentiment’ in American studies, our second thematic issue will spotlight ‘distraction,’ and the third thematic issue will delve into an investigation in ‘theft’ in Americanist research (calls for papers for the second and third issue will follow in due time).
For our first thematic issue, we encourage contributions opening up multiple perspectives on ‘sentiment’ from different methodological, medial, and topical angles in the broad field of American studies. Topics might include (but are not limited to) the following fields of inquiry:
• How are feelings such as, for example, anger, resentment, disgust, surprise, hope, trust, or pride entangled in particular aesthetics and politics in American literatures, history, and cultures? Which cultural functions do they fulfill and how is their strategic representation influenced by genre conventions, different medial contexts, etc?
• What is it that makes ‘sentiment’ powerful and influential—hard, if not impossible, to ignore? Can abstract concepts programmatically correlate to concrete emotional conditions, as Poe claimed for the interrelation between beauty and sadness? And if so, how and why? In how far is ‘the affective’ a category that determines the perception of as well as the susceptibleness to our surroundings?
• How are very specific formats such as punk rock, computer games, or public memorials entangled in creating, changing, and diffusing “modes of feeling” (Orvell 2011; cf. also Sturken 2002; Doss 2010)? Also, which role did medializations, the new media in particular, play in highly emotional political debates such as very recently, the Occupy Movement or the Tea Party?
• In addition to these issues, we intend to revisit nineteenth-century America, in which sentimentality emerged as “a national project: in particular, a project about imagining the nation’s bodies and the national body” (Samuels 1992), in order to complicate the approach to nineteenth-century sentimentalism as merely an indulgence in “tears, idle tears” (W. Dean Howells). Which cultural and political functions were fulfilled by the contemporary literary and cultural formats? To which extent did the medial idiosyncrasies influence these participations in political and cultural life in nineteenth-century United States? Where, how, and to which effects did sentimentality materialize (in its literal as well as metaphorical sense) in cultural artifacts that did not overtly feature in the sentimental movement?
The submission deadline is September 1, 2013. Please consult our online ‘Guidelines for Submissions,’ which provide a template file for download. Contributions should be about 5,000 to 8,000 words (excluding abstract and list of works cited); for further instructions, see

Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies (COPAS), Editors: Dr. Susanne Leikam, Dr. Sascha Pöhlmann, Juliane Schwarz-Bierschenk, Klara Stephanie Szlezák; Universität Regensburg, Lehrstuhl Amerikanistik/American Studies, D-93040 Regensburg;;;

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