BAA 10th International Summer Academy

“Questions of the Archive”
June 2 – June 10, 2018 in Miami

in cooperation with Florida International University and Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg


Following the widely discussed archival turn in the humanities, this summer school focused on questions of the archive, its production, authority, and transformation.

We sought contributions in the broad interdisciplinary field of American studies that approach questions of the archive with regard to


a) poststructuralist scholarship on the contingency of the archive and the epistemic anxieties it reveals,

b) assumptions of authority based on power relations (evident in canon debates and absences in the archive), and

c) more recent technological developments and the changes they imply (big data, distant reading, digital humanities). The archive informs both history and memory, and thus the archive can claim to be invested with legitimacy and status. 

Questions of knowledge production in the present moment were prominently addressed by Diana Taylor (“archive and repertoire”), Ann Laura Stoler (“the colonial archive”), James Clifford (“archival silences”), and Saidiya Hartman (“the archive of slavery”); these scholars called attention to explicit and implicit assumptions about archival energies in both preserving knowledge for future generations and potentially withdrawing it from ongoing public circulation. Next to these theoretical considerations, we explored different kinds of ‘official’ archives (material, oral, digital, and so forth), forms of subverting the archive (‘ghosts’ in the archive), and alternative archives in a global, postcolonial world.

Program of the 10th International Summer Academy:

1. keynote lectures by US and European speakers – including, so far, Elisabeth Bronfen (Zurich University), Donette Francis (University of Miami), Alex Gil (Columbia University), Gesa Mackenthun (University of Rostock), Donald Pease (Dartmouth College), Janice Radway (Northwestern University), Dan Royles (Florida International University), Barry Shank (Ohio State University), Kathy-Ann Tan (Uppsala University)

2. work-in-progress presentations by the doctoral participants, 

3. workshop sessions in which participants discuss key texts in the field.

The program also included a cultural program in and around Miami.

We encouraged applications from doctoral (and postdoctoral) candidates working in the field of American studies (in its broadest sense) on questions of the archive. Acceptance to the Summer Academy included a full academic and cultural program, accommodation, and a travel grant. The tuition fee was 300 €.


We would like to thank the following institutions for their support: