List of Panaels

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List of Panaels
PANEL 1

1) “When the Music Stops… Things Will Be Complicated»: Post-Great Recession US or the Decade of Morbid Neoliberalism”

Panel Chair: Fabián Orán Llarena Institution: Universidad de la Laguna

 

E-mail: forallar@ull.edu.es

The title of the panel makes reference to City Group CEO Chuck Prince’s infamous statement in July 2007, when he foreshadowed the financial crisis that would unleash in a few months—and that would lead the US Federal Government to bailing out City Group along with other mammoth financial institutions.

While the Great Recession in the US nominally ended between 2011 and 2012, the myriad crises it either initiated or deepened persisted throughout the decade. Many an observer, relying on Antonio Gramsci’s insights, has defined the post-Great Recession years as an interregnum—a period where prevailing hegemonies lose ground and new worldviews fail to fill in the vacuum of legitimacy, favoring a climate of despair and angst. Neoliberalism and its political rationalities—primacy of financial sectors, labor flexibility, globalized flows of capital, disregard for egalitarianism and equality—played a pivotal role in bringing about the financial meltdown and its painful ramifications to housing, wages, and jobs. And yet, despite mildly Neo-Keynesian stabilization, a set of systemic reforms never took place—let alone an overhauling of neoliberal capitalism. This is what political scientist Colin Crouch has called the «strange non-death of neoliberalism,» in that the 2010s saw the perpetuation of a politics thoroughly discredited that, nonetheless, continued to shape the US economy throughout the decade.

This panel invites contributions that shed light on the normalization of crisis, that is, on all those fractures and malaises caused and/or worsened by the Great Recession which were not, by any means, overcome by macroeconomic stabilization but, rather, have gone chronic and become part of the social fabric—poverty, the hollowing-out of the middle class, income inequality or structural racism, among others. We welcome papers analyzing films, literary texts, graphic narratives, TV series, and life narratives that portray the way the post-Great Recession context is one where the conditions of the crisis and the precarity wrought by neoliberal politics are integral (i.e., «normal») components of the socioeconomic landscape.

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PANEL 2

2) «Abnormal Houses as Sanctuary in US Literature»

Panel Chair: Cristina Alsina Rísquez, Universitat de Barcelona

 

E-mail: alsina@ub.edu 

US literature is ripe with examples of houses that do not meet the requirements to become «normal» homes because, far from being the haven which offers protection from the world, they have become places of discomfort and pain. Beloved’s spiteful house, the homicidal suburban house in Rabe’s Sticks and Bones, the menacing houses that pepper the road south of the father and son in McCarthy’s The Road serve as examples. The unlivability of those houses can be the result precisely of the demands involved in the hegemonic definition of American house and of American feelings of belongingness.

This panel invites papers that will explore examples of alternative/abnormal houses/homes/dwelling places to be found in US literature that challenge our preconceptions of what a home/house ought to be like. We are interested in the analysis of houses/homes/dwellings that move beyond the unquestionability of the normative households and of the social and economic demands they generate and which, in so doing, engage in what Paula Geyh refers to as unhousing, that is, a movement to the margins of the relatively stable structures of society and the deconstructing of a unitary, grounded subjectivity. We are interested in how these new dwelling places become spaces from which to rethink both the houses we live in and the human organizations that emerge from them, and suggest alternative ways to live more habitable, healthier existences that allow for new, freer subjectivities.

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PANEL 3

3) «Questioning the Normalcy of the Domestic Space in American Literature»

Panel Chair: Rodrigo Andrés, Universitat de Barcelona

 

E-mail: rodrigoandres@ub.edu 

Three key concepts in the title of the 2023 SAAS conference are (ab)normalcy, return, and temporality («past, present, and future»). This panel will focus on the idea(l) of the domestic space in order to ask questions such as: what is/would be a normal house and/or household in the first place?, how and why does one return to the memories of the houses one inhabited in the past, and how are houses haunted by the remains (in the form of objects/things or of architectonic decisions and spatial arrangements) of former dwellers?, and, finally, how do houses themselves, with the spaces they generate as well as with their decorative elements, trouble the linearity of an evolutionary temporality that goes (necessarily) (straight) from past to future? American literature is an incredibly rich site to explore these and other questions about living spaces. Authors such as Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emily Dickinson, Kate Chopin, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Charles W. Chesnutt, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, John Updike, John Cheever, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Sandra Cisneros, Yaa Gyasi, Stephanie Powell Watts, Marilynne Robinson, Barbara Kingsolver, and Alison Bechdel, to name but a few, have provided us narratives that directly question discourses of «normal» domestic spaces, households, and familiar and familial living arrangements. Oftentimes they have done so by paying special attention to factors such as social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, regionality, age, and (dis)ability. The panel invites contributions on these topics and will also, of course, be open to the panelists’ incorporation of other authors and other texts that make us think of the possibilities of questioning the «normal» through the literary analysis of the relationship between domestic spaces and the lives lived in them.

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PANEL 4

4) «Disposable Bodies: Textual and Visual Narratives that Challenge the (Ab)Normalcy of Human Waste»

Panel Chair: Rocío Cobo Piñero, Universidad de Sevilla

 

E-mail: rociocobo@us.es

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the historical vulnerability and precarity of non-normative bodies in the United States, with a higher percentage of deaths among marginalized neighborhoods. As collateral damage of the economic advancement and the new global social order, there are whole communities that are turned into human waste. Among these, there are bodies traversed by processes of racialization, migration, sexualization, and dissident gender expressions. All these groups are frequently considered disposable lives, commodified, controlled, dispossessed, and often treated with extreme violence. This panel seeks to explore the textual and visual representations of the multiple forms in which non-normative bodies become othered in the United States, and consequently, stigmatized and disposable. But also, the manifold ways in which these othered bodies challenge the dominant representations by advocating for new forms of interdependencies and cultures of empathy and affect.

Prospective presenters are encouraged to submit proposals that might address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Narratives of human waste: past, present, and future
  • (De)constructing disposable bodies
  • Feminist responses to discourses of waste and disposability
  • The Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality
  • Queer bodies and forms of resilience
  • Politics and grammars of exclusion
  • Cultures of empathy and affect
  • Resignification of value: precarity and beyond
  • New forms of interdependencies
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PANEL 5

5) (Ab)normalcy in the American West: Has the West Ever Been «Normal»?

Panel Chairs: Jesús Ángel González, Amaia Ibarraran-Bigalondo, Universidad de Cantabria, Universidad del País Vasco (UPV-EHU)

 

E-mail: gonzalezja@unican.es, amaia.ibarraran@ehu.eus 

The American West has always been a contested space, the place where civilization and wilderness met in the well-known formulation of critics like Will Wright or John Cawelti. These scholars explained how the Western genre extended this contrast to other dichotomies, like order/anarchy, America/Europe, garden/desert, town/wilderness, individual/community, and cowboy versus Indians. We would like to add the contrast normalcy/abnormalcy to this set of conflicting concepts in order to consider the different contradictions and paradoxes that make up the contemporary West and the different representations that it has received in the media, from celebrations of the Western myth to more recent counter-hegemonic discourses.

Topics and areas of study might include (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • Discourses of the (ab)normal in the American West
  • Migration and the national normalcy in the American West
  • Poverty and inequality as normalized abnormalities in the American West
  • Discourses of environmental pollution and degradation in the American West
  • Healing, recovery, and growth narratives in the American West
  • Normalcy, American exceptionalism, and the American West
  • (Ab)normal sexualities in the American West
  • Gender claims and gender divisions in the American West
  • The «New Normal» in the American West
  • «Weird Westerns»: Race, Gender, Genre
  • Native Americans and (ab)normalcy
  • Western films and (ab)normalcy
  • Transnational Wests and (ab)normalcy
  • (Ab)normalcy and the West in social media
  • The myth of the West and (ab)normalcy
  • (Ab)normal representations of the American West in comics and graphic novels.
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PANEL 6

6) «(Ab)Normal Humor? Literary/Cultural Manifestations and Interpretations of Humor in the US (and Beyond)»

Panel Chair: Carolina Núñez-Puente, Universidade da Coruña

 

E-mail: c.nunez@udc.es

In the last few years, the term «normal» has acquired positive connotations. This is understandable given the COVID-19 crisis and the generalized wish to return to a pre-pandemic state. Nonetheless, as denounced by feminism, queer theory, and other schools of thought, the word «normal» also has connotations that can be negative if not detrimental to the so-called «abnormal.» The OED defines «normal» as being «physically and mentally sound,» «heterosexual» and even «rectangular»; «abnormal,» as one would expect, is thus something/someone «that is undesirable or prejudicial» and that reveals as «contrary to the … system» among other abnormalities. In this state of affairs, should humor be deemed normal (e.g., as an ally of health) or abnormal (e.g., as a tool of dissent)?

Regarding classic scholarship, if Bergson (1911) thinks that humor is a social corrective, Bakhtin (1965) celebrates its potential for social protest; for today’s scholars, although humor seems to be a «normal» feature of postmodern literature (Fernández Santiago 2003), not all forms of comicality are necessarily «healthy» (Núñez-Puente 2020). Therefore, it appears that humor is a complex, controversial, and captivating topic that invites inquiry, for instance, in the following areas:

  • «High culture»: what are authors, readers, directors, and publics laughing at nowadays? Is there a change in the pre- and post-pandemic production and reception of humor?
  • «Popular culture»: how does the humor used in social networks, TV shows, etc. help us bear the current sanitary and other crises? Do these forms of humor influence the (ab)normalization of society?
  • Theoretical perspectives: when approaching humor, should we be moral, amoral, immoral or ethicist? For instance, can certain jokes (featuring racism, ableism, etc.) contribute to normalize injustice and so deserve to be banished?
  • Comparative analyses: has the US’s socio-economic and cultural projection normalized the ways different ethnicities make humor around the world?

Works Cited

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Translated by Helene Iswolsky, M.I.T, 1965.

Bergson, Henri. Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. Translated by Cloudesley Brereton and Fred Rothwell, MacMillan, 1911.

Fernández Santiago, Miriam. The (Il)Logics of Postmodern Humor. Universidad de Huelva, 2003.

«Humour.» Oxford English Dictionary, 2021,

Núñez-Puente, Carolina. «Humor, Gender, and Sex(uality) in Text and Film: Incredible Shrinking Men from Mark Twain to Lorrie Moore.» Lectora: Revista de dones i textualitat, no. 26, 2020, pp. 133-50.

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PANEL 7

7) Posthumanism and the Return to Normal: Questions and Challenges

Panel Chair: Sonia Baelo-Allué, Universidad de Zaragoza

 

E-mail: baelo@unizar.es

The Humanistic ideal of «Man» as the measure of all things is captured in Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, a model of masculine bodily perfection and the emblem of Humanism. This classic humanist model of human perfection reduces those who do not fit the mainly white, Western, handsome, able-bodied, heterosexual ideal «to the less than human status of disposable bodies» (Braidotti 2013: 15). The posthuman conception of what it means to be human deviates from Humanism’s restricted idea of the human as it rejects the self-centered individualism of the human subject and sees the organic body, the machine, and other material forms as relational, co-evolving and interdependent.

If the norm in the classic humanist model of «Man» is defined by the lack of markers of bodily difference such as sex, race, and ethnicity, what would a «return to normalcy» entail in our present context? Does the narrative of the «return to normalcy» reveal a discourse that advocates the conception of the human as autonomous and self-willed, dominating other life forms and defined by his exceptionality, rational thinking, uniqueness, and distinction from other life forms? Is it a return to the times when there was a clear body-mind distinction in which the mind held rationality and was the key to the human condition?

This panel welcomes proposals that approach the «return to normal» from a (post)human perspective and that explore what being posthuman entails in the context of the 21st century and in contemporary literary, filmic, and other artistic representations.

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PANEL 8

8) «The Soundtrack of (Ab)Normalcy»

Panel Chair: Ángel Chaparro Sainz, Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU)

 

E-mail: angel.chaparro@ehu.eus 

In this panel, we propose an approach to the contrast normalcy/abnormalcy and the redefinition of normalcy in these agitated times in the United States through the lenses of popular musical production. From the West coast (and the ramifications, mutations and revisions of the Western myth) to the East coast (and the bond and talk with the other side of the pond), from South to North, we seek proposals that can deal with a vast range of music genres, periods and generations; in a variety of perspectives and with different thematic interests; but always considering how songs, lyrics and artists have contributed to the ongoing conversation on what that «return to normal» means.

Possible lines of inquiry are the following:

  • Discourses of the (ab)normal in American popular music
  • Migration and the national normalcy in American popular music
  • Poverty and inequality as normalized abnormalities in American popular music
  • Discourses of environmental pollution and degradation in American popular music
  • Healing, recovery, and growth narratives in American popular music
  • (Ab)normal sexualities in American popular music
  • Gender claims and gender divisions in American popular music
  • The «New Normal» in American popular music
  • Race, gender, genre in American popular music
  • Revisions of the Mythic West in American popular music
  • American popular music and politics
  • The return to normalcy in the music business
  • Transnational and international connections in popular music
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PANEL 9

9) «Ominous Future, Damaged Present and Nostalgia for the Past: Return to Normalcy?»

Panel Chairs: Laura Álvarez Trigo, Anna Marta Marini, Universidad de Alcalá (Instituto Franklin-UAH)

 

E-mail: alvarez.trigo.laura@gmail.com, annamarta.marini@gmail.com 

Nostalgia is a common response to social change, it embodies an attempt to look for a presumably lost normalcy. The idea of «returning to normalcy» evokes a nostalgic return to an imagined better past, at times accompanied by both revisionist and reactionary positions against historic narratives. An ever-increasing infiltration of nostalgia has characterized 21st century popular culture. This trend was established at the beginning of the millennium, triggered by 9/11, the late 2000s’ economic crisis and, most recently, influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nostalgia and legacy convey a utopic normalcy to aspire to—such as idealized representations of the 80s and 90s as prosperous contexts—and build affect in consumers and audiences through their familiarity, both explicit and implicit, creating appeal in the recognition of what is being referenced. These types of narratives mark TV shows, movies, and other contemporary popular texts that elicit a sense of a damaged present opposed to a selective romanticized past.

The panel looks for papers that, dealing with nostalgia in contemporary popular culture, focus on the intersection between a search for stability and recovery in a better past and/or that criticize the present through it. We aim to explore questions related to the implications of connecting nostalgia with a return to normalcy and to interrogate whether and how this already-present tendency of recycling the appeal of specific formal and narrative elements has been mediated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis of such intertextuality in American popular culture (from both thematic and aesthetic perspectives) as well as of the dialogic relation to the present that foregrounds the origin of contemporary problems in the past (such as climate change, armed conflicts, economic crises, and diseases) are welcome.

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PANEL 10

10) «Illness, Recovery, and the American (Im)Possibility of Normative Bodies/Minds»

Panel Chair: Claudia Alonso-Recarte, Universitat de València

 

E-mail: Claudia.Alonso@uv.es 

In recent years, academia has witnessed a surge in the study and shaping of what have come to be known as Medical Humanities. Such interdisciplinary field aims to describe, articulate, and analyze the psychological, cultural, and social experience of disease as illness—that is, as an organic system of structures and meanings that link the body, the self and society—through representations in literary and aesthetic expression. Societal markers of identity such as gender, race, class, and nationality, of course, reveal themselves in these contexts as transversal factors that affect the conceptualization and manifestation of the ill body or mind as a discursive construct. Narratives about the diagnosis, treatment and (im)possibility of recovery inevitably intersect with perceptions and experiences having to do with normative understandings and expectations regarding gendered bodies, sound minds, and culturally and ideologically acceptable attitudes and worldviews. This panel aims to address how these multiple discourses on illness are negotiated within the wider spectrum of the exploration of «normalcy,» and how such process assists in the implosion of the normative and the reexamination of gender, class, and race-based boundaries. We welcome paper proposals from the fields of literary/film/cultural studies specifically dealing with how these intersections speak to America’s own evolving perception of these identity markers, and also about the nation’s agency and place as a fabricator of beliefs and impressions surrounding medical research and the healthcare system.

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PANEL 11

11) «Normalized Assumptions about Inequality and Precarity in Contemporary US Fiction»

Panel Chair: Virginia Pignagnoli, Laura Roldán-Sevillano, Universidad de Zaragoza

 

E-mails: vpignagnoli@unizar.es, iroldan@unizar.es 

The image of «the Vanishing Indian» lies at the heart of As happens with oppressive forms of domination (e.g., racism, sexism), the precarious workforces present in US education system, healthcare, urban planning, migration, and work-family policies, «do not come into being magically or naturally» (Ferguson 2020, 118). Since the 2008 financial crisis, in fact, precarity has increased in a world where «relatively unstable and dispersed conditions of deprivation and insecurity» gained ground (During 2015). And yet, today’s economic and social precarity in the US also relates to what Lauren Berlant defines as the «cruel optimism» (2011, 1) of the «fantasy of the American Dream,» which has always promised the chimera of a life of dignity in terms of socio-economic conditions «if you invest your energies in work and family-making» (1997, 4).

This panel seeks articles investigating how 21st century US fiction represents the diverse forms and experiences of precarity in American society, from insecurity, uncertainty, and unsafety to disposability, and trauma. In particular, this panel invites essays that formally analyze narratives responding to normalized assumptions about social, economic, and labor imbalances, and their intersectional relation with gender, race, and class. While US fiction has often captured the ways in which humans relate to work and inequality, in the last few years there has been a resurgence of the political novel (Irr 2014) and, more generally, of novels that «earnestly engage with the moral, ethical and political issues affecting contemporary society» (Alber and Bell 2019, 124). In assessing textual representations of precarity, this panel aims at reflecting on current ethical and political discourses which engender situations of instability and marginality, and to identify ways of resistance, resilience, and healing by those facing the cruel optimism of the fallacious myth of the American Dream. Proposals may draw, among other studies, on theorizations and framings of precarity such as Judith Butler’s (2009), on intersectional discrimination (Crenshaw 1989, 1991), color-blind racism (Bonilla-Silva 2003), and/or on decolonizing perspectives in line with «imperial precariousness» (Danewid 2017), and recent revisions of trauma (Craps 2013; Visser 2015).

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PANEL 12

12) «Challenging the Assumptions of «Normalcy:» Reversal and Defamiliarization in Activist Discourses in the US»

Panel Chair: María Ángeles Toda Iglesia, Universidad de Sevilla

 

E-mail: mtoda@us.es 

On February 25, 2022, Captain Farid Chitav and eleven members of the Russian National Guard refused to participate in the «special military operation» against Ukraine, arguing that they had no passports and that crossing an international border illegally was a criminal offence under Russian law. Whether a legitimate anti-war protest or simply an attempt to escape involvement, the episode is an excellent example of the ways in which it is possible to question the status quo of normalcy by rejecting its naturalized tenets. By applying to a context of war the conventions of law in times of peace, the effect is to highlight implicit assumptions about the normalcy of war. 

Similar defamiliarization techniques that force a slowed-down perception of reality (following Shklovsky) to make audiences aware of the injustices and contradictions of normalcy have long been employed in US discourses of activism, protest, and reform. Equally frequent is the use of tropes of reversal to destabilize the binary oppositions characteristic of Western (and other) conceptualizations of reality. Examples include colonial writers’ use of the Native American observer as critic of Western mores; slave narrative or Harlem Renaissance depictions of white oppressors through the stereotype of the bestial savage; and feminist and LGTBI+ deconstruction of heteropatriarchal norms of gender and sexuality through paradox, irony, and humor. Anti-war writing and utopian and dystopian fiction also draw abundantly on similar tropes.

This panel calls for papers analyzing such techniques in a variety of contexts and formats, including the visual and performing arts as well as texts, with the aim of understanding how «normalcy» has been defined and challenged along US history.

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PANEL 13

13) «Deviant Encounters: Liminal Hospitality as Symbolic Resistance in American Literature and Culture «

Panel Chairs: Paula Barba Guerrero,Universidad de Salamanca
Mónica Fernández Jiménez, Universidad de Valladolid

 

E-mails: paulabarbaguerrero@usal.es, monica.fernandez@uva.es 

Often regarded as persistent problems in American society, racial violence and social discrimination seem to constitute normal social interactions in the US, especially after epidemics or crises. Traced back to the arrival of the first European settlers to the continent, these hostile attitudes explain the prevalence of disidentification discourses during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would seem that moments of crisis give rise to interpretations of the self/Other divide as a healthy/diseased contraposition, reproducing racism as an acceptable fear of the stranger. These discourses propagate xenophobia under the veil of reasonable concern and expose racialized populations to novel forms of violence and oppression.

Such reproductions of violent behaviors respond, in our view, to the workings of hospitality and its double hostility, which often mediate social interactions, enabling familiarity or estrangement. This is particularly conspicuous in the context of national borders and the patrolling of citizenship (Manzanas Calvo and Benito Sánchez 2017). In fact, as Hélène Cixous suggests in conversation with Jacques Derrida, the social exchanges fostered by this dyad often result in the development of concentric borders that reassert hegemony by means of control and restriction. For «one can be inside without being inside, [as] there is an inside in the inside, an outside in the inside and this goes on infinitely» (Cixous and Derrida 2006, 5). Within these many demarcations, hostility easily becomes the norm.

Echoing the Red Summer of 1919, post-COVID Anti-Asian harassment, police brutality against black individuals, and collective outcries like #ICantBreathe attest to this reality, calling for critical intervention to apprehend this ever-threatening new normal. As such, this panel addresses post-pandemic normalcy from a hospitality perspective to reveal a distinct philosophy of encounter that, although based on a so-called law of universal hospitality (Derrida 1999), modulates the relation between self and Other in very divisive terms. It particularly focuses on cultural representations of deviance that articulate hospitality as ethical solidarity (Levinas 1979), focusing on narratives that contest hegemonic practices of Othering in spaces of liminal encounter (McNulty 1999). In imagining contact with the stranger as an opportunity for relationality, these narratives offer alternative views of norms and normalcy, delving into realms of possibility to challenge discrimination and inequity. They approach notions of «futurity» (Sheller 2020) through solidarity and allow us to imagine alternative, equitable worlds from the limits of a hostile reality.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Hospitality theory
  • Border crossings and the arrival of the Other
  • Hope and futurity
  • Utopias, dystopias, and heterotopias
  • Solidarity and ethical encounters
  • Post-pandemic relationality
  • Hybridity and postnationalism
  • Post-racial theory
  • Multicultural democracy
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PANEL 14

14) «The Limits of the (Ab)Normal: Native American Literature, Art, And Activism»

Panel Chair: Silvia Martínez Falquina, Universidad de Zaragoza

 

E-mail: smfalqui@unizar.es

As a result of the crisis that started in 2020—with the COVID pandemic, the aggravated climate emergency, and the inevitability of armed conflict—we are bearing witness to a new turn of the transmodern paradigm and its dominant narrative of globalization. As suggested by the idea of the «new normal,» we are in the process of mourning for a kind of life that we have lost, perhaps forever, as we imagine the future that awaits us, trying to come to terms with overwhelming uncertainty by holding on to hopeful values like solidarity, resilience, and interconnectedness. Yet, the notion of the (ab)normal, based on a specific understanding of the order vs. chaos binary, is contingent on perspective; the normal is in the eye of the beholder. This panel is aimed at examining Indigenous perspectives on the crisis, as well as culture-specific imaginings of the past and the future. It invites submissions which deal with representations of the (ab)normal in Native American literature, art, and activism. Some examples include (but are not limited to):

  • The limits of the normal, the normalcy of limits
  • The normal that never was: settler colonialism as abnormality
  • Indigenous lessons about the climate emergency
  • Recent developments of Indigenous activism (NoDAPL, MMIWG, Land Back, etc.)
  • The pandemic, climate change, and their impact on Native peoples
  • The impact of social distance measures on Indigenous communities
  • The representation of uncertainty, vulnerability, interconnectedness
  • The representation of trauma and mental health
  • The war, the changing world order, and its impact on Native peoples
  • Local and global solidarity movements
  • The changing face of Native women’s leadership
  • Crisis and trauma in Native American history
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PANEL 15

15) «Does Normalcy Exist in Poetry?»

Panel Chair: Viorica Patea, Universidad de Salamanca

 

E-mail: «vioricap@usal.es 

Poetic discourse and poetic effects are, by definition, a twisting and displacing of normal language. The Romantics introduced the quest for the «new» which became an obsession for the Modernists and almost a neurosis for the Postmodernists. Yet paradoxically, as often as not, American poets have taken on as their subjects the ordinary, quotidian, and intimate matters of «normal» life, from domestic relations to the cycles of nature, from the minutiae of familial, sexual, and social relations to the rituals of food, commerce, love, aging, disease, and faith. Nonetheless, poets persistently seek a perpetual deviation and distortion of the ordinary in the quest for a new language. As William Carlos Williams said, «Verse to be alive must have infused into it something of the same order, some tincture of disestablishment, something in the nature of an impalpable revolution, an ethereal reversal» since «Nothing is good save the new.» Even when writing about these ordinary human experiences and subject matter, poets invent new languages and perspectives. The history of poetry is measured by a succession of new languages invented by different generations, movements, and schools who have continuously distorted ordinary expressions, emotions, and languages in quest of the new or the inexpressible, often as insubordinate to prevailing conventions. Any papers on this precarious relationship in American poetry between poetic idiom and subject matter from any perspective (aesthetic, gender, minority, ethnicity, etc.) are welcome.

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PANEL 16

16) «Deviation from the Norm: Intersectional Discourses in American Literature and Culture»

Panel Chair: María Laura Arce Álvarez, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

 

E-Mail: laura.arce@uam.es 

In their work Gender Trouble, Judith Butler asserts that «a descriptive account of gender includes considerations of what makes gender intelligible, an inquiry into its condition of possibility, whereas a normative account seeks to answer the question of which expressions of gender are acceptable, and which are not, supplying persuasive reasons to distinguish between such expressions in this way» (xxii). Here, Butler challenges normative presumptions of gender by «troubling» its definition in terms of normative operation. Discourses that deviate from the norm have conquered American literature in its contribution to redefine, restructure, and rewrite not only literature itself but also identity, political, and social discourses. This panel welcomes proposals that question gender, race, class, age, and identity from an intersectional perspective in American literature that deviate from the norm. We will discuss narratives that criticize the delimiting power of the norm to transform it and we will show how these reconstructed discourses introduce a historical vision of the past to which it is impossible to return. This panel welcomes papers that address and discuss intersectional discourses in American literature media, visual arts, and films in the following issues (but not limited to them):

  • Gender, class, and race in American literature
  • Ageism in American literature
  • Matricentric narratives and new conceptions of motherhood and family
  • Queer literature
  • Queer theory: the reconstruction and deconstruction of the narrative discourse
  • Transgressive discourses in film studies
  • TV shows and their social impact
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PANEL 17

17) «Cuando lo extraordinario se hace cotidiano: Revolutionary Histories of the Everyday «

Panel Chair: Daniel Widener, University of California, San Diego

 

E-mail: dwidener@ucsd.edu 

The simultaneous explosion of antiracist protest (Black Lives Matter) and reactionary resistance (January 6th insurrection) amidst the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic draw a harsh spotlight on the contemporary fractures that plague American social life. Yet, the seeming unendingness of contemporary crisis also asks us to rethink recent «states of exception» in American politics, culture, and social life. What histories of popular resistance can be located, for example, in the embrace of Black Liberation Army and Cuban exile Assata Shakur by a new generation of activists affiliated with the movement for black lives? What knowledge of the long history of the deportation regime do modern immigrant rights activists mobilize in the course of their work? What sonic histories do contemporary Latinx musicians like Quetzal and Santa Cecilia call upon as they created a 21st century urban civility? How do conflicts of monuments to slaveholders, «Indian fighters,» and Franciscan friars resonate amidst parallel calls to «make America great again?» What does it mean that ongoing indigenous resistance to carbon extraction—which by one recent measure has paused upwards of 25% of US emissions—is increasingly spoken about as a form of «terrorism» by law enforcement. In other words, what if our «new normal» is a return not to a form of stasis, but to the impasse that Antonio Gramsci spoke of when he said, «the old is dying and the new cannot be born.»

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PANEL 18

18) «Miscellaneous Panel»

Panel Chairs: Carmen M. Méndez García, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Aitor Ibarrola Armendariz Universidad de Deusto

 

E-mail: cmmendez@ucm.es, aitor.ibarrola@deusto.es

This panel will accommodate contributions based on the theme of the conference that do not specifically match with any of the conference panels.

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