2015 PAAS Conference

Polish Association for American Studies Annual Conference

Homeliness, Domesticity and Security in American Culture

organized by

Department of Anglophone Cultures and Literatures

University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS)


September 23-25, 2015


Recent academic interests and explorations within the field of broadly understood American Studies have been largely concentrating on the unusual and exceptional aspects of American literature, art and life, such as wildness, transgression, excess, violence, sublimity, greatness, intemperance, extraordinariness. The questions which the conference is going to address will focus on the constructions and the place of the ordinary viewed from the perspective of various home-inspired discourses, from housing to domestic policy, through questions of family values, ethics of modesty, simplicity of living, unpretentiousness, individual and domestic security, American communities, localities and neighborhoods. The homely, unlike the sublime and the beautiful, seems to be a category which has slipped from the critical horizon of the humanities as unaesthetic and too obvious, which obviousness we hope to problematize during the conference. Perhaps Walt Whitman’s twenty-ninth bather from Song of Myself, the woman to whom the homeliest of the twenty eight young and friendly bathing men was beautiful (Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her) could be also inquired in this respect?

We invite papers coming from the possibly broadest range of academic perspectives (Literary Criticism, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Feminist and Gender Studies, Translation Studies, Queer Theory, Philosophy, Sociology, History of Ideas, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies…, fully realizing that a strictly single-disciplinary approach is nowadays hardly thinkable), so as to show the complexity of the seeming simplicity of home (along with the wide range of its metaphors and metonymies) and its safekeeping in the context of American culture at whose beginnings the New World was also the original promise of a new home.

We suggest the following, broad, thematic areas only as a topographically drafted chart of the conference:

  • the homely and the natural
  • homeliness and norm
  • homeliness and beauty
  • dialects of the private and the homely
  • homely homes
  • domicile, abode, dwelling
  • at home and abroad
  • domestic spaces
  • domesticity and domestication
  • domestic peace
  • cult(s) and cultivation of domesticity
  • foreignizing and domesticating practices
  • the vernacular and the foreign
  • ideologies of domesticity
  • home economies
  • imagining home
  • home and community
  • native sons and daughters
  • the other(s) of home
  • the tamed and the rebellious
  • home and mobility
  • the bonds of home
  • mistresses and masters of home
  • privacy and hospitality
  • sweet homey homes
  • home as state/state as home
  • exiles and cosmopolitans
  • from wigwam to casino
  • from cabin to the cabinet
  • domestic securities
  • home/stability/security
  • tiny houses, tiny living
  • hospitality: neighbors, visitors, strangers
  • homelessness: hobos, bums and tramps
  • urbanites, suburbanites, villagers
  • visible and invisible unshelteredness
  • sleeping in Central Park
  • homes and shelters
  • homes (away) from home

Keynote speakers confirmed to date include: 

Professor Bridget Bennett, University of Leeds, UK
Professor Nancy Cott, Harvard University, USA

The conference venue will be located in the main building of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, ul. Chodakowska 19/31, Warsaw.

Abstracts (250 words) should be sent to PAAS2015@swps.edu.pl by June 15, 2015
Notification of acceptance will be sent by June 30, 2015
The deadline for registration and payment of the conference fee: July 30, 2015

The conference fee of 450 PLN includes conference materials, coffee breaks and conference dinner. Costs of accommodation are not included in the conference fee and must be arranged separately.

Conference organizers:
Prof. Tadeusz Rachwał
Prof. Piotr Skurowski
Dr. Agnieszka Pantuchowicz
Dr. Anna Warso
Conference website: http://swps.pl/paas2015

The conference is supported by the Embassy of the United States of America in Warsaw

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