I was the moderator and interviewer for the Opening Address: A Conversation with Valeria Luiselli, at the Northeast Modern Language Association Convention in Baltimore, MD, March 10, 2022.
Written in pre-Covid times and much delayed in publication, my contribution on “Post-9/11 Narratives” has appeared in The Encyclopedia of American Fiction, 1980-2020, edited by Patrick O’Donnell, Stephen Burn, and Lesley Larkin. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2022. Chapter 160. 1079-87.
Conte Publishes Book on Post-9/11 Novels
Professor Joseph Conte has just published his third monograph, Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel. The book argues that the formal inventiveness of writers such as DeLillo, Eggers, Pynchon, Coetzee, Pamuk, and Hamid reflect the radical reorientation of global politics after 9/11.
Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel
Thanks so much to Dr. Carrie Tirado Bramen, Rebekah Burke, and Hilary Vandenbark in the UB Gender Institute for a rewarding (and my first via Zoom) talk in the Feminist Research Alliance Workshop. And thanks as well to all who participated in the conversation on Laila Lalami, Valeria Luiselli, and narratives of migration.
I will be presenting a lunch-hour talk, Transnational America: The New Global Citizen in the Novels of Laila Lalami and Valeria Luiselli, in the Feminist Research Alliance Workshop in the University at Buffalo Gender Institute, on Thursday, October 1, 2020 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm, via Zoom.
My chapter, “Cosmopolitanism and Remigration in Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” has been published in Shifting Twenty-First-Century Discourses, Borders, and Identities, edited by Oana Celia Gheorghiu. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020. 3-22.
Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel suggests that literature after September 11, 2001 reflects the shift from bilateral nation-state politics to the multilateralism of transnational politics. While much of the criticism regarding novels of 9/11 tends to approach these works through theories of personal and collective trauma, this book argues for the evolution of a post-9/11 novel that pursues a transversal approach to global conflicts that are unlikely to be resolved without diverse peoples willing to set aside sectarian interests. These novels embrace not only American writers such as Don DeLillo, Dave Eggers, Ken Kalfus, Thomas Pynchon, and Amy Waldman but also the countervailing perspectives of global novelists such as J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Mohsin Hamid, and Laila Halaby. These are not novels about terror(ism), nor do they seek comfort in the respectful cloak of national mourning. Rather, they are instances of the novel in terror, which recognizes that everything having been changed after 9/11, only the formally inventive presentation will suffice to acknowledge the event’s unpresentability and its shock to the political order.
New York and London: Routledge, 2020
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429280733
xv, 278 pp.
Trump Fiction: Essays on Donald Trump in Literature, Film, and Television
Edited by Stephen Hock
Joseph M. Conte, Clinton J. Craig, Caitlin R. Duffy, Shannon Finck, Susan Gilmore, Laura Gray-Rosendale, Ashleigh Hardin, Stephen Hock, Meredith James, Peter Kragh Jensen, Bruce Krajewski, Tim Lanzendörfer, William Magrino, David Markus, Jaclyn Partyka, Steven Rosendale, and William G. Welty
“A masterful example of contemporary cultural studies, Trump Fiction assembles an array of insightful scholars working at the cutting edge of their fields to offer timely analyses of the social, cultural, and political phenomenon of Trumpism. By examining Trump’s presence in a dizzying array of cultural artifacts from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, the collection offers an invaluable historicization of the present. It also lays crucial groundwork for emerging conversations about the defining cultural forms of the present by exploring contemporary cultural responses to Trump’s candidacy and presidency. Filled with smart observations and juicy tidbits, these essays promise to engage, inform, and ultimately reshape the way we understand where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
— Mitchum Huehls, University of California, Los Angeles
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Trump Fiction: Essays on Donald Trump in Literature, Film, and Television examines depictions of Donald Trump and his fictional avatars in literature, film, and television, including works that took up the subject of Trump before his successful presidential campaign (in terms that often uncannily prefigure his presidency) as well as those that have appeared since he took office. Covering a range of texts and approaches, the essays in this collection analyze the place Trump has assumed in literary and popular culture. By investigating how authors including Bret Easton Ellis, Amy Waldman, Thomas Pynchon, Howard Jacobson, Mark Doten, Olivia Laing, and Salman Rushdie, along with films and television programs like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street, Sex and the City, Two Weeks Notice, Our Cartoon President, and Pose have approached and shaped the discourse surrounding Trump, the contributors collectively demonstrate the ways these cultural artifacts serve as sites through which the culture both resists and abets Trump and his rise to power.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Stephen Hock is associate professor of English at Virginia Wesleyan University.
Hardback: ISBN 978-1-4985-9804-0 November 2019 Regular price: $95.00/£65.00 After discount: $66.50/£45.50 ebook: ISBN 978-1-4985-9805-7 November 2019 Regular price: $90.00/£60.00 After discount: $63.00/£44.10 *eBooks can only be ordered online.
Narratives of migration extend from the halls of Ellis Island at the turn of the last century to the globalized transit depots of the twenty-first century. In narratives of immigration, first-generation immigrants are often driven to these shores by the blight of poverty or the sting of religious or political persecution; hope to make for themselves a fabled but often factitious “better life”; and are riven between the desire to retain old-world customs and language and the appeal of new-world comforts and technological advances. Second-generation immigrants face the duality of a national identity—striving to become recognized as “real Americans”—and an ethnic heritage that they wish to honor and sustain but which marks them as always an “other.” Here we encounter the hyphenated status of the preponderance of “natural born” American citizens. The third-generation descendent will have only indirect or acquired familiarity with his or her ethnic heritage; the loss of bilingualism or at best a second language acquired in school; and frequently a multiethnic identity resulting from the complex scrabble of American life in a mobile, suburban, and professionalized surrounding.
Mount Allegro (1989), Jerre Mangione’s memoir of growing up in the Sicilian enclave of Rochester, NY, portrays ethnicity that is insular, protective of its “imported from Italy” values, and yet desperate to find recognition as an authentic version of “Americanness.” Colm Tóibín’s novel, Brooklyn (2009), introduces us to the postwar generation of Irish immigrants in the borough of Brooklyn in the 1950s. Although it may not strike us as radical now, Eilis Lacey’s interethnic marriage to an Italian immigrant, and the conflicting draws of remigration and family ties, bring her to the crossroads of dilemma. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s short stories in The Refugees (2017) show the exacting toll that forced migration can take as, after the American war in Vietnam, families are broken between the homeland that has expelled them and the country that only reluctantly receives them. Dave Eggers’ fictionalized What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006) tracks the exodus of a Lost Boy of Sudan, whose tragedy and loss in the midst of genocidal warfare is framed by his assault in an American city that is supposed to give him refuge.
The narratives of immigration to America impress the assimilation of the foreign body into the dominant imaginary of a white, Rockwellian Protestantism; the naturalization not only of the “resident alien” but also of the exceptionalism on which those cultural values stand; and a tribalism that is irreconcilable with a blended, pluripotential society. The narratives of remigration from America express a transversal politics of differentiation, a transnational identity that bricolages self and other, and the cosmopolitanism of an open, borderless world. This transnationalism, however, isn’t the pure product of a postmodern or post-9/11 condition. One hundred years ago the radical progressive intellectual, Randolph Bourne, issued a call in 1916 for a “Trans-national America” as the first World War engulfed the countries in Europe from which much of America’s immigrant stock was derived. Bourne was among the first to declare “the failure of the ‘melting-pot,’” a rejection of the assimilationist metaphor in which the “impurities” of an alien ethnicity are annealed in the blast furnace of American industrial capitalism; an Americanization that was indeed touted in such immigrant narratives as the widely-read autobiography of Mary Antin, The Promised Land (1912).
Novels of remigration include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (2013), whose protagonists Ifemelu and Obinze encounter a dream deferred in the West before their return to Nigeria; Amy Waldman’s The Submission (2011), which imagines a controversy arising from the juried architectural competition for the 9/11 Memorial, whose apparent winner is a young architect named Mohammad Khan; and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), a dramatic monologue delivered by a Princeton-educated Pakistani émigré who returns to Lahore after 9/11 to lecture in the classroom against American imperialism.
Other literary and critical readings will be available through UB Learns or on graduate course reserve. Course requirements will include a twenty-minute seminar presentation by all enrolled students and a twenty-page research paper from those students registered intensively.