OHP Publications


Advisory Board




The Albany Project


The Institute for Critical Climate Change (IC3)
Presents A Workshop Series on:

America Without Reserve(s)—
Broken Contracts and
the War on the Future

the International American Studies Association

Fourth World Congress
“Decoding American Cultures in the Global Context”
SEPTEMBER 18-20, 2009

Beijing Foreign Studies University, BEIJING, China

America without Reserves


How has the aftermath of the “Bush” catastrophe—which now includes the American induced collapse of the global economy--altered the premises of how America’Äôs pasts and futures are read, both within and from without?

The most patent signature of the Bush era would be its breaking of contracts with the figures of American heritage, or its ghosts. This includes not only the constitution or torture, the undermining of the free market (a faith) by corruption and deregulation, vast tele-disinformation campaigns, spellbinding media propaganda, and disinformation campaigns, the total suspension of accountability, the faux unilateralism—and so on. It is a question whether such “contracts” had not, however, been broken all along and from the beginning, producing an always divergent reality from their rhetorical pretense.

In either case, America finds itself now re-defined in an emerging “post-global context” in which a planetary crisis of the species in the dawning era of climate change is posed. This latter question opens the prospect of visible and invisible wars over diminishing futures—resource wars, race wars, memory wars.

The three workshops each highlight a specific area of this mutation: that of new social formations (session I), that of literary memory (session II), and that of theoretical legacies transformed by this new environment (session III). The proposed workshops represent an initiative at Albany addressing the reconfiguration of nationalist ideologies in the post-humanist era of planetary crises and climate change (Institute on Critical Climate Change).

America Without Reserve(s)--
Broken Contracts and the War on the Future” I: the Socio-Political Imaginary

Moderator: Mike Hill, Chair, University at Albany

1. “US Identity in the Post-Bush Era: From the Axis of Evil to the Times of Common Humanity”
Cristina Garrigos
University at Leon, Spain

2. “Saving for the Future or Spending the Future: the economic meltdown, the American dream, and the Chinese difference”
Tian Song
College of Philosophy and Sociology
Beijing Normal University

3. "Toward a World without the West?: Mapping the US Army's Human Terrain Program"
Mike Hill
University at Albany

Djelal Kadir
The Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Comparative Literature
The Pennsylvania State University



America Without Reserve(s)--
Broken Contracts and the War on the Future” II: Disfiguration and Memory

Moderator: Tom Cohen, University at Albany

1. "Unnatural Disasters: Kara Walker's 'After the Deluge'"
Eduardo Cadava
Princeton University

2. “No Redemption Songs”
Karin Cope
NSCAD University (Canada)

3. “Credit and Credibility”
Tom Cohen
University at Albany

Liu Kang
Chair Professor and Dean, Institute of Arts and Humanities, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Professor, Duke University


America Without Reserve--
Broken Contracts and the War on the Future” III: Theoretical Mutations

Moderator: Kir Kuiken, University at Albany

1. “Broken 'Promises': Rousseau, de Man, and Watergate”
Martin McQuillan
University of Leeds

2. “The Default of Pragmatism”
Paul Grimstad
Yale University

3. “Between Two Exceptions: American Sovereignty as Auto-Immune Reaction”
Kir Kuiken
University at Albany

Wang Guanglin, Dean
Shanghai Institute for Foreign Trade


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