American Studies Association of Norway (ASANOR) Conference, October 11-13, 2018 University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway - Faculty of Humanities and Education
The first person to proudly identify himself as cosmopolitan, “a citizen of the cosmos,” was the cynic Diogenes of Sinope. The latest person to famously criticize cosmopolitanism is Donald Trump administration senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, who recently accused a CNN reporter of a “cosmopolitan bias”. From ancient times to the present, cosmopolitanism and the cosmopolitan have been both romanticized and reviled.
Entwined with recent debates about globalism, international migration, and the hardening of national borders, cosmopolitanism has become a critical and popular “buzzword.” Yet what is the relation between globalism and cosmopolitanism? Or nationalism and cosmopolitanism? Thomas Paine identified himself as a cosmopolitan—“the world is my country; all mankind are my brethren…”—yet he defended national sovereignty. For Kwame Anthony Appiah, cosmopolitanism entails a sense of obligation to others, especially distant others, as well as a firm commitment to human rights.
This sounds eminently reasonable, yet it is not uncontroversial. Now is a good time to ask: how can literature and the arts more generally, philosophy, history, political theory and critical social theory contribute to discussions about what cosmopolitanism means for us today? What kinds of strategies and lesson plans might teachers at the secondary level adopt in order to address the topic of cosmopolitanism in the classroom?
Possible topics include cosmopolitanism and:
Nationalism, globalism/globalization, travel, postcolonialism, identity politics, pedagogy, exile, asylum, vagrancy, human rights, philosophy, migrant and other realist literatures, science fiction and fantasy, neoliberal capitalism, national/international policy, multiculturalism, urbanization, activism, religion law, hospitality, immigration policy, environmental policy.
Cyrus R. K. Patell (New York University Abu Dhabi)
Cyrus R. K. Patell is Global Network Professor of Literature at NYUAD and Professor of English at NYU in New York. He began his scholarly career as a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century American literature and culture, but his recent scholarship and teaching has centered on the theory and practice of cosmopolitanism, on late-twentieth-century U.S. emergent literatures, and on the literature and culture of New York City. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Undergraduate Honors for the English Department at NYU. From 2010–2013, Patell was the Associate Dean of Humanities for NYU Abu Dhabi.
At NYU Abu Dhabi, Patell is teaches a variety of courses including “Foundations of Literature I: Epic and Drama,” “Foundations of Literature II: Lyric Poetry and the Novel,” and “Global Shakespeare.” Past courses include “Classic American Literature,” “The Cosmopolitan Imagination,” “Speculative Fiction,” and “Technophilia and Its Discontents.”
He is the author most recently of Emergent U.S. Literatures: From Multiculturalism to Cosmopolitanism in the Late Twentieth-Century (NYU Press, 2014) and Cosmopolitanism and the Literary Imagination (Palgrave, 2015). Patell is presently at work on a study of the ways in which Shakespeare's Hamlet became part of global cultural heritage. Together with Deborah Lindsay Williams, he is co-editing volume eight of the twelve-volume Oxford History of the Novel in English (general editor Patrick Parrinder) on the American novel after 1940, as well as co-authoring the forthcoming Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism: The US Novel after 1945 (Palgrave).
Patell serves as the publisher for Electra Street: A Journal of the Arts and Humanities and its sister publication, Airport Road, a journal of student creative work. He is co-director, with Katherine Schaap Williams, of the NYUAD Global Shakespeare Project.
Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo (Vanderbilt University)
Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo (Ph.D., Duke University) is Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships and Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Her work centers on the impact of the peoples of the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean on each other’s identities and ideologies, particularly as they surface in autobiographies, poems, periodicals, and popular music.
Her publications include Black Cosmopolitanism: Racial Consciousness, and Transnational Identity in the Nineteenth-Century Americas; “Bilingualism, Blackness, and Belonging: The Racial and Generational Politics of Linguistic Transnationalism in Panama,” “The Promises and Perils of U.S. African American Hemispherism: Latin America in Martin Delany’s Blake and Gayl Jones’ Mosquito,” “Langston Hughes and the Translation of Nicolas Guillen’s Afro-Cuban Culture and Language,” “Race and Representation in the Digital Humanities,” and “Living the West Indian Dream: Archipelagic Cosmopolitanism and Triangulated Economies of Desire in Jamaican Popular Culture”(forthcoming).
Her edited volumes include Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World (co-edited with Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University), African Routes, Caribbean Roots, Latino Lives, and Critical Approaches to Louise Bennett and Globally Engaged Pedagogy, Research, and Creative Practice (in press).
Dr. Nwankwo’s innovative interdisciplinary projects use community-engaged research methodologies alongside literary critical ones to analyze and advance intercultural and intergenerational relations. These projects include Voices from Our AmericaTM, an international public scholarship and digital humanities project that uses interviews, autobiography and art production, along with archival research to uncover new aspects of communities’ histories then draws on those new sources to develop digital and print publications as well as workshops and other educational programs for K-12 teachers, older adults, and youth. Dr. Nwankwo’s projects also include The Wisdom of the Elders, an initiative focused on revealing and recognizing older adults’ life- and soul- sustaining wisdoms and productively incorporating them into K-12, undergraduate, graduate and health professional education.
Nicole Waller (University of Potsdam)
Nicole Waller is Professor of American Studies at the University of Potsdam. Her research interests include the field of Atlantic studies, Caribbean studies, colonial American history and literature, Arab American literature and culture, the American relationship with Islam, transnational American studies, and postcolonial theory.
Her teaching covers the range of these fields. She has held teaching assistantships at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and Queens College, New York, a Ph.D. exchange fellowship at Columbia University, New York, and visiting/research fellowships at Louisiana State University and the American Antiquarian Society. She has held professorships at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz (Juniorprofessur), Georg-August-University Göttingen (as interim professor), and Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg.
She received degrees from Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz (M.A. in American Studies, Modern History, and Comparative Literature; Ph.D in American Studies) and the City University of New York (M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literatures).
Selected publications include:
Contradictory Violence: Revolution and Subversion in the Caribbean. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2005. Print.
American Encounters with Islam in the Atlantic World. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2011. Print.
Politics in Fantasy Media: Essays on Ideology and Gender in Fiction, Film, Television and Games. Ed. with Gerold Sedlmayr. Jefferson: McFarland, 2014. Print.