"If you're not angry, you're not paying attention"—according to an Esquire/NBC News survey from 2016, "[h]alf of all Americans are angrier today than they were a year ago." Statements like this mirror a perceived cultural and societal change that transcends simplistic partisan divides and has been accompanied by political battles and heated discourse. Though there has been an increased focus on anger in American public life following the 2016 election season, the mobilization of anger has a history that reaches back much further than current debates might suggest.
While anger is often targeted toward a specific group or specific policies, we want to avoid simple, binary conclusions. Rather, we wish to highlight why this emotion has gained such a prominent space in discussions of American culture and politics. In addition, we aim to go beyond a purely pessimistic outlook and are encouraging contributions that look further into either the positive effects of anger or productive responses to anger. In order to explore the breadth of this concept, it can be particularly helpful to not only focus on the current political situation but also on past and present literary explorations of anger and the manifestations of anger as a cultural practice.
For its twelfth issue, aspeers thus dedicates its topical section to "American Anger" and invites European graduate students to critically and analytically explore American literature, (popular) culture, society, history, politics, and media through the lens of anger in the US. We welcome papers from all fields, methodologies, and approaches comprising American studies as well as inter- and transdisciplinary submissions. Potential paper topics could cover (but are not limited to):
Explorations of anger in literature and in popular culture, e.g. in particular genres such as superhero narratives or protest movies, documentaries, mockumentaries, etc., or in various tones or modes, such as insults, mockeries, or denigrations.
Historical moments that saw a mobilization of anger, such as the anti-Vietnam War movement or the Civil Rights movement, as well as transnational dimensions (such as the transatlantic 'spillover') of anger.
The 'racialized' narratives of anger—e.g. the trope of the 'angry black woman' and the often-evoked image of 'the angry white man'—as well as inquiries into the gender politics of anger, how anger is 'gendered' and how and why women and/or trans and nonbinary people are responding to or experiencing anger.
The economies of creating and circulating anger, e.g. news formats featuring punditry, polemics, etc.
Notions of 'legitimate' vs. 'illegitimate' anger and whether anger can be addressed in such terms at all.
aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed journal of European American studies, encourages fellow MA students from all fields to reflect on the diverse meanings of "American Anger." We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the twelfth issue of aspeers by October 28, 2018. If you are seeking to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general Call for Papers. Please consult our submission guidelines and find some additional tips at www.aspeers.com/2019.
aspeers: emerging voices in american studies
American Studies Leipzig
04107 Leipzig, Germany