NAAS: 2nd Call for Papers: “Trans-Atlantic Resonances”

Dear colleagues in NAAS and interested scholars worldwide,
The program of workshops for the NAAS conference in Oslo on May 27-29 is almost complete, as you will see below. Proposals for these workshops or that fit under the general theme of the conference can now be sent to Those individual proposals that have already been received or that are later accepted by the program committee which do not fit within one of the workshops listed here will be grouped into workshops by the committee. (Proposals from graduate students competing for the Øverland Prize may be to the general conference theme or to one of the workshops listed here.)
All proposals must not exceed one half page in length with one-inch margins in Times New Roman typeface, 12 cpi, and must be sent as attachments in Word 2003 or 2007 to e-mail messages to David Mauk by FEBRUARY 22. See the above e-address.
The plenary speakers chosen from each of the Nordic nations and specially invited keynote speakers from North America promise to make this conference a rich experience. This time our band of exceptional experts will also meet with graduate students and their advisors as thesis-writing mentors. The conference site with all the registration, lodgings, social activities, and program details will be comking very soon.
Yours NAAS President and Local Organizer,
David Mauk
√1. Anti-Europeanism/Scandinavianism in the United States
Workshop chair: Alf Tomas Tønnessen, Volda University College, and Nina Berve, University of Bergen
In recent years there has been considerable discussion about anti-Americanism in Europe, epitomized by the European protests against President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. By contrast, less attention in Europe has been devoted to the way the people of the United States perceive Europe. In connection with the debate about health-care reform in the United States during the past year, opponents of reform warned against ”socialized medicine,” long waiting lists, and insufficient health care. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch expressed a fear of the ”Europeanization of the United States.” Many Americans are also suspicious of Scandinavian sick-leave benefits, high unemployment compensation, subsidized day-care centers, and extensive, paid parental leave. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of the Labor Party can win elections by repeating his famous slogan ”To create and share,” whereas few American politicians talk about sharing to the same extent.
                This workshop will analyze the magnitude of and reasons for widespread criticism of the so-called ”government paternalism” of Scandinavian countries, paying particular attention to resistance in the United States to the European/Scandinavian welfare and family policies outlined above. The workshop encourages papers that aim to put American anti-socialism in a larger context. Can the opposition to Obama’s notion of ”spreading the wealth” in his encounter with ”Joe the Plumber” be traced all the way back to the fear of big government that was evident in the rhetoric of the Puritans and Jeffersonians?
 How important was the mobilization of big business in opposition to Big Labor from the 1970s onwards to the decline of the idea of shared prosperity in the United States that seemed to characterize the U.S. from the 1930s to the 1970s. Is racism (welfare queens and undeserving poor) a factor that can explain opposition to downward redistribution? Is it a paradox that words like ”collectivism” and ”sharing the wealth” have such negative connotations in the U.S. when American society is also characterized by the high-school team spirit and hospitality towards neighbors? What roles do the notions of equal opportunities and American exceptionalism play as tools to explain why the United States refuses to adopt many of the policies and programs that are taken for granted in Scandinavian countries?
Send abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to and ..
√2. Ironies and their Dissonant Discontents
Workshop leaders: Michael J. Prince, University of Agder, Norway, and Colin Irvine, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Irony can be seen as a product of a harmonic interplay between multiple meanings within the same portion of text, and the tenure of this irony can shift rapidly in terms of intertextual / extratextual references, as well as the implicit polemic of the ironic rhetoric or satire. This panel will focus on this interplay in satire and parody in a variety of texts, including popular and canonical literature, film, television, popular music, painting and photography. Relevant issues include:
to what degree do the interpreters determine the message of the ironic text,
can there be an author-itative critique directed to a specific ideological target,
and to what degree does the pleasure of interpretation amplify, attenuate or defuse critique?
Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to Michael J. Prince and Colin Irvine .
√3. American Nature and World Cultures
Workshop Leaders: Werner Bigell and Mark Luccarelli
From Mary Rowlandson to Gary Snyder, representations of nature have always had a major
presence in American culture. Conceptualizations of nature are rooted in American geography and history and often linked to various aspects of American thought, e.g. individualism, naturalism, transcendentalism, and romanticism. Nature is preserved in National Parks,  managed and administered on public and private lands, experienced in the city, depicted in films, and is the subject of its own genre of literature. 
                    American nature writing does not stand on its own, however. Many immigrants brought and still bring their own distinct concepts of nature and uses of natural spaces to America. Furthermore American ideas about and representations of nature do not stay in America, but rather are spread to the world through the media. We are interested in papers that explore both immigrant and foreign influences on American nature, or how American nature is perceived, appropriated, and adapted in other countries. Where are parallels and differences in the understanding of geography, landscape, use of space, and environmental awareness? This workshop explores the questions of what is American in American nature and how American concepts of nature resonate in other cultures. We invite papers on literature, architecture, film, city planning, art or other genres where nature is a theme or setting.  Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to and .
√4. A Divided Heart – The Life and Scholarship of Dorothy Burton Skårdal
Workshop leader: Deborah Kitchen-Døderlein
Dorothy Burton Skårdal was one of the earliest and clearest voices for American Civilization Studies in Norway. Her book (based on her Harvard doctoral dissertation), A Divided Heart, examined Scandinavian immigrant literature in the United States. This work spawned many other studies and created much interest in Norwegian immigrant writers, in particular. She lived life with a divided heart, as well, feeling at home in both the United States and Norway and sometimes in neither.
This panel will honor Dorothy Burton Skårdal and assess the ways in which her life and scholarship interacted. This will bring together several who are involved in biographical work on her life and work. It will include multiple perspectives from literary and historical scholarship to documentary evidence and a filmed interview.
Speakers and Topics:
·         Orm Øverland: Dorothy B. Skårdal’s Scholarship and Bibliography
·         Lise Loken and Mai Lunde: A Divided Heart Teaches: Dorothy Skardal as Teacher and Mentor
·         Betsy Hanson: The Returned Immigrant Project
·         Polly Kaufman: Dorothy’s Life as a Divided Heart
·         Deborah Kitchen-Døderlein: A Divided Heart -- The Early Years in America
Moderator: Deborah Kitchen-Døderlein
Commentator: Plan to ask Knut Djupedal to comment and talk about the Emigrant Museum’s archive on Dorothy Skårdal.
Note: Orm, Betsy, Polly and Deborah have all committed to this panel and the topics. Lise and Mai are finalizing their plans still. Each speaker should have 20 minutes plus discussion. Total: 2 hours
√5. Working through the Trauma of the Holocaust
Workshop Leader: Željka Švrljuga, University of Bergen
Just like Saul Bellow’s eponymous character in Mr. Samler’s Planet, many post-World War Two writers, poets, composers, creative artists, film makers, philosophers and others have turned into “registrar[s] of madness” (1970: 181). From different vantage points, these mediators participate in keeping the spectre of the Jewish Holocaust alive, demanding that we consider a specific history in all its spectrality: as a past in the present and, possibly, in the future. Jacques Derrida pursues the trope of the ghost, proposing “hauntology”—the French homophone of ontology—to figure as repetition and a singular event (1994: 10). The ghost of the Holocaust (the recurrence of the past) thus haunts the creative output (singularity incarnate) as a working through and a warning, following the well-known Morrisonian credo: “This is not a story to pass on.” (1987: 275).
                The workshop aims to explore trans-Atlantic resonances of the Holocaust in American literature, popular culture, and the concomitant critical-theoretical debate. It solicits papers that speak to the issues of this particularly painful moment of history through the prism of textuality that brings it back yet keeps it at bay as a mechanism of working through. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to
√6. Utopia/Dystopia in Recent American Fiction
Workshop Leaders: Inger-Anne Søfting (Telemark University College, Norway, and Oyunn Hestetun, University of Bergen, Norway
Hugh Silverman writes: “Utopia and dystopia are fictions, but fictions we live by and project into and out of everyday life” (1980: 173). This workshop will explore developments in utopian and/or dystopian writings in the United States over the last few decades. While literary utopias present future worlds nourished by visionary hopes and desires, literary dystopias express our worst fears and anxieties, testifying to a diversity of problems that increasingly haunt our visions for the future. We seek papers that address recent developments within the genres or theorize the functions that utopian/dystopian visions serve. We also welcome papers taking a wider look, focusing on recent works of fiction that draw on utopian and/or dystopian elements, but that would not necessarily be categorized as belonging to the genre. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to and
√7. Workshop Proposal: Translocal Literary Regionalism
Stephanie C. Palmer, Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University, England and Cathryn Halverson, Asst. Professor, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark
Scholars of regional literature have long recognized that the writing is translocal and transnational. Yet the wider scholarly community associates regional writing with geographical boundedness, specificity, and exclusivity; newcomers to the writing often assume that it draws on a local tradition more than international influence, on the diachronic more than the synchronic. Even specialists, often committed to paradigms of national literary traditions, have downplayed such international influences in favour of readings attendant to class, gender, and race operating in one location. This panel solicits papers that look at various kinds of translocal influence, meaning making, or movement in regional literature from any period, with at least a partial focus on some North American region.
                Regional literature is translocal and transnational in a number of ways. The genres of the sketch and local color were international genres, practiced in England, Scotland, Ireland, Russia and elsewhere. When the Irish writer Rentoul Esler published tales of thwarted rural lovers in The Way They Loved at Grimpat, an English reviewer dubbed her ‘the Mary Wilkins of Old England,’ a moniker that structured readers’ perceptions of both writers, as well as both places. When writing about one place, writers draw on forms that have travelled internationally, and they contend with varying realities and expectations about how regions are governed and what literary and social value regional writing has. The writing also represents—or is even structured around—translocal influxes that change a region. Myths about U.S. regions circulate widely, and—arguably—stubbornly abroad. Foreign critics, far from dismissing regional writing as a matter of mere local concern, have historically focused on it as a way of understanding American literature beyond stereotypes of uniformity or Anglo-Saxonism.
                Essays might look at issues such as (but not limited to) transnational influence on a regional writer, transnational reception of regional writing, myth about a region operating in a translocal or transnational way, Regional writing and globalisation, regional writing and internal or external migration, regional writing and cultural diplomacy. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to
√8. Reception of European Culture in the U.S. or of American Culture in the E.U.
Workshop Leader: Jan Nordby Gretlund, University of Southern Denmark
What continent is setting the trends in the arts? Potential topics:
How are the novels by the American writers we have focused on in our courses, and perhaps published on, doing in Europe right now? Is there a transatlantic difference as regards the difficulty of publishing fiction and of getting any attention for the published work before it is out of print? What is the effect of printing books on demand only? Are American novels translated into your language, or are they marketed in English only? Are there local newspaper reviews of translated novels? Are novels from the Nordic countries translated into English and marketed in the US? Are there critical American reactions to translated novels? Why are some American writers considered classics in one country, but ignored in other European countries? 
                    What is the influence of American criticism in the arts in Europe and of European criticism in the U.S.? Is the music industry a truly transatlantic venture or is it dominated by one side of the Atlantic? Consider the reception of European films in the U.S. and of American films in Europe. -- Why does the U.S. make re-makes of already successful European films? Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to
√9. Pan-Scandinavian and Other Regional Ethnicities in the United States 
Workshop Leader: David Mauk, University of Oslo
Seen from an old stock American born point of view Germans—whether from Switzerland, principalities that later would be included in Germany, Austria or other German-speaking districts of Europe—easily became labelled as “Dutch” in the United States, just as the different Nordic nationalities found themselves were seen as indistinguishably “Scandinavian,” many Central and South American nationalities termed “Hispanics” or “Mexicans,” diverse Asian immigrant groups lumped together as “Asian Americans,” and Central Europeans all labelled as “Slavs.” And these were the relatively polite terms. Immigrants from the Middle East, at first dubiously white in the U. S. because they were thought to be Arab, won the legal right belong to the most favored race due to the fact that when their racial status was determined in American courts, they were overwhelmingly Christian and so were deemed culturally similar.
                    The labelling had various effects and a greater or lesser force depending on a host of circumstances. At one extreme, slavery’s gross limitations on human freedom and the repression of individual African cultures contributed to the evolution of a pan-African American culture. At the other, groups actively contributed to the perception (and eventually the reality) of panethnicity. Regional pan-ethnicities arose from within related immigrant cultures, that built communities together. This often happened if they represented small populations in particular localities and shared religious, societal, and historical experiences that encouraged cooperation there or even transnationally between homelands and the U. S. Variations in the intensity of immigration. Responses to it, and perceptions of race, class, origin or cultural similarity are among the major factors that have contributed to dynamically rising and dissolving resonances in the pan-ethnicities in the United States. This workshop welcomes paper proposals exploring these and other aspects inter-ethnic relations, within the country and globally. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to
√10. Science Fiction; Trans-Atlantic Perspectives in the 21st Century      Workshop leader: Robert Mikkelsen, Østfold University College
This workshop invites scholars to approach the field Science Fiction from a variety of perspectives; as a literary genre, as popular art form, as a variety of cinema, as a facet of virtual realities in games and online, as a lens through we may view the narrative construction of possible futures as well as alternate understandings of the past – and more. The aim will be to reflect the breadth, depth and connections between Science Fiction in the United States, Great Britain and on the Continent at the start of the 21st Century. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to Robert Mikkelsen by post to Østfold University College, N-1757 Remmen or by e-mail to
√11. Which American Studies?  
Workshop Leader: Ida Jahr, Culture Dept., Freie Universität, Berlin
American Studies is a trueborn child of a wave of interdisciplinarity which gripped academia after what was seen as the total failure of (German) culture of WWII. The influential pioneers of the field on both sides of the Atlantic justified their work by pointing to the urgent need for academics who, in today’s terms, “thought (and taught) outside the box”. In Europe the specialized study of America was justified during high-modernity by “America” being the future of the world, technologically, politically, and culturally. Out of these beginnings has grown a diverse set of institutions in Europe over the last 60 years, all dedicated to the study of America(n culture).
                This panel is looking for papers that explore the field of American studies in Europe and the interrelationships between the kinds of institutions created for the study of America and the knowledge we are able to produce. What ontological provisions has the label ‘American Studies’ historically put on the study of American literature, history, politics?
                Topics for papers can include both historical and contemporary concerns: (The history of American Studies in a particular Nordic or European country/ American Studies at specific institutions Nordic or European institutions/ Europe’s postwar turning from Germany towards America as academic ideal/ “Culture” as a framework for knowledge in academia/ Transnational American Studies – an oxymoron?/ Recent institutional change and its implications for American Studies. Suggestions for possible topics is by no means exclusive. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to Ida Jahr at
√12. Bands Across the Water: Resonances in Anglo-American Popular Musics Since World War Two                                                                                                                                               Workshop leader: Dale Carter, University of Aarhus, Denmark
This workshop invites explorations of Anglo-American popular musical relationships since 1945 in specific or general senses; in formal or contextual, musical or industrial terms; in relation to various genres (pop, folk, blues, rock, country, soul and more); and from one or more disciplinary angles.
Papers might consider the scope and limits of such relationships: either by way of specified artists or groups, or in terms of particular genres. They might explore the impact of the ‘British invasion’ on the US pop music scene or of American musicians on the British blues revival in the mid-1960s; or they might look at trans-Atlantic dynamics of the Anglo-American folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. Broader contributions might investigate what factors have shaped post-war Anglo-American popular musical conversations, or pursue explanations for their intensity, variety and/or fertility. In yet more abstract terms, participants might ask how best to characterize trans-Atlantic popular musical exchanges: in terms of hybridity, adaptation or imitation; mutual admiration or competition; invasion or resistance; imperialism, hegemony or resonance?
Contributions might, finally, address the relationships’ lifespan(s). In the age of the post-national, the internet, and the globalized, syndicated musical talent show, does it still make sense to speak of any Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ in music (if, indeed, the term has ever been deserved)?  Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to Dale Carter at
√13. Transatlantic Resonances in Political Culture
Workshop leader: David Goldfield, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
It is well understood that major events in Europe—the French Revolution, the European revolutions of 1848, the Paris Commune, the onset of World War I, and the Bolshevik Revolution, to list the more obvious examples—have had significant impact on political culture in the United States. This workshop seeks to explore, the impact of these and other major events on America’s political culture: how these events shaped political discourse in the United States especially with respect to the nature of republican government; how these events influenced legislation; how these events resonated in the political ideology; how these events divided or brought together electorates by class, race, and gender; and how these events played out in the political process in terms of elections and party politics. In turn, did these American developments resonate in Europe? Was there an interchange of discourse? Workshop participants may approach the subject from various perspectives, focusing on political figures, key decisions of law and legislation, election campaigns, political opinion makers such as journalists, travellers, and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic.
14. (Pending due to illness): Please contact David Mauk if you are interested in the incomplete proposal sketched here. 
√U.S. Uses/Appropriations of Africa
Workshop leader: Willian Marling, Case Western Reserve University
I propose a panel on U.S. Uses/Appropriations of Africa I have a paper to give in the area, "The Cultural Capital of the Child Soldier Narrative," and would be happy to chair such a session. I will be attending with my wife, Raili (Poldsaar) Marling from the U. of Tartu in Estonia. Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to William Marling .
William Marling, Professor, English Department, Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH 44122, USA Office: 1-216-368-2342
Mobile: 1-216-702-4543 FAX: 1-216-368-4367 
√15.  Trans-Atlantic Partnerships in War And Peace since 1945
Workshop Leader: Niels Bjerre Poulsen, University of Southern Denmark
This workshop welcomes papers on transatlantic alliances and partnerships – from organizations such as NATO to ad hoc coalitions and bilateral partnerships. The major focus will be on security policy (in a broad sense). Since World War II, the relationship between the United States and its European partners has been vital and held together by bonds of mutual interest. However, not least since the end of the Cold War, there have also been occasional tension and rifts. Some have come from diverging interests and priorities, while others have been the result of differing attitudes towards international institutions, the concept of international law, or the use of military force. The workshop welcomes papers on all aspects of transatlantic cooperation and conflict during and after the Cold War, as well as on strategic priorities for the years to come.
It also welcomes papers on the search for a new conceptual foundation for transatlantic partnerships. Historically, transatlantic studies have most often operated with an implicit “Other” – the third world, China, the Islamic world, etc. However, the increasing significance of new “South Atlantic” regional powers such as South Africa and Brazil is just one of several factors that might compel us to rethink this framework. )?  Send half-page abstracts of proposals for 20-minute papers to Niels Bjerre Poulsen at .
16. (Pending) Immigration and Ethnicity – Dag Blanck and Gunlög Fur
√17. And 18. Works in Progress – Students
Works in Progress – Students
We propose a two-fold offering designed to reach out to MA students, PhD students, and recent graduates. Advanced BA students will also find this useful. (Note that PhD students, in particular, should feel free to submit to any panel of the conference – and not just these.)
Student Papers:
Coordinators: Deborah Kitchen-Døderlein and NORSAAS (Mia Jønnum and Karolina Sætrevik.)
Advanced or recently finished MA and PhD students will present their work. Advanced BA students may also present. Each presenter will speak for 15-20 minutes. There will be an opportunity to discuss each paper at the end. Individual paper proposal should include the title and abstract for the portion of work to be presented, as well as a short letter from your advisor regarding the level of readiness for this panel.
Send E-mail proposals to (Please write Student Papers Workshop on the subject line.)
Works in Progress Workshop:
Workshop Coordinators: Deborah Kitchen-Døderlein and NORSAAS (Mia Jønnum and Karolina Sætrevik.)
Current MA and PhD students may submit a solid draft of one chapter for a workshop session. For this workshop, a paper or portion of a chapter (10-20 pages maximum) will be circulated 3 weeks ahead of time. Each participant would commit to reading all the other chapters and to present in-depth commentary one other student’s chapter. We look for students who want broader feedback. Send a brief abstract of the portion of work you plan to submit, as well as commentary about how this fits into a larger project. Please include a short statement from your advisor regarding your readiness for this workshop.
We also look for those at the professional level who are willing to provide additional commentary to one paper.
Send E-mail proposals to . (Please write Works in Progress Workshop on the subject line.)