Alternative Realities: New Challenges for American Literature in the Era of Trump


FRIDAY 13th December


9.00 Registration     

Panel 1: Alternative realities, narrative, and race in the story of America
Sonia Weiner (Tel Aviv University)
“The Direction of the Bizarre”: Reimagining History in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
Keren Omry (University of Haifa)
Racing Alternativity: Nisi Shawl, Colson Whitehead, and Ben Winters
Karen Hellekson (Independent Scholar)
Underground Airlines, Entropy, and Dehumanization

Panel 2: Media narratives and political correctness
Alyn Euritt (Universität Leipzig)
“A mosquito trapped in amber”: Podcasting’s Time-Shifted Seriality in the Trump Era
Sydney Forde (University at Buffalo & Brock University)
Compromised Freedom: US News Media’s Fear of Anti-Semite Accusations
Helena Šváchová (Palacký University Olomouc)
Young Adult Fiction, Social Media, and Political Correctness

10.45-11.15 Tea & coffee

11.15 – 12.30
Panel 3: Muslim and Arab American Writing
Bernadette Andrea (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Arab Women’s “Voyages In” and the “New American Realities”: Leila Ahmed, A Border Passage: From Cairo to America: A Woman’s Journey and Fatema Mernissi, Scheherezade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems
Maria Mothes (Universität Koblenz-Landau)
Writing the Antidote: Representations of Resistance by Muslim Writers in Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic and Banthology
Imane Jaa (Université de Liège)
Tracing Political Violence: The Importance of Multiple Narrative Viewpoints in Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans

Panel 4: Discourse
Olga Thierbach-McLean (Independent Scholar)
“Build, Therefore, Your Own World” on “Alternative Facts”: The American Tradition of Subjectivity from Emerson to Trump
Marcela Ganea (Artifex University of Bucharest)
American Exceptionalism in Donald Trump’s Crippled America
Michelle Mihee Kim Gardner (University of California, Irvine)
Fight Club and the Appeal to the White, Male Imagination: A Sociopolitical Understanding of the Rise Above Movement (RAM)

12.30-13.15 Plenary 1: Aleksandar Hemon

13.15-14.15 Lunch

Panel 5: Latinx
Macarena García-Avello (Universidad de Cantabria)
Transnational Borderlands in US Latina Literature
Ben V. Olguín (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Right-Wing Raza: Borderlands Aesthetics and Variable Latinx Ideologies in Latinx Paramilitary Life Writing in the Era of Trump
Anna Marta Marini (Instituto Franklin, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares)
Reconstructing the Trump Era through a Latino Perspective in El Machete Illustrated

Panel 6: Race
Mónica Fernández Jiménez (Universidad de Valladolid)
Alienation vs. Black Collective Consciousness in JM Holmes’ How Are You Going to Save Yourself (2018)
Yesmina Khedhir (University of Debrecen)
Memory of the Brother in Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped and Sing, Unburied, Sing
Iris HyunJin Hwang (Independent Scholar)
Effects of Negative Stereotypes about Black Women on Recent Representations of Black Motherhood in Young Adult Literature

15.30-16.00 Tea & coffee

Panel 7: Narratives of resistance
Sara Prieto (Universidad de Alicante)
Poetics of Resistance: Women Writers and the Intellectual Mobilization under the Trump Administration
Angela Mullis (Rutgers University)
Writing the Resistance: Claudia Rankine’s Exploration of Whiteness in The White Card
Juanjo Bermúdez de Castro (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
Scriptwriters Confront Trump: Narrative Dissent in the Trump Era

Panel 8: Revisiting History
Elżbieta Horodyska (University of Warsaw)
A New Consciousness of Coexistence: Mobility and Settlement in Jim Harrison’s Novels
Anna M. Brígido-Corachán (Universitat de València)
An American Sunrise: Land-Based Solidarity and Social Justice in 21st Century Native American Poetry
Méliné Kasparian (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon)
Autobiography as Resistance: Chicana Writers in the Era of Trump


Plenary 2: Book presentation of Neoliberalism and Contemporary American Literature, with Liam Kennedy and Stephen Shapiro

18.00 Reception

SATURDAY 14th December

Panel 9: Evangelical Fictions
S. Jonathon O’Donnell (University College Dublin)
“Their Diabolical Resolve”: Demonology and Crisis in Contemporary America
Cat Ashton (Independent Scholar)
“One doesn’t defer to process when dealing with the devil”: Alternative Facts and Evangelical Fiction

Panel 10: Critique
Dominik Steinhilber (Universität Mannheim)
Moral Fiction in a Post-Truth Age: Poststructuralism and the New Sincerity in American Literature and Right-Wing Politics
Adam Duke (Universiteit Utrecht)
The Failure of Critique in the Novels of Don DeLillo

Panel 11: Dystopia (A)
Martha Jane Nadell (Brooklyn College, CUNY)
Alternative Cities: Playing with Genre Fiction in the Age of Trump
Bettina Huber (Universität Passau)
A Story about Ruin: Female Terrorists, Environmental Damage, and Fake News Reports in Omar El Akkad’s American War

9.50-10.35 Plenary 3: Chris Beckett

10.35-11.00 Tea & coffee

Panel 12: Thinking about Fiction
Karen Armstrong (York University, Canada)
Intersections of Literature, Politics and Narrative in a Fake News World: Huck Finn, Alice in Wonderland and Hannah Arendt’s Conception of the “New” Narrative
Robert Anthony Siegel (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Empathy and Fiction in the Trump Era
Sinéad Moynihan (University of Exeter)
The Opioid Imaginary: Representing the “Opioid Crisis” in Contemporary US Literature

Panel 13: Dystopia (B)
Maria Eduarda Gil Vicente (Universidade de Coimbra)
Rereading Dystopias of the Twentieth Century in the Age of Trump: Frames of Reference to understand the Present and map Possible Futures
Vanesa Roldán Romero (Universidad de Granada)
Parodying the Past to Subvert the Present in Jasper Fforde’s Nextian Series
Teresa Botelho (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
How Do We Laugh about This? Literary Satire in “Trump Times”

12.15-13.00 Plenary 4: Karen E. Bender

13.00-14.00 Lunch

Panel 14: Affect
Katarzyna Paszkiewicz (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
“Tipped over, and still growing”: Cinema, Affect and Alternative Realities in the Era of Trump
Spencer Morrison (Tel Aviv University)
The Affective Life of Anti-Globalization in Sunil Yapa’s Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
Tim Groenland (University College Cork)
“I’d get so constipated if I were you”: Otessa Moshfegh’s Intimate Disgust

Panel 15: Representations of trauma and pain
Martín Fernández Fernández (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)
Traumatic Reverberations through the New American Realities: The Ghost of Emmet Till in Bernice L. McFadden’s Gathering of Waters
Paula Barba Guerrero (Universidad de Salamanca)
Alternative Witnessing in the Post-Truth Era: Ethical Accountability in Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys
Anna Bendrat (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University)
Bodies without Organs: Metaphors of Pain in 21st-century American Literature

15.15-15.45 Tea & coffee

Panel 16: Ethnicity and Narrative Strategies
Tom Meinderts (Universiteit Leiden)
Strategic Self-Orientalism
Vanesa Lado-Pazos (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)
Sandra Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek: Gender and Ethnicity in Contemporary America
Laura Roldán-Sevillano (Universidad de Zaragoza)
From Postmodernism to twenty-First Century Realism. Exploring the Response of Contemporary US Ethnic Women Writers to the New Paradigm Shift
Nasrin Babakhani (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
Magic from the Margins: Multiple Realisms in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony

Panel 17: Readings on war and violence
Mohammad Sadegh Najjarzadeha (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
The Theory of Mimetic Rivalry or the Way Girard Perceives Violence: An Essay on the Representation of Violence in the Genre of the American Southern Gothic
Shelby Roberts (University of Kentucky)
“Her stories smelled of sassafras and rang with gunfire”: S-Town, Hillbilly Elegy and the Future of Appalachian Resistance
Justin Shaw (Université Sainte-Anne)
The Truth of Fiction and the Fiction of Truth: Novelizations and Memoirs of the War on Terror
Pascal Lemaire (Independent Scholar)
Techno-Thriller in the Age of Trump: A Reading in Radicalization

17.30 Conference moves to the city centre

18.30 Public Talk at the Museum of Literature (MoLi), 86 St. Stephen’s Green:
What to Read in the Era of Trump? with Chris Beckett, Karen E. Bender, Aleksandar Hemon

We are delighted to confirm as Keynote Speakers:

Aleksandar Hemon

novelist, author of Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project

Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University

Karen E. Bender

novelist and short-story writer, author of Refund, The New Order, Like Normal People

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University

Chris Beckett

novelist and short-story writer, author of America City and Dark Eden

Arthur C. Clark Award winner 2013


Registration fee for participants is €120, reduced fee of €50 for postgrad students.

Accommodation Options

It is advisable to arrange your accommodation as early as possible.  The following hotels/B&B are only suggestions, check their price both on the hotel’s website but also through or as sometimes it might be cheaper on their sites. In addition do check out Airbnb options.

The address for the University is Stillorgan Road, Donnybook, Dublin 4, and the best way to find the institute on Google Maps is to search for the “UCD Clinton Centre for American Studies (Belfield House)”


Avalon House

Ashfield House

Times Hostel, College Street

Times Hostel, Camden Street

Guest Houses

Latchfords Townhouse

Baggot Court Townhouse

Pembroke Townhouse


Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan Road – on a direct bus route to the University (approx 10 minutes, or a 20min walk)

Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road – also on a bus route to the University or a 30 minutes walk

Mespil Hotel, Mespil Road – on a direct bus route to the University

Clayton Hotel – Situated in Ballsbridge; it’s approximately a 15 minute bus journey to the city centre, or a 40 minute walk.

The Davenport – Located on Merrion Square, City Centre.

The Alexander – Located just across from the Davenport on Merrion Square (close to the National Gallery). Underwent a refurbishment in 2017. City Centre

Mont Clare – Right by the Davenport & Alexander (they are all owned by the O’Callaghan group, as is the Stephen’s Green hotel, City Centre

The Camden Court Hotel – Situated at the bottom of Camden Street, close to the canal. They have very good offers available from time to time so are definitely worth a look.

The Radisson – Just off George’s Street, so a central location, easily to walk everywhere in the city from here.

The Fitzwilliam – St. Stephen’s Green, City Centre

Ballsbridge Hotel – Approximately a 25-30 minute walk to the city centre, or 10-15 minutes on the bus.

An additional website to look for accommodation near the UCD is

Find Us

Getting to University College Dublin from the City Centre

If you decide to stay in the city centre there are several buses that that will bring you directly onto the campus or at the campus entrance, which is very close to the Clinton Institute (remember the institute is listed as “UCD Clinton Centre for American Studies” on Google Maps). Regular routes are the 39A, 46A and 145. You can check bus routes here.

Please be aware that Dublin bus works on an exact fare system (€2.80) and they do not accept notes so please have coins with you.

Getting from the airport to the city or your hotel

It is advisable to get a bus to the city centre as a taxi could cost up to €40 depending on where you are staying.

The is an excellent bus service called the Aircoach which goes from outside the arrivals hall (both T1 and T2) and delivers people to a number of hotels both in the city centre and on the outskirts of the city near UCD, including the first 3 hotels. The return fare is €12/€15, and the route you will probably take is the “700 via City Centre”.

Another option to City Centre is the Airlink 747.

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