Cultural Networks in the U.S.: Past and Present Challenges

The American Studies Program at the University of Bucharest

invites proposals for its annual student conference on the topic

Cultural Networks in the U.S.: Past and Present Challenges 

to be held at the Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission 

(2, Ing. Nicolae Costinescu St, Bucharest)

on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

We invite proposals for 15-minute presentations from undergraduate and graduate students whose research is relevant to the topic of the conference. Papers may come from the fields of literature, film, theater and performance arts, popular culture, visual culture and the media, history, politics, intercultural and interdisciplinary communication, transatlantic relations, as well as other academic areas that are relevant to the subject, and may address issues such as (but not necessarily limited to): cultural, economic and political networks in American history; the network as category of analysis in American studies and a model of conceptualizing America; media and popular culture as cultural networks in the U.S.; U.S. minorities, migration and the development of cultural networks of solidarity and empathy; American cultural networks as subversive discourses of the status quo; war, conflict, and network cultures in the U.S.; transnational relations and cultural networks; gender, sexuality, and the development of cultural networks in the U.S.; AI, deepfake and other network technologies and processes in American literary and cultural spaces. 

Submission Guidelines. Please submit the following:

1) a 250-word abstract attached as an MS Word file. Your abstract must include the title of your paper and the name of the academic coordinator who has agreed to supervise your paper. Please note that, considering that each presentation will be 15 minutes long, final papers should be approximately 5-6 pages long (Times New Roman, font 12, double-spaced). However, we strongly encourage participants to present and not simply read their papers.

2) 3-5 keywords from your essay;

3) Contact information (name, affiliation, phone number, and email address).

Please email your submissions to

Deadline for submissions: April 26, 2024.

Notifications of acceptance: April 30, 2024.

For any questions, please contact the conference organizer, Dr. Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru ( 

 Our partners: US Embassy | Fulbright Commission in Romania | English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bucharest

The Seance of Reading. Uncanny Designs in Modernist Writing (Event)

You are kindly invited to join us in welcoming Professor Thomas J. Cousineau on April 5, from 10am, in Sala de Consiliu (1st floor of our 7-13, Pitar Mos building). Professor Cousineau will be presenting his latest book, The Seance of Reading. Uncanny Designs in Modernist Writing, whose second edition has recently come out from Editura Universitară. 

Thomas J. Cousineau is Professor of English (Emeritus) at Washington College, former visiting professor at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bucharest. He edited the newsletter of the Samuel Beckett Society for several years and co-directed the Presence de Samuel Beckett conference at Le Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle in Normandy. He is the author of After the Final No: Samuel Beckett s Trilogy, Waiting for Godot: Form in Movement, Ritual Unbound: Reading Sacrifice in Modernist Fiction, Three-Part Inventions: The Novels of Thomas Bernhard and An Unwritten Novel: Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet (recipient of an ”Outstanding Title” citation from the American Library Association). 

We look forward to seeing many of you there!

You can order the book and find out more details about it by clicking on the link below:…/the-s%C3%A9ance-of…

The Seance of Reading is part of a three-book project titled The Manole Trilogy. Please find more information about each title (both published and projected) below. 

Ritual Unbound: Reading Sacrifice in Modernist Writing. University of Delaware Press 2004.

[René Girard, Violence and The Sacred. Michigan State University Press, 2021]

Introduction: The Oedipus Complex [aka The Manole Complex I – ritual scapegoating]

Ch. 1 Occulted Rivalry in The Turn of the Screw

Ch. 2 Heart of Darkness: The Outsider Demystified

Ch. 3 Borrowed Desire in The Good Soldier

Ch. 4 The Great Gatsby: Romance or Holocaust?

Ch. 5 Ending Rituals in To The Lighthouse

The Séance of Reading: Uncanny Designs in Modernist Writing. Editura Universitara 2023.

[Mircea Eliade, Commentaires sur la légende de maître Manole. L’Herne 1994]

Introduction: The Manole Complex [aka The Manole Complex II – ritual building]

Ch. 1 Fixing Things in The Great Gatsby 

Ch. 2 Being Scrupulous in “The Sisters”

Ch.3 Rebuilding Lisbon in The Book of Disquiet

Ch. 4 Doing It in Waiting for Godot

Ch. 5 The Eliot Way: Turning Back in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Ch. 6 Playing It in Endgame

Ch. 7 Crafting Transfigurations in A Short History of Decay

Ch. 8 Being Misfits in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

Ch. 9 Framing Things in Light in August

To Double-Business Bound: The Symmetrical Imperative of Writing (in progress)

[Cedric Whitman, Homer and The Heroic Tradition. W. W. Norton, 1965.]

Introduction: The Exekias Complex [aka The Manole Complex III – the doppelgänger effect]

Homer, The Iliad and Ezekias, Ajax and Achilles Playing a Board Game 

Ch 1: Setting It Right in Oedipus and Hamlet

Ch 2: Fixing Maimed Rites in Waiting for Godot and Endgame

Ch 3: Being Hamlet in The Book of Disquiet and A Short History of Decay

Ch 4: Forging Bonds in “Heart of Darkness” and “The Secret Sharer”

Ch 5: Blending Opposites in Murphy and Molloy

Ch 6: Longing for Another Country in “Eveline” and “The Dead”

Ch 7: Obtaining Relief in “Krapp’s Last Tape” and “Ohio Impromptu”

Ch 8 Balancing All in “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” and “Sailing to Byzantium”

Ch 9: Vanquishing Them Again in “A Rose for Emily” and “Dry September”

Ch 10: Going Back and Forth in Woodcutters and Wittgenstein’s Nephew

Guest Talk by Saviana Stănescu

On January 5, 2021, the American Studies program was honored to welcome award-winning playwright Saviana Stănescu as a special guest in the Contemporary American Drama and Social Change class taught by Dr. Diana Benea.

Dr. Stănescu offered a talk on the process of developing one of her latest pieces, Kilometrul Zero (The Revolution Project), during her sabbatical semester in Romania in the fall of 2019. The presentation was followed by a Q & A session focusing on such issues as the broader contexts of Stănescu’s interdisciplinary body of work, the philosophy and practice of new play development, the representation of history in the contemporary theatrical imagination, as well as current directions and challenges in U.S. and global theater.


Saviana Stănescu is a Romanian American playwright, poet, scholar, and ARTivist, whose creative works have been widely presented in the U.S. and internationally. Recent productions include: Bee Trapped Inside the Window (Civic Ensemble), What Happens Next (Cherry Artspace), Aliens with Extraordinary Skills (Women’s Project; Teatro La Capilla, Mexico City), Ants (New Jersey Rep), For A Barbarian Woman (Fordham/EST), Polanski Polanski (HERE, PS 122, Chain Theatre), White Embers (Dramalabbet, Stockholm), Viză de clovn (Teatrul Odeon), Organic (TNB), Toys (Hollywood; Avignon; 59E59 NYC).

Stănescu holds a PhD in Theater from the National University of Theater and Film in Bucharest, Romania, as well as an MA in Performance Studies (Fulbright fellow) and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, where she also taught for eight years. Currently, she is a tenured Associate Professor of Playwriting and Theater/Performance Studies at Ithaca College, NY. Stănescu is also the founder and president of Immigrant Artists and Scholars in New York (IASNY).