Welcome to SAAS


Unsteadily Marching On: The US South in Motion (2013), Ed. by Constante González Groba






Open Yale Courses


Free access to courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.



Ana Manzanas & Jesús Benito, Cities, Borders and Spaces in Intercultural American Literature and Film




REN: Revista de Estudios Norteamericanos




Número 16 - 2012




Call For Papers for Our Next Conference

"A Return to (What Never Was) Normal: Discourses of (Ab)Normalcy in US Culture, Literature, Arts, and Politics; Past, Present, and Futures"

Back to list of panels


13)"Deviant Encounters: Liminal Hospitality as Symbolic Resistance in American Literature and Culture "
Panel Chairs: Paula Barba Guerrero,Universidad de Salamanca
Mónica Fernández Jiménez, Universidad de Valladolid
E-mails: paulabarbaguerrero@usal.es, monica.fernandez@uva.es  


Often regarded as persistent problems in American society, racial violence and social discrimination seem to constitute normal social interactions in the US, especially after epidemics or crises. Traced back to the arrival of the first European settlers to the continent, these hostile attitudes explain the prevalence of disidentification discourses during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would seem that moments of crisis give rise to interpretations of the self/Other divide as a healthy/diseased contraposition, reproducing racism as an acceptable fear of the stranger. These discourses propagate xenophobia under the veil of reasonable concern and expose racialized populations to novel forms of violence and oppression.

Such reproductions of violent behaviors respond, in our view, to the workings of hospitality and its double hostility, which often mediate social interactions, enabling familiarity or estrangement. This is particularly conspicuous in the context of national borders and the patrolling of citizenship (Manzanas Calvo and Benito Sánchez 2017). In fact, as Hélène Cixous suggests in conversation with Jacques Derrida, the social exchanges fostered by this dyad often result in the development of concentric borders that reassert hegemony by means of control and restriction. For "one can be inside without being inside, [as] there is an inside in the inside, an outside in the inside and this goes on infinitely" (Cixous and Derrida 2006, 5). Within these many demarcations, hostility easily becomes the norm.

Echoing the Red Summer of 1919, post-COVID Anti-Asian harassment, police brutality against black individuals, and collective outcries like #ICantBreathe attest to this reality, calling for critical intervention to apprehend this ever-threatening new normal. As such, this panel addresses post-pandemic normalcy from a hospitality perspective to reveal a distinct philosophy of encounter that, although based on a so-called law of universal hospitality (Derrida 1999), modulates the relation between self and Other in very divisive terms. It particularly focuses on cultural representations of deviance that articulate hospitality as ethical solidarity (Levinas 1979), focusing on narratives that contest hegemonic practices of Othering in spaces of liminal encounter (McNulty 1999). In imagining contact with the stranger as an opportunity for relationality, these narratives offer alternative views of norms and normalcy, delving into realms of possibility to challenge discrimination and inequity. They approach notions of "futurity" (Sheller 2020) through solidarity and allow us to imagine alternative, equitable worlds from the limits of a hostile reality.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

• Hospitality theory

• Border crossings and the arrival of the Other

• Hope and futurity

• Utopias, dystopias, and heterotopias

• Solidarity and ethical encounters

• Post-pandemic relationality

• Hybridity and postnationalism

• Post-racial theory

• Multicultural democracy



Abstracts of Proposals are to be e-mailed directly to the chair of the selected panel using this form. The deadline for submitting abstracts is October 15, 2022. Panel chairs are expected to accept/reject proposals and have panels set up by November 7.


Non-members of SAAS (of all nationalities) are welcome to participate in the conference, but will be required to pay membership dues for one year as well as the conference registration fee. Members of ASA (American Studies Association), AISNA (Associazione Italiana di Studi Nor-Americani), APEAA (Portuguese Association for Anglo-American Studies) and HELAAS (Hellenic Association for American Studies) need only pay the conference registration fee.

Further guideliness for participants can be found here.

Back to list of panels Back to list of panels Back to list of panels