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International Graduate Conference 2019

American Ambiguities: Is Now the Era of Our Disconsent?

Graduate Conference at the Graduate School of North American Studies
John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin – May 22-24, 2019

The conference was held at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Lansstr. 7- 9, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem.

Wednesday, May 22





Fabian Eggers

Welcome Address

Frank Kelleter

14.15 – 15.45
John F. Kennedy Institute

The Life and Death of Theory

Chair: Dominique Haensell (Freie Universität Berlin)

Silvia Ammary (John Cabot University) The Aesthetics of Ambiguity in the Modernist American Novel
Sonja Pyykkö (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) “Hybridity” and Generic Ambiguity in Contemporary American Life Writing
Vedran Catovic (University of Michigan)

Radical Relativism and Relative Radicalism in the US Humanities

16.15 – 17.45John F. Kennedy Institute

Representation and Race from the Harlem Renaissance to #BlackLivesMatter

Chair: Birte Wege (Freie Universität Berlin)
Anne Urbanowski (Université de Tours) Fur Coats and Cadillacs: The Disambiguation of the Black Middle Class in James VanDerZee’s Photographs
Meili Steele (University of South Carolina) Ambiguities of Race and Normativity: Ta Nehisi Coates’s Challenge to Barack Obama and the Brown v. Board of Education Paradigm
Sabine Elisabeth Aretz (Universität Bonn) “We Are Expansive”: The Rhetoric and Aesthetic of Ambiguity in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
18.15 – 20.15
John F. Kennedy Institute

KEYNOTE I – Andrew Hartman (Illinois State University)

A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

20.45 Buffet

Thursday, May 23

9.30 Snacks & Coffee
10.15 – 11.45
John F. Kennedy Institute

KEYNOTE II – Laura M. Stevens (University of Tulsa)

Longing for Salvation, in Early and Late America

12.15 – 13.45
John F. Kennedy Institute

Flickering Enlightenment: Ambiguity in Early America

Chair: Cameron Seglias (Freie Universität Berlin)
Nicole Hirschfelder (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen) Great (Un)Equalizers? A Re-Consideration of Early American Quakerism
Lee Flamand (Freie Universität Berlin) Dark Enlightenment? Charles Brockden Brown’s Gothic Novels and the Riotous Young Republic
Christine Marie Koch (Universität Paderborn) “He can take everything away from me, but he can’t take my heritage!” Ambiguous Representations of Colonial Georgia, Identity Constructs, and Exclusion through Memory Politics

14.15 – 15.45

John F. Kennedy Institute

Reassessing Liberalism in the American Century

Chair: Maximilian Klose (Freie Universität Berlin) 

Ben Zdencanovic (Yale University) “It Would Be a Strange Paradox”: US Global Economic Power, the End of New Deal Reform, and the Birth of the British Welfare State,1944-1951
Heleen Bloomers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) Changing the Narrative: Assessing Legacy-Writing on the War on Poverty
Salvador S. F. Regilme Jr. (Universiteit Leiden)

Human Rights in Distress Amidst American Decline and Trumpism

16:15 – 17:45
John F. Kennedy Institute

Negotiating Space in the Country and the City

Chair: Sönke Kunkel (Freie Universität Berlin)

Eugénie Clément (EHESS) Protecting the Territory: Practices, Ontologies, and Dialectics
of Diné Resistances
Laura Kettel (Freie Universität Berlin) Freedom and Constraint: The Ambiguities of Public Space
Laura op de Beke (Universiteit Leiden) Ecoambiguity in Walden, a Game, and Other Environmental Video Games
18.15 - 19.45
John F. Kennedy Institute

KEYNOTE III – Jared Farmer (Stony Brook University)

Tree-rings and Empire in the Late Holocene

Friday, May 24

9.30 Snacks & Coffee
10.15 – 11.45
John F. Kennedy Institute

KEYNOTE IV – Anne Driscoll (Brandeis University)

The Ambiguities of Losing Innocence and Finding Justice in the Age of the Internet

12.15 – 13.45
John F. Kennedy Institute

Not Just Fun and Games: Popular Culture and the American Self-Image

Chair: Annelot Prins (Freie Universität Berlin)
Meike Robaard (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) What’s in a Game? Playful Puzzling Histories and the Cultural Symbolism of Monopoly, 1900-1950
Gizem Tellioğlu (İstanbul Üniversitesi) The Ambiguity in Social Roles of Women in 1950s American Advertisements
Ilias Ben-Mna (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) Post-Imperial Ambiguities in Hollywood Superhero Movies
Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft