About EAAS Women's Network

Mission Statement

The mission of the EAAS Women’s Network is to facilitate contact among EAAS members interested in subjects and issues dealing with women and gender. It seeks to enhance cooperation among European Americanists by establishing a network of scholars with common research interests. It also encourages collaboration on projects, and works towards organizing parallel lectures, workshops, panel discussions, roundtables, performances, exhibits, and keynote addresses at EAAS meetings, with the end goal of increasing the visibility of women and women’s and gender issues.

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EAAS Women's network


The History of the Women's Network

For several years the Women’s Caucus met at EAAS events and, each time, a new crowd of people gathered, discussed—sometimes heatedly—issues related to women’s and gender studies, the political and economic situation of women’s and gender studies in the various EAAS member states, and how the Women’s Caucus could work. At most meetings, we easily agreed that networking and the mutual exchange of ideas would be a wonderful undertaking. However, we also disappointedly agreed that hardly anyone could spare the time to start either a members’ list or even a separate website. While the meetings were always full of enthusiasm and new ideas, the aftermaths of such gatherings proved disillusioning because every-day academic life made it difficult to maintain connections.

I recall our first official “meeting” (shoptalk) in Cyprus in 2006 with a pretty large number of people engaging in discussion, but I also recall another meeting in Dublin in 2010, where we were a last-minute addendum to the program, and the only room left was what one participant called a broom closet. But perhaps because of the narrowness of the room and the ensuing closeness we felt then, first stirrings emerged, and we at last started a list and received a promise from the EAAS webmaster to post anything we sent him. In Dublin, Justine Tally from the University of La Laguna in Spain and I were elected the first Steering Committee members, and we managed to contact the organizers of the 2012 Izmir conference (Meldan Tanrisal and Tanfer Emin Tunc) for a preferred slot on Monday morning. The Izmir meeting proved to be a turning point.

In Izmir, a relatively large number of people from Turkey and elsewhere gathered, among them Meldan Tanrisal, then Vice President of EAAS, and Tanfer Emin Tunc, Vice President of the American Studies Association of Turkey. Justine and I were happy to welcome them as members of an enlarged Steering Committee, and together we set up a new list on the EAAS website and invited/sponsored Lisa Hayes, who performed a one-woman show—“Finding the Light”—on behalf of the Women’s Caucus at the 2014 Hague conference. This conference made it clear to us that we needed to be in touch more than just biennially, so we reorganized the Steering Committee to include four members. In addition to Tanfer, we gained the new, vigorous, and enthusiastic voices of Annessa Ann Babic from New York, Ingrid Gessner from Germany, and Rubén Cenamor from Spain. It is because of their hard work that the Women’s Caucus, renamed the Women’s Network, was able to hold its first symposium in 2015 in Lublin, Poland on “The State of the Nation: American Women in the Twenty-First Century.” The Steering Committee hopes to host this platform for the discussion of women’s and gender issues biennially, in different locations throughout Europe, to alternate with the EAAS Conference.

Carmen Birkle
Professor and Chair of American Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg


EAAS women's network


Steering Committee

Professor of English and American Studies at the Vorarlberg University of Education, Feldkirch, Austria. She has been a Visiting Professor of American Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2016. Her studies have also led her to the University of California, Davis, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She received her master’s degree from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, and her doctorate from the University of Regensburg. Her book Yellow Fever Years: An Epidemiology of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture (2016) has been awarded the Peter Lang Young Scholars Award. She is the author of Collective Memory as Catharsis? The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Public Controversy (2000) and of the award-winning From Sites of Memory to Cybersights: (Re)Framing Japanese American Experiences (2007). She co-edited special issues on Iconographies of the Calamitous in American Visual Culture (with Susanne Leikam; 2013) and on Commemorating World War II at 70: Ethnic and Transnational Perspectives (with Birgit Däwes; 2015). Further publications include articles on 9/11, gender studies, eco-photography, and on questions of transnationalism. She has served as assistant editor of Amerikastudien/American Studies and as editor of the e-journal COPAS (Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies and is a founding member of the Digital American Studies Initiative (DASI) within the German Association for American Studies. Since 2014 she is a member of the EAAS Women’s network steering committee and a founding member of the network’s e-journal WiN. She will continue this important work within the EAAS and the ASA, where she has been appointed to serve on the Committee on Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2017.

Email: eaaswomen@ingrid-gessner.de

Assistant Professor (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) of American Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. She has been serving as the managing director of the Marburg Center for Gender Studies and Feminist Research since 2017 and she is an Associate Editor of Amerikastudien / American Studies. She conducted research as a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The New School, UC Riverside, and Barnard College. Her research focuses on American literatures and dance forms of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, critical and cultural theory, especially new materialist and feminist theory and critical posthumanism. Her first book, Walking the Möbius Strip: An Inquiry into Knowing in Richard Powers’s Fiction (Winter, 2016), draws on feminist epistemology and psychoanalysis to highlight the non-propositional aspects of cognition that escape the frameworks of scientific empiricism and can only be known through the mediation of fictional narrative. She is currently working on her second book project, “Becoming-Body: Freedom and Technologies of the Self in American Modern Dance,” in which she explores the implications of corporeal materiality for the construction of subjectivity and freedom in American modern dance techniques. As part of this research, she spent a semester at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and she took classes in Duncan and Dunham technique. She has published in the fields of American literature, cultural theory, and dance studies, including the co-edited collection Communicating Disease: Cultural Representations of American Medicine (with Carmen Birkle) and recent articles in Dance Chronicle and Hypatia (forthcoming).

Email: johanna.heil@uni-marburg.de

Assistant Professor at the Department of American Literature and Culture at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Her research interests encompass American ethnic literature, race, post-colonial and gender studies, and the intersection of literary and non-literary arts. She has published extensively on South Asian American women’s literature, with a special focus on literary representations of female sexuality and female body. She is the author, among others, of Bicultural Bodies: A Study of South Asian American Women’s Literature (Peter Lang, 2013) and co-editor of Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture (Peter Lang, 2017). She also acts as the co-coordinator of the ExRe(y) project that encompasses biannual conferences and publications devoted to the most recent developments in American literature and culture.

Email: izakimak@gmail.com

Associate Professor English and American literature at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. She is the author of four monographs: a volume on the figure of Tamerlane in British and American literature (2000); an introduction to British Bangladeshi literature (2005); a study on the relationship between Mary Shelley and Italy (2011); an analysis of the Romantic dramas on a mythological subject (2016). She has translated poems by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, collected in a volume (2006). Between 2001 and 2018 she edited/co-edited eight collections of essays (two more are forthcoming) and a Special Forum of Journal of Transnational American Studies, dedicated to Sau-Ling C. Wong (2012). She has published extensively on the English Romantic writers (especially Mary Shelley and P.B. Shelley), Indian diasporic literature, travel literature, Asian American and Asian British literature, and Italian American literature.

Email: marino@lettere.uniroma2.it

Carmen Birkle
Philipps-University of Marburg (Germany)

Justine Tally
University of La Laguna (Spain)

Meldan Tanrisal
Hacettepe University (Turkey)

Tanfer Emin Tunç
Hacettepe University (Turkey)

Rubén Cenamor
Universidad de Barcelona (Spain)

Annessa Ann Babic
Independent Scholar (United States)

Susanne Leikam
Independent Scholar (Germany)

Marta J. Lysik
University of Wroclaw (Poland)
April-November 2019



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