The RIAS was very proud to host their spring PhD seminar on 11-13 May 2022 in person for the first time in over two years due to the COVID pandemic.

The biannual PhD seminars are a core component of the RIAS’ commitment to keeping engaged with the most cutting edge of research emerging from the diverse field of American studies. This year’s participants presented on a vast array of exciting topics that touched upon aspects of US history, culture, society, and politics.

The three sessions of the seminar itself were chaired by Dr. Anne-Marie Wilson (Leiden University), Dr. Kathryn Roberts (Groningen University), and RIAS director Professor Damian Pargas (Leiden University). They each featured the engaged discussion of the following exciting papers:


Debby Esmeé de Vlugt (Roosevelt Institute for American Studies), A New Feeling of Unity: Black Power in the Dutch Atlantic, 1968-1973

Amanda Stafford (University of Leeds), ‘What did you do for the good of the nation? I typed!’: Radical Print Culture and Radical Feminism in Georgia, 1968-1976

Allison McKibban (Birkbeck College, University of London), Unsettling ‘Safety’: Confronting Logics of Colonialism in the 2013 Reauthorization of the U.S. Violence against Women Act

Aashima Rana (Dublin City University), Woman as a Trickster and Ancestral Figure in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby

Sahar Kheirandish (Université Bordeaux Montaigne), Rebecca Solnit’s Autotheoretical Recollections of Dissent in California

Max McKenna (JFK Institute – Freie Universität Berlin), The Case of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Intellectual Property, Neoliberalism, and Conspiracies of Infrastructure

Julian Windhövel (Graduate School for the Humanities, Cologne), ‘Counterrevolution’: The Efforts of White Planters to Maintain the Old South and Black Resistance in Reconstruction Era Louisiana

Evan Bonney (Sciences Po-Paris), Forests and Power in the United States Empire, 1891-1914


This year’s spring seminar was also saw the valuable presence and contributions of visiting scholars Professor Alessandro Brogi (University of Arkansas) and Dr. Simon Topping (Plymouth University). Professor Brogi also spoke on the topic of Learning the Scholar’s Craft:  Approaches and Research Methods in Transatlantic Studies. And Dr. Topping graciously concluded the three day event with talk on his new book, Northern Ireland, The United States, and the Second World War, as well as on his very own experiences of doing research at the RIAS.