I. Description

The Americanist Research Symposium at Princeton, to be held March 11-12, 2010, is intended to create a public forum for dialogue on innovative research in American literary and cultural studies.  We invite two leading scholars from outside Princeton to serve as keynote speakers on the symposium theme and to offer feedback on graduate student presentations of works in progress.  The lively exchanges that follow the presentations help participants situate their projects within dialogues currently energizing the field of American Studies, in English and across disciplines.

II. Graduate Student Involvement

Graduate students play a central role in organizing ARS, both in selecting and inviting featured speakers and in coordinating their visits.  Most importantly, graduate students have the opportunity to present their research to leading scholars in the field of American literary and cultural studies and to receive substantive feedback on written work.

The format of the two-day symposium is designed to facilitate a high degree of graduate student participation, with one day devoted to seminars on graduate student research.  Each seminar includes a panel consisting of four graduate students and one of the two invited speakers.  Papers are pre-circulated, allowing both respondents and graduate students the opportunity to offer considered feedback; conversations will move from close attention to individual work to wider discussions on the state of the field and the place of each student’s project within it.  While most presentations will fall under the organizing theme of “Virtuosity,” the ARS seeks to address an array of topics that speak both to the work of the featured speakers and to the interests of Americanist graduate students in the department.

Although only English Department graduate students present work, it should be noted that the seminars, the keynote conversation, and the closing roundtable are open to the larger Princeton community, and will be of interest to graduate students, faculty, and undergraduates in History, Music, Sociology, Art and Archaeology, and a variety of disciplines in addition to English.