|2014 ASN Book Prize|
THE AMERICAN STUDIES NETWORK BOOK PRIZE 2014 was awarded ex aequo to Celeste-Marie Bernier (University of Nottingham) for Characters of Blood: Black Heroism in the Transatlantic Imagination and to Paulina Ambroży (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań) for (Un)concealing The Hedgehog: Modernist and Postmodernist American.
From the Jury's report:
Paulina Ambroży's (Un)concealing The Hedgehog: Modernist and Postmodernist American Poetry and Contemporary Critical Theories (ex aequo) is an intelligent and highly readable study of modern (and postmodern) poetry which investigates "the intersections and alliances between poetic and theoretical discourses," following Marjorie Perloff's notion that, today, "there is no hard and fast division between them." The book draws on Derrida's metaphoric 'definition' of poetry as a hedgehog crossing a highway – fragile, vulnerable, rolling itself up and thus making itself impenetrable in self-defense, yet always in danger of being run over by the interpretative machinery of fast-reading critics intent on smoothing (leveling) its prickly surface, thus killing its "heart", its hidden essence. At once defensive and bent on communication, the poem/hedgehog can yet communicate only by keeping its secretness intact. Ambroży confesses at the beginning that she is drawn to Derrida "because there is a sustained passion for literature in his entire oeuvre" (27). That passion is also driving this spirited book which is highly competent in its handling of a broad range of theory (and secondary material) and, at the same time, convincing in its care-full and resourceful textual analyses that explore the hedgehog's impenetrable and untranslatable surface, yet manage to keep it alive. Ambroży uses Derridean theory as a kind of critical spectacles that make her see aspects and nuances, gaps and reversals (the prickly surface of the hedgehog) that are easily (and have been frequently) overlooked. It is truly remarkable that she is able to work through a wide spectrum of greatly different and greatly difficult texts (from William Carlos Williams/ Wallace Stevens/ Marianne Moore/ Gertrude Stein/ Mina Loy to Rosmarie Waldrop/ Susan Howe/ Charles Bernstein) with equal analytical intensity and differentiating subtlety.... It is not only an exciting intellectual challenge but a joy/pleasure to read – even if one is not a Derridean and might have reservations to (t)his approach since it reads modern poetry through the eyes of postmodern/poststructuralist theory and practice (and yet makes us see).
Fabian Hilfrich's Debating American Exceptionalism: Empire and Democracy in the Wake of the Spanish-American War (the runner-up) focuses on the internal debates and ideological tensions within the shared ideology of American exceptionalism: Imperialists and Anti-imperialists alike used it in their debate about the nature and destiny of American democracy during the 1890s and after: "...how the elasticity of exceptionalism as a shared discourse could be exploited.... [T]his one shared discourse ... made it superfluous for most debaters to place themselves outside the consensus, and appeal to more radical, more 'deconstructionist,' even more 'un-American' ideas to oppose the dominant policies of the day. This, in turn, confirmed the strength and longevity of exceptionalism" (11-12). Hilfrich very plausibly differentiates between the different positions (and strategies) of Imperialists and Anti-Imperialists (the latter maneuvering among racist prejudices to maintain an ideal image of American democracy that should not be defiled by Imperialist/colonial ventures.) His analysis also demonstrates the persistence of (seemingly) antagonistic political and rhetorical positions (imperialism vs. anti-imperialism/isolationism, democracy abroad vs. democracy at home) that yet converge in an ideology of American exceptionalism (very much in the way of Bercovitch's analysis of the Jeremiad and the all-encompassing rhetoric of a redemptive "America") and can be traced to the present. Hilfrich's analysis is illuminating in that it points to consistent patterns of thinking (the domino theory, American Empire and the Iraq War) and (self)legitimation (the pressures of "destiny") not only in American politics but in American culture and its self-interpretation. (As he writes on p. 204: "Being American is both the problem and the solution.") His "Conclusion" is a thought-provoking and insightful assessment of contemporary American and global politics: "On the one hand, the self-reflexiveness and inclusiveness of American exceptionalism ensure a large degree of stability for a particular American discourse on foreign policy and possibly for American society as well. On the other hand, the tendency to view the other through the self not only limits the range and focus of one's perception, but can also compel the other to retaliate in kind—with violence and limited vision" (206).
The criteria are as follows: The monograph (not an edited volume) should have been published in 2012 or 2013; the author must be a European scholar who through membership of her/his national American Studies organization is a member of EAAS; three review copies of the book should be submitted before 1 December 2013 to:
Dr. Tomasz Basiuk
Read about the 2012 ASN Book Prize here .
13th International Spanish Association for American Studies (SAAS) Conference
University of Extremadura. Cáceres (Spain), April 5 - 7, 2017.
Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University, Poland, April 20-22, 2017
Call for Papers: Deadline January 20, 2017
Belfast Campus, Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 28-29, 2017
Call for Papers: Deadline January 19, 2017
Ankara, Turkey, 04-05 May 2017
The European Journal of American Studies is the official journal of EAAS. It welcomes contributions from Americanists in Europe and elsewhere and aims at making available state-of-the-art research on all aspects of United States culture and society.
Read more at http://ejas.revues.org/.
European Views of the United States is the official book series of the EAAS.
We are proud to announce volumes 8, 9, 10 of the series:
Tanrisever, Ahu. Fathers, Warriors, and Vigilantes: Post-Heroism and the US Cultural Imaginary in the Twenty-First Century, vol. 10, 2016 (Rob Kroes Publication Award 2015).
Intercontinental Crosscurrents: Women's Networks across Europe and the Americas, eds. Julia Nitz, Sandra H. Petrulionis, and Theresa Schön, vol. 9, 2016.
America: Justice, Conflict, War, eds. Amanda Gilroy and Marietta Messmer, vol. 8, 2016 (The Hague Conference 2014).