In June 2019, Stonewall 50 marked the largest LGBTQ+ event in history. Half a century ago, after the NYPD raids on the Stonewall Inn, a resistance movement that had loudly proclaimed ‘Gay Pride’ was born. The year before, James Brown had urged African Americans to “say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.” Ever since, activists and scholars in these movements have welcomed the community-building that social formations rooted in pride have fostered, while, at the same time, backlash against the increased visibility of such disenfranchised groups has appropriated this terminology as well, for instance in the supremacist slogans ‘white pride’ or ‘straight pride.’
Whereas traditional understandings of US patriotism underscore the importance of taking pride in being an American, a Gallup poll from July 2019 stated that Americans’ “pride in the U.S. has hit its lowest point since [the] first measurement,” speaking instead to a feeling of shame. Do pride and shame thus work as opposite ends on the same continuum—or is their relationship more complicated, as queer theorizations of shame might suggest? How do emotions and affect shape these individual feelings and how are they culturally mediated? Through which processes are pride and shame socially constructed, and what cultural work gets activated through them?
For its thirteenth issue, aspeers dedicates its topical section to “Pride and Shame in America” and invites European graduate students to critically and analytically explore American literature, (popular) culture, society, history, politics, and media through the lens of pride and shame in the US. We welcome papers from all disciplines, methodologies, and approaches comprising American studies (and related fields). Potential paper topics could cover (but are not limited to):
Representations or proclamations of pride or shame in literature and (popular) culture, e.g. about different understandings of what constitutes an identity to be proud of (e.g., immigrants or veterans)
Historical events and movements fostered by understandings of pride, political identities forged around it, or community-building enabled by it—or, conversely, parts of the history of the US that have engendered feelings of shame
The commercialization of pride (e.g., ‘pinkwashing,’ ‘pink capitalism’)
The commodification of group identities, e.g. in terms of how TV shows or films portray these movements (e.g., via redefinitions and revisions in cultural representations)
Alternative concepts to ‘pride’ or ‘shame’ as social formations that may complicate these understandings
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 “Pride and Shame in America.” We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the thirteenth issue of aspeers by October 27, 2019. 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/2020.
aspeers: emerging voices in american studies
American Studies Leipzig
04107 Leipzig, Germany