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Saturday, 08 January

447. Transnational Americas and the Literatures of the United States

8:30–9:45 a.m., Plaza I, J. W. Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Caroline Field Levander, Rice Univ.

Speakers: Nancy Bentley, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Susan Gillman, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz; Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz; Trish Loughran, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Ramón Saldívar, Stanford Univ.

Respondent: Shirley Samuels, Cornell Univ.

Questions this roundtable addresses include, Does it make sense to continue to focus attention on the literature of the United States as constituting, in Richard Poirier’s well-known formulation, a world elsewhere? What is the utility and durability of the idea of nation in a global era? How do we categorize, analyze, and conceptualize our field imaginary once we revisit the geographic assumptions that have so long shaped disciplinary parameters? Given that nations and other old units remain in play even as comparative spaces can change the rules of the game, what productive tensions emerge between these rubrics?

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