"American Studies in a Transatlantic Perspective: Critical Regionalism in Politics and Culture"
6th International Summer Academy
May 31 – June 10, 2014 at Texas State University, San Marcos
Regionalism, i.e. the study of regions and regional identities, has always been an important dimension of American Studies-scholarship: regions have been examined, on the one hand, as symbolic spaces foundational for dominant national discourses (like the mythical conception of the American West) and, on the other hand, as sites of "authentic" local cultures (like the "local color" of the South). Both approaches are equally problematic, and the allegorical as well as the essentialist view have recently been deconstructed. Instead, questions of how regions are discursively fabricated and how they are (de)stabilized in the context of nation-building, empire, and globalization are foregrounded.
The summer academy addressed historical and current debates about American regions and regionalism from an interdisciplinary perspective.
This focus on a "critical regionalism" highlighted the connections between regional identities and global (power) structures, the construction of specific regions in and beyond the United States, micro- and macro-structures of space and place as well as processes of cultural contact and mobility at play in the formation of regions. Such an approach covered aspects of cultural identity, political participation, and economic developments that were discussed with a specific focus on (but by no means limited to) the U.S. Southwest and its history, literature, and art.
The program of the academy was structured into three parts:
- work-in-progress presentations by participants (doctoral students and junior faculty)
- keynote lectures on crucial issues of Critical Regionalism in Politics and Culture by
- Robert Brinkmeyer (University of South Carolina)
- Krista Comer (Rice University)
- Doug Powell (Columbia College)
- Robert Tally (TX State)
- Jesus F. de la Teja (TX State)
- Gary Hartman (TX State)
- Mark Busby (TX State)
- Steve Wilson (TX State)
- Barrett Watten (Wayne State)
- Heike Paul (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg)
- Katharina Gerund (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg)
- Ron Tyler (Fort Worth, Texas)
- cultural program including city tours of i.e. Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio and visits to representative cultural institutions and academic centers in the region.
The summer academy was organized by
Wayne State University
in cooperation with Jessica Pliley and Jesús Francisco de la Teja, Texas State University, San Marcos
Photos above and below: ©Judith Rauscher