Announcement: Dr. Lisa Duggan, “Normativity and Its Discontents”


We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, is giving a talk on Feburary 25th at 6:00 PM in CLA 0.128 called “Normativity and Its Discontents.” The description of Dr. Duggan’s talk is below; we hope to see you there.

What or who is normal? Norm, normal and normative are terms of both social aspiration and political revulsion, referring alternatively to laws or rules, averages or means, ideals or ethical judgements. They are deeply embedded in the histories and cultures of capitalism and empire, race, gender and sexuality. They are central terms in psychoanalysis, psychiatry and psychology, and well as in biomedicine, the philosophy of ethics, sociology and economics. They are also vernacular terms of popular approval and rejection. In this talk, we will consider the history and politics of normativity in two contexts: (1) The geopolitics of mental diagnosis deployed during the “war on terror,” as represented in the Showtime television series Homeland, and (2) The widely popular fiction of libertarian capitalist hack Ayn Rand. These can show us how American Studies, disability studies and gender/sexuality studies, in particular, put these binaries to work in a global context. The goal is to understand the role of “normal” life in the contradictory moral discourse of neoliberal imperialism.


Announcement: Lecture by Dr. Katherine Capshaw

CapshawflierfinalwithlogosOn Thursday, February 25th, the Department of American Studes, the Institute for Historical Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and the John L Warfield Center for African and African American Studies present a lecture from Dr. Katherine Capshaw, associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut, in GWB 2.206. Dr. Capshaw’s presentation, entitled “Framing the Possibilities of Black Childhood in Photographic Books and Comics” will “consider the potential of visual representation to promote social justice through resistant, playful, unsettled images of black childhood. In photographic picture books of the 1960s and early 1970s authored by women, we find substantial child involvement in images that represent lived experience. Joy becomes a politcal statement in many photographs of the era, an expression of psychological freedom that can lead to political action. The second half of the presentation will engage contemporary graphic novels and comics by African American authors and illustrators; these artists often employ comics’ metatextuality in order to interrogate social opresion and to counter the pejorative images that have framed black youth.” We hope to see you there.

Announcement: BlaxploItalian

blaxploitalian(FINAL DRAFT)On Wednesday, February 17th, the French and Italian Department, in conjunction with the Center for European Studies, the Department of American Studies, the Department of History and the Department of Radio, Television and Film, will present an evening with Italian born and Brooklyn based director Fred “Kudjo” Kuworno. In addition to a Q&A with the documentarian, the event will feature screenings of his films BlaxploItalian, a “call to action for increased diversity in international cinema” that follows the careers of several Black actors working in Italian cinema and Inside Buffalo, about a unit of African American Buffalo Soldiers who fought in Italy during World War II. We hope to see you there.

Emily Roehl and Jeannette Vaught Giving Talks on Friday 2/12

Emily Roehl

This upcoming Friday, 2/12, is an embarrassment of riches for UT AMS as both graduate student Emily Roehl and instructor (and almuna!) Dr. Jeannette Vaught are giving talks. At 11:00am in the Glickman Conference Center (CLA 1.302D), Emily Roehl will participate in a conversation about Stephanie LeMenager’s book Living Oil, alongside the author and professor of English Ann Cvetkovich. That event follows a talk, cosponsored by UT AMS, that Dr. LeMenager is giving TONIGHT (Thursday, 2/11) at 6:00pm in the Glickman Conference Center (CLA 1.302B).

At 12 PM in WAG 316, Dr. Vaught will be giving a talk, entitled “Feet not Fat: Eugenic Beef and Anxious Husbandmen, 1940-1945,” to the The University of Texas History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium. We’ve included Dr. Vaught’s description of her talk, below.

Dr. Jeanette Vaught

Shortly before 1940, a well-established veterinary surgeon from Colorado State University was hired as the first Head Veterinarian at the Wyoming Hereford Ranch just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The surgeon, Dr. H. H. Kingman, was charged with revolutionizing this famous beef herd’s breeding program through a combination of eugenic selection and a new technology: artificial insemination. This talk will use Kingman’s daily record of his work as a window into the myriad biological and cultural difficulties of this process between 1940 and 1945. Kingman is a transitional figure—a man poised between evaluating bodies by sight, as cattlemen habitually did, and by an animal’s ability to carry fat, and later by statistics. By focusing on genetics over nutrition, Kingman’s work on the Wyoming Hereford Ranch destabilized the conventions of animal expertise. This instability is especially apparent through his conflicts with the ranch’s husbandmen, who often flummoxed—intentionally or not—his efforts to “scientize” the herd. Considering Kingman’s mixed legacy at the Wyoming Hereford Ranch helps us understand broader shifts in human-animal knowledge and American understandings of nature and the natural that accompanied a postwar transition into an industrial agricultural system.

We hope to see you on Friday!

Announcement: Lecture by Rob Nixon on The Anthropocene, Slow Violence and Environmental Justice

The Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies (TILTS) is in the midst of a year-long series of lectures, public talks, seminars, and workshops about the environmental humanities.

As part of the series, Dr. Rob Nixon (Princeton University) will be delivering a lecture on the anthropocene, slow violence, and environmental justice on Thursday, January 28, at 6:00pm in CLA 1.302B.

Rob Nixon holds the Thomas A. and Currie C. Barron Family Professorship in Humanities and Environment at Princeton University. He is the author of four books, most recently Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy and the award-winning Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Nixon writes frequently for the New York Times. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, The Nation, London Review of Books, The Village Voice, Slate, Truthout, Huffington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry, Public Culture and elsewhere.

For more information about the TILTS series of events, click here.


Announcement: Dr. Maurie McInnis appointed UT Provost and Professor of American Studies

Maurie McInnis

Earlier this week, University of Texas at Austin’s President Greg Fenves announced the appointment of Dr. Maurie McInnis as the University’s executive vice president and provost. In addition to her duties as the provost, Prof. McInnis will also be appointed as Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities #1 in the Department of American Studies.

Prof. McInnis has long taught undergraduate courses in American Studies and Art History, including an innovative multi-disciplinary lecture class focused on the history and culture of the slave South. A former Chair of University of Virginia’s American Studies program, her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the relationship between politics and art in early America. Prof. McInnis’s most recent book, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade, was awarded the Charles C. Eldredge Book Prize from the Smithsonian American Art Museum for outstanding scholarship in American Art and the Library of Virginia Literary Award for non-fiction. Her scholarship has been long engaged with public history, and she has worked regularly with museums and historic sites. More details on Professor McInnis’s scholarship, research and accomplishments are available on her website.

We are delighted to welcome Maurie McInnis to both the College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of American Studies!