Looking forward to 2018!

We want to wish all our followers a wonderful new year and happy holidays. Thank you all for your support for our world-wide coalition of scholars.  Look for exciting news in 2018 for our inaugural publication and organizational developments!

Specter Fellowships

Arlen Specter Center for Public Service Research Fellowship Announcement: Home


In 2017-18, the Arlen Specter Center will offer two competitive research fellowships for the purpose of aiding a scholar in the pursuit of study and research in an area supported by the Arlen Specter Collection, such as:

  • Supreme court nominee confirmations
  • LGBTQ rights- See materials from Specter’s time as Philadelphia’s District Attorney
  • Middle East diplomacy
  • Cuban-American relations
  • Scientific/medical research funding- including stem-cell research
  • Criminal justice/hate crimes
  • Clinton impeachment
  • Philadelphia regional developments and initiatives (Constitution Center opening; Naval Base closure)

The fellow will use the Arlen Specter Collection at the University of Pittsburgh and Jefferson University    (East Falls Campus).[1]  The Collection contains Specter’s extensive papers, audiovisuals, photographs and memorabilia documenting his 30-year Senatorial career.  The research must result in a publication which furthers knowledge and understanding of a legislative, historical, or policy issue.  It is expected that at least a portion of the research and publication needs to originate from the Arlen Specter Collection.

Eligible Applicants

The intent of the award is to increase awareness of the late Senator’s work and legacy.

Fellowships may be awarded to a graduate student currently enrolled in an academic program or to a post-graduate scholar who will conduct research on a topic consistent with the legacy of the late Senator.  Scholars of or graduate students studying history, political science, or related fields are encouraged to apply.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Fellows will be awarded a $5,000 taxable fellowship, which will cover all travel and research expenses.  This is a two-semester fellowship.*

Jefferson University faculty and/or graduate students are eligible to apply, if their research is directly tied to the fellowship priority areas.  Course releases do not accompany this fellowship.

To be considered, applicants must have a research plan that makes use of the extensive Specter Collection.  The final deliverable must be a scholarly publication such as a white paper, article, book chapter, book, doctoral dissertation, or master’s thesis based on this research plan.

Application Materials

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Unabridged CV or resume
  • Research plan (3-pages maximum) including the statement of importance to the discipline, the intended audience, and expected outcome, including proposed timing for the research plan, and the anticipated publication format: Master’s thesis, PhD dissertation, journal article, book or book chapter, or white paper.
  • One letter of reference from someone familiar with the applicant’s research plan.
  • Statement of importance of the Specter Archives to the research project
    • Feel free to consult with Specter archivist, Ashley Taylor, for details on the content of the archive:
  • Budget and Budget Narrative describing the research expenses that the fellowship will support.

Submit your complete application as a single pdf to:  spectercenter@philau.edu by October 31, 2017. Awardees will be notified during the first week of December, 2017.

Fellowship requirements: 

In return for accepting the fellowship, the fellow will produce the following deliverables:

  • Completed publication, as described in the application.
    • At minimum, a publication-ready draft must be submitted to the Specter Center Coordinator by January 15, 2019.
    • Recipients must appropriately credit the Specter Research Fellowship in the preface and/or footnotes of all work produced with this funding.
  • Two on-campus presentations:
    • Roxboro House Roundtable session for undergraduate and graduate students on the topic of their fellowship-by April 30, 2018
    • Research presentation at a Specter Center Knowledge Exchange for faculty, staff and students about the research activity- by the end of the Fall, 2018 semester.
  • A copy of the published work for the University’s archives.

Arlen Specter websites: 

Relevant books:

Life among the cannibals: a political career, a Tea Party uprising, and the end of governing as we know it – by Specter, Arlen; Robbins, Charles 2012

Passion for truth: from finding JFK’s single bullet to questioning Anita Hill to impeaching Clinton –  by Specter, Arlen; Robbins, Charles, 2000

Arlen Specter:  An Oral History – by Lockman, Brian; Francine Schertzer, 2017                                                         See: https://pcnstore.com/index.php?id_category=6&controller=category

For further information, contact:

  • Karen Albert, Specter Center Coordinator: phone:    215-951-2847; email: albertk@philau.edu
  • Evan Laine, Specter Center Faculty Director: phone: 609-471-3898; email: lainee@philau.edu

*Half of the award will be paid at the start of research with the remainder awarded upon completion of the fellowship requirements.

[1] The materials may be viewed in Pittsburgh, or shipped to Philadelphia.

In Memoriam: Americanist Maurice Gonnaud

In Memoriam Maurice Gonnaud

Maurice GONNAUD, who presided over the destinies of the French Association for American Studies between 1973 and 1980, became the third president of European Association for American Studies, after A.N.J den Hollander and Harry C. Allen. From 1980 to 1984, he worked for our common good along with vice-president Sergio Perosa, secretary Hans Bungert and treasurer Rob Kroes. He died on August 16, 2017. He was 92.
A highly principled scholar and citizen, a man of conviction, culture, measure and rectitude, generous with his time and dedicated to the joint cause of intellectual pursuit and European cooperation, he had studied classics before he turned to English at the end of the war, a legacy that shone through in his written prose and oral delivery, in his most urbane manners.
Begun while he taught at Bryn Mawr, his intellectual biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a lifelong concern, was defended by Maurice in 1964 but republished only in 1987 (Individu et société dans l’oeuvre de Ralph Waldo Emerson : essai de biographie spirituelle, Paris: Didier, 539 p.
) and only came out in translation, to great acclaim, in 2014 ( An Uneasy Solitude: 
Individual and Society in the Work of Ralph Waldo Emerson
, Princeton Legacy Library), a belated but much deserved homage to this aging scholar. In it, he tried to come to terms with the sense of puzzlement he felt at first reading English Traits, to account for the strange “mixture of historical frescoes and crudely personal intrusions, instantaneous observations and waves of references and quotations”, to understand an “incoherent alliance” of “peaceable egotism” and freshness that challenged his own “critical categories”. Stating in hindsight one of his constant preoccupations, Maurice wrote in 2004 that what he most appreciated while doing this work was the necessity he thus faced “to unlearn a number of thought mechanisms long imprinted in [himself]” (Special issue of Revue Française d’Etudes Américaines, n° 100, 2004).
Indeed, such an attitude was probably the main reason for which, in all the functions he scrupulously fulfilled while never derogating from his own moral principles, he elicited such trust and commanded such respect. His curiosity, desire to learn from others and ability to listen never left him.
A subtle and learned analyst of nineteenth-century American literature (he also notably co-authored, with Jean Béranger, La Littérature américaine
jusqu’en 1865, Paris : Armand Colin, 1974, and published numerous articles on that period), he had begun his career at the University of Dijon (1953-1959) and  been a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (1959-1961). He was elected Full Professor at the University of Lumière-Lyon II in 1961, a position he held till his retirement in 1986, after a year as Visiting Professor at Harvard in 1985, where he gave a lecture (“Democratic aesthetics”) that became the basis for his latest contribution to the field, published in Transatlantica (https://transatlantica.revues.org/1206).
Our friendship began nearly 40 years ago, while we worked daily together for the better part of two years, organizing the 1982 Paris EAAS conference, not without a host of difficulties, as neither Maurice nor I taught at a Parisian university at the time. After he retired and we no longer met on professional grounds, we often corresponded and I tried, until last year, to go and see him in Ecully (near Lyon), where he lived, as often as I could. I will never forget the warm hug and encouragement he gave me in 2004 when I succeeded Josef Jarab as President of EAAS, nor the delightful welcome Mrs Gonnaud and he gave their visitors.
Only two weeks ago, I spoke to them on the phone. Maurice had just sent to the press a couple of well-weighed, principled letters dealing with current events. He sometimes had trouble standing, but still could take a stand. Not much white hair on his head ; none on his mind.
Having known him was a privilege and a joy.

Marc Chénetier


Less than a week until the Society of Americanists conference begins in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Hilton Harrisburg Hotel, March 31-April 1! Walk-in registrations welcome. For program, registration forms, hotel information, and directions to conference site, see https://harrisburg.psu.edu/sites/default/files/eastern-american-studies-association/easa_spring2017.pdf. Weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 50s-60s (f).


NEWSLETTER & PROGRAM: https://harrisburg.psu.edu/sites/default/files/eastern-american-studies-association/easa_spring2017.pdf
HOTEL RESERVATION (RESERVE BEFORE MARCH 1 FOR DISCOUNTED RATE!) http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/groups/personalized/M/MDTHHHF-EASA3-20170331/index.jhtml for hotel reservation.
HOTEL SITE (HILTON HARRISBURG): http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/hilton-harrisburg-MDTHHHF/index.html
SOA SITE: http://americanist.net

CFP: Milestones, Markers, and Moments–SOA meeting with EASA & MAFA

Inaugural Meeting of the Society of Americanists
Theme: “Milestones, Markers, and Moments: Turning Points in American Experience and Tradition”
Date: March 31-April 1, 2017
Venue: Harrisburg Hilton, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Partner Organizations: Middle Atlantic Folklife Association (MAFA) and Eastern American Studies Association (EASA)

In the upcoming year, the anniversary of classic publications and addresses, of the election of the first African American president of the ASA, and the foundation of many prominent programs in American Studies throughout the United States, Americanists might reflect on any number of critical moments in the formation of the field that call upon us to consider both how the field has come to be constructed in the present moment, and what turning points may lie ahead.

As part of our history of framing, and re-framing American Studies as a field in dialogue with contemporary events and trends, institutional developments, and disciplinary formations, the inaugural meeting of a new professional organization, The Society of Americanists, will offer yet another point of departure to interrogate American Studies as a scholarly venture.

Conceived of as “a coalition of persons, organizations, and academic programs devoted to the study of the United States.” The SOA’s purpose is to foster integrated studies of American history, society, arts, and culture in all their aspects, and to promote the profession of scholars and professionals devoted to the study of the United States in a global context.

This year, the SOA, in partnership with the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association and the Eastern American Studies Association, invites proposals for papers, panels, forums, and workshops related to the broad theme of markers, moments, and turning points in American history, folklife, education, cultural conservation, heritage, and society.

As part of specially designated SOA-sponsored sessions, the program committee is particularly interested in works that offer perspectives on both past moments and future directions in the American Studies movement, especially in a global context.

The SOA, MAFA, and EASA hope for presentations suggested by the conference theme , but we also welcome panels on topics of significance to scholars engaged in the practice of American Studies that the conference theme otherwise might exclude.

Submission Guidelines:

For Individual Presenters: Send a short abstract (no more than 200 words) and a brief CV or resume (no more than two pages). Place your name and email address on both documents.

For Pre-formed Panels: Send a cover sheet with the title of the panel, the names of each participant, and the titles of their presentations. Include a short abstract of each paper (no more than 200 words each) as well as a CV or resume for each panel participant (no longer than two pages).

SOA Designation: Those submitting proposals are free to do so without designation for the general joint conference. However, if you would like your paper, panel, or workshop to be considered for inclusion in the inaugural meeting of the Society of Americanists, please indicate this on your proposal materials. These sessions will receive special designation in the conference program as SOA-sponsored events.

How to Submit: All materials should be sent to Jennifer Drissel (jzd5551@psu.edu) before Monday, January 16, 2017. Graduate students whose proposals are accepted will be encouraged to submit their final papers electronically several weeks prior to the conference to be considered for the Simon J. Bronner Award for the outstanding graduate paper in American Studies.

The conference will also host an Undergraduate Roundtable. Faculty members interested in having their undergraduate students present research at the conference should contact Dr. Francis Ryan of La Salle University (ryan@lasalle.edu). Roundtable participants will compete for the Francis Ryan Award, awarded annually to the outstanding undergraduate paper.

Any general questions can be directed to John Haddad of Penn State Harrisburg (jrh36@psu.edu).

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