Alumni Voices: Jeannette Vaught and Jenny Kelly presenting at “Envisioning American Studies” conference

If you’ll be in Ann Arbor in March, we highly recommend you check out the University of Michigan’s “Envisioning American Studies” conference, a part of their 80th anniversary celebration of their American Culture program. Ph.D. alumni Drs. Jeannette Vaught and Jenny Kelly have both been selected to present research relating to their dissertations – now manuscripts – in this discussion of the vanguard of American cultural analysis. Congratulations to both of them!

For more information, see the 80th anniversary website here.

Announcement: Fall Soiree highlights faculty and graduate research

"Acer japonicum Vitifolium JPG1fu" by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Acer japonicum Vitifolium JPG1fu” by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The department is launching a few new events this fall that we hope you’ll join us for! The first is a Fall Soiree: today, on the fourth floor of Burdine from 4:00 – 6:30pm, Dr. Shirley Thompson and Ph.D. candidate Elissa Underwood will be giving short talks about their research, followed by discussion and food and drinks.

Shirley Thompson: #BlackLivesMatter and My Year of Economic Thinking

During this past year, as a widespread, coordinated resistance to anti-Black state violence crystallized in various US locales and on social media, I was able to embark on a systematic study of economic theory and methods for my project on Black Americans and the problem of property and ownership. I will discuss the implications for my work of both this formal study and a newly invigorated insistence on the value of black life.

Elissa Underwood:  Pop-Up Prison Kitchens: A Food-Based Challenge to the Prison Industrial Complex

I will be discussing non-traditional prison cookery and exploring its role as a counter-narrative to the personal and structural misery experienced by incarcerated individuals.

Should be a great conversation!

Announcement: Dr. Nicole Guidotti-Hernández Wins MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies

We have the most incredible news to share today! Our very own Dr. Nicole Guidotti-Hernández has been awarded the prestigious Modern Language Association Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies for her book Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries (Duke University Press, 2011). Dr. Guidotti-Hernández is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies here at UT Austin.


Unspeakable Violence addresses the epistemic and physical violence inflicted on racialized and gendered subjects in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Arguing that this violence was fundamental to U.S., Mexican, and Chicana/o nationalisms, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández examines the lynching of a Mexican woman in California in 1851, the Camp Grant Indian Massacre of 1871, the racism evident in the work of the anthropologist Jovita González, and the attempted genocide, between 1876 and 1907, of the Yaqui Indians in the Arizona–Sonora borderlands. Guidotti-Hernández shows that these events have been told and retold in ways that have produced particular versions of nationhood and effaced other issues. Scrutinizing stories of victimization and resistance, and celebratory narratives of mestizaje and hybridity in Chicana/o, Latina/o, and borderlands studies, she contends that by not acknowledging the racialized violence perpetrated by Mexicans, Chicanas/os, and indigenous peoples, as well as Anglos, narratives of mestizaje and resistance inadvertently privilege certain brown bodies over others. Unspeakable Violence calls for a new, transnational feminist approach to violence, gender, sexuality, race, and citizenship in the borderlands.

Way to go, Dr. Guidotti-Hernández!

Grad Research: E3W Roundtable Features Elissa Underwood as Panelist

A hearty welcome back from spring break (at least for you UT folks) from all of us at AMS :: ATX. We’re kicking off the week by sharing what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion featuring one of our own graduate students, Elissa Underwood, as a panelist.

Details below from the official event announcement:

In advance of the 12th Annual Sequels Symposium, the second Prequels event of Spring 2013 will focus on the work of Peter Caster, one of the conference’s keynote speakers and a distinguished alumnus of the English department. Caster’s recent book, Prisons, Race, and Masculinity in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature and Film (2008), is grounded in the proposition that “the history, literary and otherwise, of the United States is indivisible from that of its prisons.”

Inspired by this work, a panel of graduate students, faculty members, and activists will offer perspectives and narratives that capture the realities of the American prison industrial complex. This discussion will open with a brief video montage of scenes from TV and film that best represent how American popular culture depicts the national prison system. In response to this montage, our panelists will share how their work reveals and communicates the realities of prison life in the United States. Panelists include Melissa Burch (Graduate Student, Anthropology), Rebecca Lorins (Texas After Violence Project), Elissa Underwood(Graduate Student, American Studies), Benet Magnuson (Policy Attorney, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition), and E3W’s very own Barbara Harlow, who will serve as a moderator and respondent. We hope you will join us and add your voice to the discussion.