Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Annual Conference “American Studies as Vulnerability Studies?” – Graz 2020

By 25. June 2020No Comments

The cutting-edge yet under-theorized topic of vulnerability in American Studies will be at the core of discussions at the 47th annual conference of the Austrian Association for American Studies. The conference takes place from October 30-31, 2020, at the University of Graz. Scholars interested in participating in a conference workshop are invited to submit their proposals by July 10, 2020.

We are thrilled to invite you to join us for an exciting workshop and roundtable discussion on the cutting-edge yet under-theorized topic of vulnerability in American Studies. We understand ‘vulnerability’ as both a shared condition of oppression and as emerging resistance and solidarity. As a critical intervention in American Studies, we ask: which themes, theories, and disciplinary directions in American studies can productively engage with questions of vulnerability, and to what extent does current critical work against racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism cohere around a shared sense of vulnerability? What are the prevalent idioms of vulnerability in American Studies, and how have they shaped critical practices in areas such as Affect Theory, Queer Theory, Transnational Feminism, Critical Race Theory, Trans Studies, among others? How can we theorize vulnerability within the context of the United States’ own history of internal and international colonization? How is vulnerability culturally produced and what are the ethics of mediating vulnerability?

We are adopting a workshop format in order to facilitate space for intensive discussions about the possibility of re-framing critical traditions in American Studies as vulnerability studies. To this end, we invite original position papers (including working bibliographies) which extend our proposed research questions (or others of similar intent) into the various critical traditions and current debates within American Studies. In order to assist us in coordinating a series of round-table discussions, please submit an extended abstract (of about 1000 words) and working bibliography which specify which notions of vulnerability you will draw on and how you situate your paper within American Studies. We especially invite submissions from early-career scholars.

Please send your extended abstracts and working bibliographies to by July 10, 2020. Upon acceptance, we will ask for your permission to distribute your extended abstracts to your fellow panel members.

Keynote Speaker:
Rebecca Wanzo, Washington University St. Louis

Conference Organizers:
The 47th annual conference of the AAAS is hosted by American Studies Graz (University of Graz) and organized by Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Silvia Schultermandl and Jennifer Reimer, PhD.

COVID-19 Measures:
At this point in time, many things that we take for granted when organizing international conferences are still unfathomable: international travel, lecture halls, receptions, etc. Certainly, we have had to abandon some of our initial plans for our conference. In keeping with the evolving public health and policy situation, we are currently devising a new conference format which will afford us the flexibility needed to accommodate last-minute changes spontaneously without compromising the conference or putting its participants in distress.

Call for Papers (PDF)