Pride and Shame in America

aspeers is the first and currently only peer-reviewed print journal for MA-level American studies scholars in Europe. It is a platform for the best work done by American studies graduate students below the PhD level. It aims to foster academic exchange among young Americanists across Europe, and to thereby advance the field as well as its genuine European perspective on ‘America’ and its presences and effects around the world.

aspeers features a general section in addition to a topical one that brings academic works into a dialogue on one common theme. For the upcoming issue, this topical section will be organized around different notions of "Pride and Shame in America." Please feel free to send in work to have it considered for publication in aspeers if

  • you are a student of American studies (or related fields) at a European university and are looking to publish a paper without a topical restriction.
  • or you are a student of American studies (or related fields) at a European university and are looking to publish a paper on "Pride and Shame in America."

Please see the following Calls for Papers for details. Please also note our style guide at that will give you many helpful instructions on how to prepare your submission for maximum success.

general academic contributions | due 27 October 2019 | pdf

topical academic contributions | due 27 October 2019 | pdf

Please see our submission guidelines and FAQ section. Submissions should be directed to

1) General Call for Papers

For the general section of its thirteenth issue, aspeers seeks outstanding academic writing demonstrating the excellence of graduate scholarship, the range of concerns scrutinized in the field of American studies, and the diversity of perspectives employed. We thus explicitly invite revised versions of term papers or chapters from theses written by students of European Master (and equivalent) programs. For this section, there are no topical limitations. Contributions should be up to 7,500 words (including abstract and list of works cited). The submission deadline is October 27, 2019.

2) Topical Call for Papers on "Pride and Shame in America"

In June 2019, Stonewall 50 marked the largest LGBTQ+ event in history. Half a century ago, after the NYPD raids on the Stonewall Inn, a resistance movement that had loudly proclaimed ‘Gay Pride’ was born. The year before, James Brown had urged African Americans to “say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.” Ever since, activists and scholars in these movements have welcomed the community-building that social formations rooted in pride have fostered, while, at the same time, backlash against the increased visibility of such disenfranchised groups has appropriated this terminology as well, for instance in the supremacist slogans ‘white pride’ or ‘straight pride.’

Whereas traditional understandings of US patriotism underscore the importance of taking pride in being an American, a Gallup poll from July 2019 stated that Americans’ “pride in the U.S. has hit its lowest point since [the] first measurement,” speaking instead to a feeling of shame. Do pride and shame thus work as opposite ends on the same continuum—or is their relationship more complicated, as queer theorizations of shame might suggest? How do emotions and affect shape these individual feelings and how are they culturally mediated? Through which processes are pride and shame socially constructed, and what cultural work gets activated through them?

For its thirteenth issue, aspeers dedicates its topical section to “Pride and Shame in America” and invites European graduate students to critically and analytically explore American literature, (popular) culture, society, history, politics, and media through the lens of pride and shame in the US. We welcome papers from all disciplines, methodologies, and approaches comprising American studies (and related fields). Potential paper topics could cover (but are not limited to):

  • Representations or proclamations of pride or shame in literature and (popular) culture, e.g. about different understandings of what constitutes an identity to be proud of (e.g., immigrants or veterans)

  • Historical events and movements fostered by understandings of pride, political identities forged around it, or community-building enabled by it—or, conversely, parts of the history of the US that have engendered feelings of shame

  • The commercialization of pride (e.g., ‘pinkwashing,’ ‘pink capitalism’)

  • The commodification of group identities, e.g. in terms of how TV shows or films portray these movements (e.g., via redefinitions and revisions in cultural representations)

  • Alternative concepts to ‘pride’ or ‘shame’ as social formations that may complicate these understandings

aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed journal of European American studies, encourages fellow MA students from all fields to reflect on the diverse meanings of “Pride and Shame in America.” We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the thirteenth issue of aspeers by October 27, 2019. If you are seeking to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general Call for Papers. Please consult our submission guidelines and find some additional tips at

PDF icon cfp_2020_general.pdfPDF icon cfp_2020_topical.pdf