MyAmericanFuture

MyAmericanFuture
MyAmericanFuture

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015: AMST Colloquiums: Presenting Our Work



[This past weekend, we held the fifth annual New England American Studies Association (NEASA) Colloquium. So this week I’ll share some responses to each of the five colloquia to date, leading up to a special weekend post on AmericanStudies in 2015!]
On the three presenters (other than this AmericanStudier) at our inaugural 2011 Colloquium.
1)      Elif Armbruster: Future NEASA President Elif Armbruster presented on her first book, Domestic Biographies: Stowe, Howells, James, and Wharton at Home (2011). What stood out most to me in Elif’s presentation—and would become a model for my own subsequent book talks—was her use of multiple media and genres to share her work: photographs and primary documents alongside her own ideas and analyses. The combination made for a coherent, compelling way to share and publicize her important book.
2)      Lori Harrison-Kahan: Like Elif, Lori shared work from and related to her newly-released first book, The White Negress: Literature, Minstrelsy, and the Black-Jewish Imaginary (2011). In my own 2011 book, Redefining American Identity, I had just started to articulate my own ongoing interest in cross-cultural encounters and transformations, and Lori’s talk—like her book—provided a strong model for me, particularly in the skill of closely reading literary and cultural works through that cross-cultural lens.
3)      Maggi Smith-Dalton: As the hyperlinks in that post indicate, I’ve written a good bit about Maggi in this space over the years, and for good reason: she (along with her husband Jim Dalton) is and long has been one of the foremost public AmericanStudiers in New England. I didn’t need any one presentation or colloquium to know that, but Maggi’s 2011 presentation highlighted with particular clarity one of her most significant scholarly skills—pulling together music, art, literature, and history to weave a compelling story of the past and its resonances for our own moment and world. Just one of many ways in which I’ve learned a lot from Maggi, as I have from all three of these 2011 presenters!
Next follow up tomorrow,
Ben
PS. What do you think? Work, of yours or otherwise, you’d share?

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