Salzburg Global Seminar Home Salzburg Global Seminar Mission

Session Links
Stay in Touch with Facebook! Watch our Videos! Follow us on Twitter! Join our LinkedIn Network! Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Schloss Leopoldskron
Europe's future: 1814, 1914 - or something completely different? 
Defining America: New Writing, New Voices, New Directions
27 Sep - 01 Oct, 2014
 A Lived Practice Symposium - Artists as Changemakers

Mita Banerjee - Prof. and Chair, American Studies, Univ. of Mainz; founder, Center for Comparative Native & Indigenous Studies, Mainz
Christopher Bigsby - Professor of American Studies and Director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies, University of East Anglia, UK; broadcaster and award-winning novelist and biographer
Mary Brady - Associate Prof, Dept. of English, Cornell Univ.; prize for Best Work of Latina/o and Chicana/o Literary and Cultural Criticism
Ron Clifton - (Co-Chair) Former Associate Vice President of Stetson University and Retired Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service of the United States
Julia Kostova - Acquisitions Editor, Oxford University Press, responsible for reference and digital publishing in the humanities
Paul Lauter - (Co-Chair) Allan K. & Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Literature, Trinity College; editor, the Heath Anthology of American Literature
Susan Straight - Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, University of California Riverside. Award-winning novelist , winner of the Gold Medal for Fiction for her novel Highwire Moon, and National Book Award finalist
Karen Tei Yamashita - Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, Circle K Cycles, I Hotel, and most recently, Anime Wong: Fictions of Performance, all published ...

The United States is always in flux. In a sense, change is its defining quality and recent demographic movements and technological developments are transforming all aspects of cultural expression and reshaping social and creative interactions. New writing in new voices is suggesting new directions.

This session will examine the impact of these transformations on American experience and analysis. Are these new voices assuming greater significance? To what extent are novelists, poets, dramatists and those involved in the growing field of non-fictional prose engaged in a dialogue about American identity, or has that conversations moved elsewhere? Questions linger as to why and in what direction the United States is moving and whether contemporary work produced by Americans retains what might be called distinctly "American" characteristics.

In addition, forms of writing, publishing and book-selling are themselves being transformed. We note the gradual disappearance of bookstores and the power of online sales, the emergence of the graphic novel, blogs which develop into books, and self-published works appearing on literary prize lists. What is the impact of these changes on literary expression and cultural liveliness in America today? Are books on paper a dying technology?

We will examine new and established writers, listen to their literary and cultural voices and try to determine where America might be headed. To do so we invite a mix of the academic and the practitioner interested in contemporary aspects of creative American writing.

Questions to keep in mind throughout the session will include the following

What are the demographic changes that relate to the new voices, new writing and evolving direction and cultural creative future of the United States?

Can we still refer in any meaningful way to distinctly American novels, poetry, theatre, etc. or have technological and demographic changes in the United States changed cultural agendas entirely?

Has the spread of the Spanish language and importance of ethnic groups changed the definition of the American experience?

Are new authors and artists telling us something original and compelling about the changing culture of contemporary America?

For information about being a participant, contact Symposium Director Ms. Marty Gecek,


Susan Straight
Christopher Bigsby



Board of Directors
Staff Directory
A Brief History
Contact Information
SGS In The Community
President's Reports
Audit Reports
Careers & Internships
Commitment to Sustainablilty


Registration Information
Upcoming Programs
American Studies Programs
The Global Prevention of Genocide
Global Citizenship Program
Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy
Reform and Transformation in the
   Middle East & North Africa

Salzburg Academy on Media
   and Global Change

American Studies
Culture & The Arts
Economics & Finance
Genocide Studies & Prevention
Global Citizenship
Global Media Literacy
Health & Healthcare Innovation
Philanthropy Studies
Reform & Transformation
   in the Middle East

The Salzburg Global

Fellowship Events

In the News

Past Sessions
Past Initiatives



TEL: +43 662 839 830
FAX: +43 662 839 8309

© 2020 Salzburg Global Seminar