1998 PAAS Conference: Organizers’ Report

The annual PAAS (Polish Association for American Studies) Conference on ‘Ethical Values in Post(?)modern American Societies and Cultures’ was held on October 21st – 24th 1998 in Ustron, a picturesque holiday resort in the Beskidy mountains.  The weather was lovely, as it usually is in late October in Poland. This year the conference was organized by the Department of American Literature and Culture of the University of Silesia and subsidized by Komitet  Bada? Naukowych in Warsaw, as well as by the United States Embassy in Warsaw and Stalexport S.A. in Katowice. About 80 scholars from 6 countries (including Poland, the USA, Germany, Hungary, Turkey and Japan) attended the conference; scholars from several other countries had expressed their interest in participation, but due to unexpected circumstances could not come. Most centers of American Studies in Poland were represented at the conference.

The plenary session was opened by two distinguished keynote speakers: Prof. Samuel Coale of Wheaton College, Norton Massachusettes delivered a lecture on ‘Searching for a Postmodern Ethics: Oxymoron, Occidental Operations, or Open Enigma?’ and Ms Kate Delaney, the Cultural Attache of the United States Embassy in Warsaw, read a paper entitled ‘What Do We talk About When We Talk About Family Values’. Altogether 41 papers were read and discussed in two sections. They concerned various aspects of contemporary American literature, fiction, poetry and drama, the new ways of looking at historical, cultural and political phenomena, as well as the perspectives in which contemporary America is perceived at home and abroad. Informal discussions were continued until small hours. The organizers plan on publishing the conference proceedings at the beginning of 1999.

Due to the presence of the majority of PAAS members in Ustron, on October 22nd the meeting of the Polish Association of American Studies was held to discuss current problems. A number of new members joined the Association.

November 1998
Prof. dr hab. Teresa Pyzik
Department of American Literature and Cultere, University of Silesia