Frontiers and Wastelands | CONFERENCE



The conference focuses on how the American imagination has shaped—and, in turn, has been shaped by—its frontiers and borderlands, marked by an intrinsic peripheral quality, sociocultural porosity, and a diverse range of experiences and identities. As Lee Bebout (2016) has highlighted discussing the US–Mexico border, representations of frontiers, the “other side,” and the people inhabiting these regions have been historically deployed to construct a dominant national identity—often exploiting, invisiblizing, or neglecting local identities in the process.
The proximity of otherness—which dwells in the borderlands themselves—implies an implicit threat to the sovereignty and cultural integrity of the nation eliciting a variety of perceived dangers, as well as exoticism, fetishization, and stereotypes connected to the peripheral regions and their people. Borderlands are at the same time familiar and troubling places, characterized by neo/colonial legacies and where “the fluidity of national borders collapses the otherwise clear distinctions between native and foreigner, domestic and international” (Alemán 2006, 409). Furthermore, the geography of the frontier is rife with threats itself, perceived as either wasteland, impenetrable growth, or impassable orography, overwhelming and foreign.
The conference invites reflections on the multimodal representations of the US borderlands and frontier experience in popular culture and discourses, focusing on the diversity of identities, liminality, and disenfranchised experiences of Americanness, as well as the construction of borders as means to define the US national imaginary.

KEYNOTES Cathryn Halverson (Södertörn University), John Wills (University of Kent)
ROUNDTABLE Rewest Research Group (David Río, Amaia Ibarraran, Ángel Chaparro, Amaia Soroa)

If you have any doubt or inquiry, feel welcome to drop a line at

Universidad de Alcalá
28801 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid ES

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Anna Marta Marini (Universidad de Alcalá)
Laura Álvarez Trigo (Universidad de Valladolid)

Organizing Assistant
Dina Pedro (Universidad de Valencia)
Amaia Soroa Bacaicoa (UPV/EHU)

Academic Committee
Julio Cañero Serrano (Universidad de Alcalá / AMICUSS)
Anna Marta Marini (Universidad de Alcalá / AMICUSS)
Laura Álvarez Trigo (Universidad de Valladolid / AMICUSS)
Anne Magnussen (Center for American Studies, SDU)
Dina Pedro (Universidad de Valencia)
Michael Fuchs (University of Innsbruck)
Stefan Rabitsch (University of Oslo / EAAS West of the Rest network)
Ana Lariño (Instituto Franklin-UAH)
Laura Rey (Instituto Franklin-UAH)