On 2-3 July 2020, the RIAS hosted a special, online edition of its long-running international PhD seminar.

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, academic events across the globe have been either outright canceled or postponed indefinitely. But we thought it important that graduate students, whose work has been interrupted by the pandemic, still have the opportunity to share their work with an audience of peers. Hence the spring edition of the RIAS’s semi-annual PhD seminar was organized as an online-only event – though we were glad to find that even in this adjusted format, we were still able to assemble a program of cutting-edge research by graduate students in different areas of American history or American studies.

The program, spread out over two days, consisted of two sessions, each featuring three presenters. It included the following papers:

Molly Becker (University of Cambridge), “Midwestern Americanism: Fiction of the Middle Border, 1900-1930”

Ismail Frouini (Chouaib Doukkali University), “(Re)writing the Traumatized Black Subjectives”

Sonia Perraud (Université Grenoble Alpes), “Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction of Presidential Narratives: The Presidency of George W. Bush”

Sarah Nelson (Vanderbilt University), “‘To Build a World in which Man’s Mind Can Be Free’: The United
Nations, American Power, and the Unmaking of Information Freedom in the Early Cold War”

Kalilou Barry (University of Paris-Est Créteil), “The Challenges of Organizing West-African Immigrant Workers in New York and Baltimore, from the 1990s to the Present”

Sabrina Kirschner (Bundeswehr University Munich), “Coping with Urban (Environmental) Challenges in the Americas: McNamara’s World Bank & Sao Paulo’s Dirty Water”