from the Editor
The Newsletter is happy to include news from an Americanist in Iceland in this number. The Danish Association again supplies the NAAS newsletter with a feature piece and outstrips the rest of the North in reported lecture series, seminars and top-flight guest lecturers. Finland invites us all to Tampere for the 2007 NAAS conference. ASANOR’s students have changed their organization’s name and formalized their relationship with the parent organization. The Norwegians also provide the programs of a second joint conference with the country’s chapter of the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies, and announce that their endowment fund has reached the million crown mark.
Table of Contents
Selling the US: A Summer Institute at Amherst University (The State Department-Fulbright Program Summer Institutes) by Vibeke Schou Tjalve, University of Southern Denmark [republished from the DAAS Newsletter]
From the National Organizations:
From the Islandic Americanists - The Academics of American Sport Literature .……………………...… 6
The Americanist becomes NORSAAS …………………………….……………………………………… 7
Asanorians are Millionaires ….……………………………………..……………………..……………… 8
From the DAAS e-Newsletter, Ed., Jørn Brøndal
CBS …………………………………………………………………………………………………….….. 9
American Studies at SDU ………………………………………………………………………………... 11
ASANOR and NACS/ANECS Norway, Second Joint Conference .......………………………………….. 13
NAAS Biennial Conference in 2007 …………………………………………………………...... 17
SASS 2007 Call for Papers .......................................................................................................................... 19
EAAS Biennial Conference in Oslo 2008 ..…………………...…………………………………. 20
THE NAAS NEWSLETTER IS A PUBLICATION OF THE NORDIC ASSOCIATION FOR AMERICAN STUDIES
Editor: David Mauk Editorial Board: The Board of the NAAS
Editorial Address: The NAAS Newsletter, c/o David Mauk, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages (ILOS), P O. Box 1003 Blindern, University of Oslo, Norway
The editor uses Word on IBM compatible computers. Contributions of more than one or two short paragraphs can only in previously agreed on circumstances be accepted without an accompanying diskette.
Deadline for contributions to Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter issues: March 1 and October 1
The NAAS Newsletter is sent to all registered members of the NAAS, a Nordic association with chapters in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. There is a national chapter in each country, and the national chairpersons together constitute the Board of the Nordic Association for American Studies. The national chairpersons arrange to have the NAAS Newsletter sent to members of the national organizations by e-mail or regular post. To read the newsletter on the internet, visit the ASANOR website: at http://asanor.com .
The NAAS is a member of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS), a federation of regional and national American Studies associations. You may become a member of the NAAS by joining one of its national chapters and paying national dues and may then subscribe to the NAAS journal, American Studies in Scandinavia. The annual subscription fee for the journal is 200 Danish crowns ($35.00). Outside Scandinavia the fee is DKK 250 or $50.00. American Studies in Scandinavia, University Press of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55. DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark, Fax: int+45 66 15 81 26
The Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS)
President, Niels Bjerre-Poulsen, Center for the Study of the Americas / Department of English, Copenhagen Business School, Dalgas Have 15, DK - 2000, Frederiksberg, Denmark tlf: (+45) 3815 3170 Fax: (+45) 3815 3845 firstname.lastname@example.org
For Denmark, Jørn Brøndal, Center for American Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark tlf +45 6550 2190 email@example.com
For Finland, Jopi Nyman, University of Joensuu, P. O. Box 111, FIN-80101 Joensuu tlf: +358-13-251-431 Fax. +358-251-4211 firstname.lastname@example.org
For Iceland, Julian d’Arcy, Department of English, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. Fax: +354 525 4410 email@example.com
For Norway, Per Winther, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages (ILOS), University of Oslo, P. O. Box 1003, Blindern, N-0315 Oslo, Norway tlf: +47 22 85 69 73 Fax: +47 22 85 68 04 firstname.lastname@example.org Website: asanor.com
For Sweden, Anders Olsson, Mittuniversitetet, Härnösand Campus, S-871 88 Härnösand, Sweden, tlf: +46 0611-86162 Fax: +46 0611-86170 Anders.Olsson@miun.se
For American Studies in Scandinavia,
Per Winther, Editor, Department of British and American Studies (IBAS), University of Oslo, P. O. Box 1003, Blindern, N-0315 Oslo, Norway tlf: +47 22 85 69 73 Fax: +47 22 85 68 04 email@example.com
Arnet Neset, ASinS Book Review Editor, Stavanger University College, P. O. Box 8002 N-4068 Stavanger, Norway tlf: +47 51 83 15 24 Fax: +47 51 83 13 50 firstname.lastname@example.org
Selling the US: A Summer Institute at Amherst University
Vibeke Schou Tjalve, University of Southern Denmark
Should any of you find yourself with a spare six weeks of vacation to spend abroad, I strongly recommend that you approach the American Embassy and the Fulbright Commission for the luxury they treated me to this summer: a fully paid-for summer institute at a high-ranking American university. I attended the Institute on American Political Development, at Amherst University, where I joined 16 other international scholars with a background in political theory, intellectual history, or international relations for an intensive program of lectures on, and travels in, US political history. Besides enlightening me on the way Americans perceive of and convey their own intellectual roots, the summer was an exercise in how American politics is taught all over the world (and I mean all over: there were people from Malawi, the Philippines, Moldova and Venezuela teaching American politics).
This truly multi-cultural component of the program was worth going for in its own right, providing not only valuable professional contacts and a refreshing input to my westernized perspectives, but also some of the most weird and wonderful evenings in my life so far. Examples of the latter would be: a) the evening I drove to fetch beer with the Palestinian and the Nigerian who, after an initial rough start, came to be something like best friends and decided to pay the local gas station a visit dressed as terrorists just for fun. The remains of that story require more space than I have been allowed here, but trust your worst and your best imagination and you will still fall short of conceiving what took place b) the late evening (which eventually turned into early night) when I went for a run with my fellow Venezuelan participant and – after more than an hour of running – asked if he wanted to start heading home and was told “My name is Enrique. My middle name is Forest Gump. I run for two hours, three hours, fours hours. No problem.” That sentence more or less captured the scope of Enrique’s vocabulary in English (throughout the program he specialized in non-talkative social events such as swimming or chess playing) and so, unable to find my way back alone, I was forced to run the first and only marathon of my life in a dark New England night, no water posts, no crowds of admiring friends and family cheering.
Strange yet wonderful experiences like these have been the makeup of my summer, and as you can imagine, I am still trying to digest impressions. Little less than a month after my return, though, a few initial conclusions on the study of American political development in particular, and American cultural diplomacy in general, have begun to materialize.
”Americans Lack a Sense of Disaster”
The most important observation to be made on the program itself, both confirmed and contradicted the claim of Henry Adams: that Americans lack a sense of disaster. What Adams referred to, was of course the alleged inability of America to accept the depth of tragedy in human history and of evil in human nature. To judge from the optimism, and profound belief in progress aired in our lectures, I would have at least partly to agree (with something in the neighborhood of sixty lectures spread out across the six weeks I feel justified in making a few generalizations). It is striking that Americans still call it ‘the Enlightenment’, while Europeans talk rather of ‘modernity’ with all of its negative Foucaultian connotations of mainstreaming and imprisonment. It is also striking that all of our lecturers focused on what had, even in the darkest hours of American history, been its positive and productive outcome: on roads opened, rather than doors closed.
A second observation is the extent to which American Political Development is still studied as an exclusively American process. During the summer, we had the privilege of attending lectures by a series of outstanding scholars, all of them deeply knowledgeable and most of them unusually articulate and entertaining. I am truly grateful for having been given the chance to be enlightened by so many impressive people. For all their knowledge however, it is surprising how strong the exceptionalist trend in American academia still is. Intellectual developments were traced only to American ‘foundings’. Political ‘isms were treated almost in an American vacuum. And very few comparative or international observations were made. While my general impression from the summer thus remains one of admiration for the seriousness of American scholarship, I have also been taught a lesson on one of its limitations.
A third and final observation relates to the enormous attention given to what we so often refer to as the ‘culture of fear’. Almost all of the lecturers touched upon our present as uniquely dangerous, on the looming threat of terror and nihilism, and on the need for caution and defense. The legacy of 9/11 has clearly crept into the study of American political history, giving this both a more international perspective (which is positive) and a more nationalist impulse (which is less laudable). At first this struck me as a contradiction of Adams’ observation: today Americans certainly do have a sense of disaster. Having given it a second thought, though, I suppose this was exactly what he meant. We all tend to study that which we simply do not understand!
”This is a Pizza”
In sum however, I was deeply impressed with the level of American political science and scholarship. Never mind, then, that six weeks spent on the study of American Political Development, breastfed from the bosom of the beast itself, involves a fair share of blunt and blatant show-off. There is no reason to deny, nor gloss over, what is obviously and indisputably the only and ultimate purpose of a program sponsored by a state department with the use of public funds: to inform, persuade, and perhaps even transform foreign opinion about US politics and policies. From my point of view, this is a perfectly legitimate objective, and the obvious fact that 17 international researchers had been brought to the US for a reason never seriously injured the intellectual content or social relations of the program (or perhaps they simply won me over?). Even if a cliché, I do think that my (and most of the other participants') ability to accept exposure to attitudes of either oblivion about the rest of the world or arrogance towards it, had to do with the sheer innocence that fueled these. America, even more so than other agents of modernity, is a place of paradox: uniquely plugged in, and yet strangely out of touch with our globalized reality. How can you blame someone who, after just having given a lecture on the Americanization of the world, points to the table and says “This is a piiizzaaa. Do you have pizza in your country too?”
It is also part of the story that our American organizers displayed a good deal of humor when occasional blunders like this occurred. A remark by my very young, female Egyptian room mate Pitsy’s (whose alarm clock went off every night at four for her morning prayer!) – responding to a question about whether or not she had been surprised at her first encounter with the US – provides a case in point: “Not in the least bit! This is to the credit of Hollywood: they bring you real characters. The fat guy, the smart kid, the beautiful but over-exercised American woman, and the schizophrenic belief that the rest of the world wants to be like America, yet constantly has to be taught and educated about it”. You would have thought that the organizers, or the visiting scholar, would take offense. They didn’t. They just laughed and started talking about Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. In general, this was the atmosphere of all debate: of course there is arrogance and misperception. On everybody’s part – not least us participants. But to those who worry that ”cultural diplomacy” is simply a more subtle phrase for selling the US, my answer would be, No: it isn’t in the least bit subtle, and that makes it something all involved could freely and openly talk, argue and occasionally laugh about. I found this summer's program on American political history extremely well-organized, highly informative and personally enriching. I would wholeheartedly and without hesitation recommend that anyone offered the chance accept it. Go. Just because they’re selling doesn’t mean you have to buy.
Summer Institutes Sponsored by the State Department
Summer institutes are available on a variety of topics. The programs are sponsored by the American State Department (as part of their Fulbright Program), always take place in the summer semester, and usually span five to six weeks. Besides a longer stay at the university which hosts and organizes the individual institute, they all include longer excursions across the country for lectures or relevant sights. Each institute hosts around twenty applicants. Applicants are selected on the basis of relevance for curriculum development at the applicant's home institution.
For more info see:
From The National Organizations
From the Islandic Americanists
The Academics of American Sport Literature
Julian Meldon D’Arcy, University of Iceland.
Sports have played a significant role in American history and society and this is reflected in its literature and culture, especially more recently in the growing number of American films with basketball, baseball, golf, boxing and football themes. In literature, sport has provided inspiration for many of America’s greatest writers, e.g. the fishing and hunting stories of Hemingway, Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel, Robert Coover’s Universal Baseball Association, and Don DeLillo’s End Zone, just to name a few. Moreover, American universities and even high schools now have sport literature courses as part of their academic programs (just google “sport literature” for examples). It occured to me that members of the NAAS who might be interested in this particular aspect of American literature and culture may not be aware of the Sport Literature Association, which in two years’ time will be celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its founding and first conference (inspired and organized by the late Lyle Olsen).
The SLA holds annual conferences, publishes a peer-reviewed academic journal twice a year (Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, which also contains original sport-related poetry and short fiction as well as book reviews), and maintains an information website as well as an Internet discussion forum, Arete, for its members. The conferences usually last three to four days, are most often held in June, and are very relaxed and informal in nature with single sessions throughout so that everyone can attend everything (always at least 40-50 participants). Moreover, there’s usually a guest speaker, an ex-professional sportsman or sports journalist or novelist, and at least one afternoon and evening devoted to relevant entertainment, e.g. local sporting fixtures (visit to Red Sox game at Fenway Park in 2003), theatrical performances, or other sightseeing and/or sporting activities (white water rafting in Arcata, California, last summer) as well as a cookout and a banquet. It is also, as I have discovered, the perfect excuse for getting to the US and visiting parts of America one might otherwise never have an opportunity of seeing.
To give you some idea of the scope of SLA conferences, over the last two years (at Ames, Iowa State U, and Arcata, Humboldt State U) papers were presented, among others, on the following topics: African American basketball biographies, rhetoric in Spike Lee’s He Got Game, baseball in movies, women in baseball fiction, sound effects in the film Friday Night Lights, language in DeLillo’s End Zone, football in the fiction of Scott Fitzgerald and Ken Kesey, Hollywood and baseball babes, McLuhan and sports narratives, effect of Title IX on female sports narratives, women and swimming fiction, sports in Ulysses and Dubliners, sport as metaphor in Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, Australian rules football themes on the Sydney stage, sport in the fiction of Richard Ford, and female roles in Japanese juvenile sports fiction. There were also poetry and fiction reading sessions (sport related).
As the above selection indicates (e.g James Joyce references), the subjects are not exclusively American, though predominantly so, of course, and last year’s conference was indeed the most international yet with participants from the UK, Iceland, Australia and Japan. Next year’s conference will be in Saratoga, upstate New York (exact dates in June 2007 tba), and the twenty-fifth anniversary conference (2008) will be at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City (the Sherrod Library at ETSU houses the Lyle Olsen Sport Literature Collection of around 1,300 volumes). Current international membership of the SLA (including two journals annually) is about $55 per annum, but registration on the Internet discussion website on sport literature is free. If any NAAS members are interested and would like more information, you can check out the SLA and Aethlon website at:
Or you may contact me: Julian Meldon D’Arcy, Professor of English literature at the University of Iceland and editor of the SLA listserv at: email@example.com or Joyce Duncan, East Tennessee State University, Managing Editor of the Association and Editor of Aethlon at: JoyceD1001@cs.com
The Americanist becomes NORSAAS
The Americanist was both a student association and a journal of North American studies until the annual meeting on September 6, 2006. At the annual meeting the members voted to split the association and the journal. The association has changed its name to The Norwegian Student Association of American Studies, NORSAAS.
The journal will soon be established as an independent journal of American Studies, and will keep the name The Americanist. NORSAAS and The Americanist will continue to work closely together for American studies in Norway, and you may reach both the association and the journal at www.theamericanist.com.
Alf Tomas Tønnessen, Thomas Evangelin
Chairman, NORSAAS Editor, The Americanist
ASANORIANS ARE MILLIONAIRES
We did it!
Thirteen and a half years after the launch of the ASANOR Endowment Fund (which happened on the same day ASANOR was founded), the Fund has reached one million kroner in assets.
We did it because of the hope and vision of our 50 Founders who each contributed a thousand kroner in 1993-4 as an act of faith over reason. They established the legitimacy of the Fund, and ASANOR sends its enduring and profound thanks to every one of them.
Although the Fund has stressed the creation of revenue-producing assets, it hasn’t been all about money in the bank, Frank. By the end of 2006, the Fund will have awarded about kr. 120,000 in grants, and that means that the Fund has raised a total of 1,120,000, or about kr. 83,000 per year.
Awards have increased every year, and will continue to do so. In 2006, ASANOR has been pleased to expand its giving to include aid to one student’s year of study in America, a study trip to the Midwest for an established scholar, and support for the Norway America Historical Association. Of course these gifts are in addition to our permanent support for participants in our national conference.
If you aren’t now breathing too heavily to appreciate them, here are the numbers:
The Fund’s accounting tradition is to include grants in the next year’s report. Following this practice, the Fund’s assets would be NOK 1,005,584, a gain of 14.88% for the year (did you do as well in this challenging investment period?), an increase of NOK 130,308.
Well, actually, our assets at the time of this writing are NOK 990,584, a yearly increase of NOK 115,308 or 13%, because awards of NOK 15,000 are already deducted. We choose to pop the cork on Chateaux ASANOR One Million now (a) Because we have commitments for more than NOK 10.000 by the end of the year which will bring us over a true million again if the market stays steady; (b) Because of the accounting