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Call for Papers - POLISH ASSOCIATION FOR AMERICAN STUDIES - 2022 Annual Conference 

Call for Papers


2022 Annual Conference 

Our Brand is Crisis: American Downfalls, Hopes, and Renewals

held and hosted by the Department of British and American Studies,
Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland

19-21 October 2022 

In his timely article “How America Fractured into Four Parts,” published in the July/August 2021 issue of The Atlantic, George Packer argues that “people in the United States no longer agree on the nation’s purpose, values, history, or meaning.” This observation prompts him to wonder whether, under such circumstances, reconciliation of the divisions and reintegration of them into a cohesive body politic is at all possible. In Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal (2021), Packer provides a provocative and substantive diagnostic survey of the current state of crisis – or rather, more accurately, the multiple crises – Americans face in the early 2020s.

And yet, when viewed through the lens of history, the current debacles and associated worries hardly seem exceptional given that the potential for fragmentation and the possibility of collapse have been present in the United States since its inception. The country has coped with many crises during the course of its history, some of which significantly helped forge the nation’s character. From the Revolution and the War of 1812, to the divisive Civil War and the problematic Reconstruction that followed, through the Great Depression, and on to the Vietnam War, the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s and everything else mentioned in Billy Joel’s weirdly comprehensive song “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” American nadirs exposed the nation’s weaknesses, while successfully surviving them fostered American confidence and instilled pride.

The most recent sense of crisis, triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, poses a new and difficult challenge for an America whose aspirational sense of unity, expressed in its motto e pluribus unum, has been seriously undermined by the divisive character of several presidencies. A series of events – channeled through spontaneous and organized responses to such dramatic developments as George Floyd’s killing, expressed via and encouraged by Donald Trump’s contentious rhetoric, seen in the growth of right-wing extremism, and evident in the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic – has shaken the conviction of many in America’s continued ability to triumph over crises and always emerge from its trials and tribulations as an even “More Perfect Union.”

In the light of the above, the focus of the 2022 Polish Association for American Studies conference is inquiry into and interrogation of American crises past and present. 

Submission of abstracts

We invite presentations related, but not limited, to the following topics and approaches:

  • dystopian nightmares and utopian hopes
  • American losses: of cohesion, of confidence, of faith and reason, of innocence
  • challenges to American hegemony
  • conspiracy theories
  • crisis and religion/spirituality
  • crisis and risk management
  • crisis as a catalyst
  • crisis of dominant (meta-)narratives
  • fake news and crisis of truth
  • crises of democracy and governance
  • domestic rebellions, riots, and protests
  • economic crises, inflation, recessions, and depressions
  • environmental crisis and the Anthropocene
  • ethics in times of crisis
  • health in crisis
  • mental health crisis
  • migration and border crises
  • narrating crises in literature and media
  • racial inequity in the United States
  • the crisis of justice
  • representational crisis and failures of imagination
  • American wars  

The language of the conference is English. Abstracts (ca. 250 words) or panel proposals together with a short bio (up to 100 words) should be sent to pass2022@mail.umcs.pl by June 15, 2022. Notification of acceptance will be sent by June 30, 2022

More information can be found here: https://www.umcs.pl/en/paas.htm