Graduate Journal aspeers Calls for Papers on "American Anxieties" by 3 Nov 2013

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aspeers: emerging voices in american studies
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In her July 2012 Atlantic article "Trickle-Down Distress," Maura Kelly argues that anxiety might well be considered a "peculiarly American phenomenon." And in fact, the interrelation between American culture(s) and notions of individual and collective anxiety--from a sense of unease to the experience of crisis to full-blown panic--has proven to be a stimulating topic of interrogation. Accordingly, anxiety, understood not solely as a state, mood, or emotion but also as a phenomenon indicative of larger social dynamics and as a concept capable of performing cultural work, has continuously gained prevalence in scholarly debates.

aspeers will, therefore, dedicate the topical section of its seventh annual issue to "American Anxieties," seeking to further explore the topic and the manifold scholarly opportunities and interpretative potential it offers for MA-level American Studies in Europe. Considering the wide range of disciplines that engage with anxiety in its overt and subtle forms, the topic lends itself particularly well to the inherently interdisciplinary approach within the field of American studies. Moreover, many traditional and more recent research foci of American studies can be read as sites of anxieties, thereby shedding light on previously disregarded connections between them. The following thematic clusters, then, might spark but do not delimit ideas for possible submissions:

  • identity, culture wars, etc.
  • (un)reliability, concepts of truth, role of the media, etc.
  • terrorism, fundamentalism, conspiracy theories, anxiety as a disciplinary mode, surveillance/privacy, PRISM, etc.
  • sexuality/gender, homophobia and trans*phobia, crises of masculinity, post-feminism, etc.
  • nationalism, immigration, political extremism, gun legislation, the Cold War, etc.
  • body image, ageism, ableism, etc.
  • financial crises, poverty, class/status anxieties, Occupy, etc.
  • ecocriticism, global warming, health- or food-related panics, etc.
  • Civil Rights, hate crimes, the 'post-racial,' Trayvon Martin case, etc.
  • hysteria, phobias, madness, neuroses, trauma, etc.
  • artistic expression, sentimentalism, horror, gothic, the Other, etc.

aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed journal of European American studies, encourages fellow MA students from all fields to reflect on the diverse roles and meanings of anxieties in American culture. We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the seventh issue of aspeers by November 3, 2013. If you are seeking to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general call for papers. At you can find additional information as well as our submission guidelines.