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Globalizing American Studies 2.0

Uptown Campus
Richardson Memorial Hall


Deborah Cohn, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Indiana University

Vicente Diaz, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies, U of Minnesota

Jayeesha Dutta, Artist and Activist, Another Gulf Is Possible

Dilip Gaonkar, Director, Center for Global Culture and Communication, Northwestern U

Donatella Izzo, Professor of Comparative Literature, Università degli Studi di Napoli "L' Orientale”

Donald E. Pease, Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, Dartmouth

Fulvia Sarnelli, Lecturer in Italian Studies, Bowdoin College

Selamawit Terrefe, Assistant Professor of English, Tulane U

Monique Verdin, Artist and Activist, Another Gulf Is Possible

Kelly Wisecup, Co-Director, Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, Northwestern U


Co-Conveners: Kate Baldwin and Brian Edwards, Tulane University


This symposium is the relaunch of a project that began at Northwestern, in 2004, which featured several international symposia and established a global network of scholars. The goal of the project in its first incarnation was to undertake an analysis of US history, literary and cultural production from outside the frameworks of the exceptionalist paradigm. Inherent was a critique of American Studies itself, as methodology and rubric, and an interrogation of the residue of its cold war origins. This produced excellent papers and presentations, some of which were developed and published in Globalizing American Studies, co-edited by Brian Edwards and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar (U of Chicago Press, 2010). The book’s introduction argued that we had come to a time when “American exceptionalism has to stand alone in the multilateral world of the global.”


In the intervening years, the impact of the digital age, social media, and ever widening economic disparities have contributed to a seismic geopolitical reorientation, from the Middle East uprisings of 2009-11 to the global resurgence of populism and isolationism in the U.S., Italy, France, Venezuela, Turkey, etc, and the groundswell of authoritarian capitalism in Russia, Hungary, Poland, and China. The latest presidential administration retrenches behind the border and argues for an isolationism, both political and social, under the motto of a revivified exceptionalism. The time is right to return to the project, and launch a version 2.0. Papers and presentations in this installment take on a new set of topics and approaches, in a vivid set of inquiries and presentations. Participants address some of the blindness of the original project, broadly engaging native and indigenous studies, as well as environmental history and climate change, which variously impact the idea of what was called the “specter of America” differently.


Please join us for the first of an ongoing project at Tulane – your participation and engagement is welcome!  (More detailed schedule to come.)

School of Liberal Arts