Netherlands American Studies Association

Amerikanistendag 2021 – Summary

On Friday 28 May 2021 the NASA in cooperation with the RIAS held its 26th annual Amerikanistendag – a student academic conference designed to demonstrate the breadth and depth of American Studies.

This year, budding scholars of the future came together to present the findings of their exciting research. Despite being held online, the Amerikanistendag exuded its usual charm and made for a full and absorbing day.

Damian Pargas, Director of the RIAS and Markha Valenta, President of the NASA started proceedings with a warm welcome to the guests and speakers. Tributes were paid to Marietta Messmer, Assistant Professor in American Studies at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, who recently passed away. A cordial welcome was also extended by the editor of the Netherlands American Studies Review (NASR), Debby Esmeé de Vlugt, who encouraged the speakers submit their papers for inclusion in the Fall 2021 edition (click here for more information! )

Before kicking off the first panel, the jury of the Theodore Roosevelt American Studies Award (TRAHA) announced the winner and runner up for the best American Studies MA thesis defended at a Dutch university in 2020. A big congratulations to Melanie van der Elsen (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) on winning first place! In ‘The Paradox of Liminality: American Samoa’s Attenuated Sovereignty in the Twenty-First-Century American Empire’, Melanie’s incisive analysis of American Samoan identity blew the judges away. A big well done also to runner-up Katharina Kunze (Universiteit van Amsterdam), for her thesis on the Georgetown College slave sale of 1838. The full jury report will be made available on the NASA website shortly.

Over the subsequent six and a half hours the audience was treated to a variety of engaging presentations. Composed of four panels, the presenters were grouped by theme – geography, women and minorities, music, and identity – and placed a spotlight on (amongst other findings): transformations in US public discourse before and after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, the values shared by fin de siècle conservative women across the US South, North-East, and West, and the unique impact of the 1985 Live Aid on environmentalism.

Two RIAS interns, former and present, presented their research at the Amerikanistendag. Thanks Job Wester and Nick Rogers!

We would like to thank all speakers and guests for attending this year’s event. We hope to see you at the Amerikanistendag 2022!

A copy of the program is available here: