Promoting, supporting and encouraging the study of the United States since 1955

British Association for American Studies


Conference: American Literature and Its Travels - British Association for American Studies


Conference: American Literature and Its Travels, University of Nottingham - 17-18 April 2023

Conference programme 

17 April

10-11: Registration/Tea and coffee (Highfield House Atrium)

11-11.30 Welcome (Highfield House A01)

Tribute to Judie

Messages from colleagues unable to make it

11.30-1.00: Session 1 – Print Culture (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Jamal Assadi (The College of Sakhnin)

Graham Thompson (University of Nottingham), “Transatlantic Literature Machines”

Daniel Robert King (University of Leicester), “‘A book one can with complete confidence call important’: Albert Erskine, Ralph Ellison, and the Editing of Invisible Man


Olivia Wright (Leeds Beckett University), “‘She carried us all outside’: Travel and Escapism in Women’s Prison Zines”

1.00-2.15: Lunch (Highfield House Atrium)

2.15-3.45: Session 2 – Transatlantic Literary Contexts (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Graham Thompson (University of Nottingham)

Heidi Macpherson (SUNY Brockport), “‘Soil is Memory Made Flesh’: Maggie O’Farrell’s  Transatlantic Families in This Must be the Place

Sue Norton (Technological University Dublin), “American Fiction in European Classrooms Today”

Sarah Meer (University of Cambridge), “Exemplary Educations: Alexander Crummell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cambridge Fictions”

3.45-4.15: Tea/coffee (Highfield House Atrium)

4.15-5.15 Session 3 – African American Literature (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Kasia Boddy (University of Cambridge)

Michael Collins (King’s College London), “Intelligence, Cool Hermeneutics, and the Urban Colour Line in Ralph Ellison’s ‘A Hard Time Keeping Up’ (1937)”

Alan Gibbs (University College Cork), “Trauma and Naturalism in the Novels of Toni  Morrison”

18 April

9.30-10.00: Registration/Tea and coffee (Highfield House Atrium)

10.00-11.30: Session 1 – Asian North American Literature (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Susan Billingham (University of Nottingham)

Claire Chambers (University of York), “‘The story of North America turned inside out’: Bharati Mukherjee’s The Holder of the World (1993)” 

Gillian Roberts (University of Nottingham), “Runaway Aliens: Adapting Ted Chiang across the Canada-US Border”

Ruth Maxey (University of Nottingham), “‘Strays… who… never really become part of life’: Human and nonhuman vulnerability in Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend

11.30-12.00: Tea/coffee (Highfield House Atrium)

12.00-1.00: Session 2 – Fiction and Politics (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Daniel Robert King (University of Leicester)

Kasia Boddy (University of Cambridge), “‘Ripe for Dictatorship’: The origins of American fascism in It Can’t Happen Here (1935) and other works by Sinclair Lewis” 

Yoav Fromer (Tel Aviv University), “An Empire, In Spite of Itself: Gore Vidal, John Updike, and the Ambivalence of American Foreign Policy”

1.00-2.00: Lunch (Highfield House Atrium)

2.00-3.00: Session 3 – Saul Bellow (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Sarah Meer (University of Cambridge)

Jamal Assadi (The College of Sakhnin), “The Attainment of Selfhood: Acting and Narration in Saul Bellow’s ‘Leaving the Yellow House’ (1957)”

Gloria Cronin (Brigham Young University), “Ludic Religious Quests and Profane Pilgrimages in the Life of Saul Bellow”

3.00-3.30: Tea/coffee (Highfield House Atrium)

3.30-4.30: Session 4 – First-Person Narratives, Writing Lives (Highfield House A01)

Chair: Gillian Roberts (University of Nottingham)

Susan Billingham (University of Nottingham), “Queer Memoir in the Twenty-first Century: Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide (2016) and Samra Habib’s We Have Always         Been Here (2019)” 

Diletta De Cristofaro (Northumbria University), “The Sleep Crisis in Contemporary American Literature”

4.30-5.30 Thank you (Highfield House A01)

Round up (Opportunity for Judie to say something)