CFP: Monuments, The Biennial Conference of the Nordic Association of American Studies

25 – 27 April 2019 in Bergen, Norway

Submission deadline: 15 Sept. 2018

Monuments construct the past in the present, and link it to a predetermined version of the future. Monuments tell singular and unified stories, acting as master narratives that impede other voices. Monuments have become some of America’s most important storytellers, giving form to power, but also to particular acts of resistance.

This is perhaps only to be expected, for the word “monument” bears within it the Latin mon, from monēre, which means “to remind,” but also means “to warn.” In its descriptive form “monumental” connotes something massive or imposing, something great in importance, but also expresses a sense of excess, of being overwhelmed. The word itself thus invites a chain of questions: What do monuments call to memory? What might they warn us against? What versions of events do they impose in presenting greatness? Who and what deserves recognition? How can monuments commemorate different or competing pasts? What should be done with monuments that uplift violent pasts?

The NAAS 2019 conference in Bergen on “Monuments” welcomes panel and paper proposals that address monuments and the monumental in relation to American literature, history, politics, media, art and popular culture, transnational and transcultural and comparative approaches. Keeping in mind that not all monuments are made of stone—Hemingway has been called a monument, political symbols and landscapes act as monuments, the literary canon and the Bible are monuments to Western culture—the list of different kinds of monuments is near endless. Some themes may be, but are not limited to:

Conceptualizations of the American past
Preservation and commemoration
Tradition and cultural heritage
Cultural perceptions, shifting attitudes towards the monument
Representation Memory and forgetting
Genre or aesthetic form
Naming
Landscapes, places and spaces
Myth
Resistance to the monument
Inscription
The non-monumental
False memories
Amnesia
Nostalgia
Imaginaries
Ossification
War
Architecture
Photography
Religion
Visibility/invisibility

Please send abstracts and panel proposals to NAASBergen@gmail.com by 15 Sept. 2018. Abstracts for individual panel presentations (20 minutes) should be no longer than 250 words; proposals for panels or workshops should be no longer than 500 words. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in October.

The conference is open to scholars and students from all countries, but we offer lower registration fees to members of NAAS (Nordic Association for American Studies), EAAS (European Association for American Studies), and ASA (American Studies Association in the U.S.).

A conference website will be made available in the autumn. If you have any questions regarding the conference or your proposal before then, please write to the conference organizers at: NAASBergen@gmail.com.

Conference organizers:
Jena Habegger-Conti, Associate Professor
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
President, American Studies Association of Norway

Asbjørn Grønstad, Professor
University of Bergen
Vice-President, American Studies Association of Norway

Lene Johannessen, Professor
University of Bergen
Committee Chair, American Studies Association of Norway