Netherlands American Studies Association Conference: June 6-8, 2001. (Conference Notes)

Article excerpt

The twenty-fourth annual conference of the Netherlands American Studies Association (NASA) took place June 6-8, 2001, at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg. Some forty participants from North America, Britain, Holland, Spain, Germany, and Austria read or responded to papers and presentations on the conference theme, Religion in America. The extraordinarily collegial tone of the conference, during which participants engaged each other in conversation at kaffee klatsches, lunches, and festive dinners, was set by host Hans Krabbendam, Assistant Director of the Roosevelt Study Center, and co-host Derek Rubin, Utrecht University. Highlights of the conference included an opening address by Walter Conser, University of North Carolina/Wilmington, on legal limits to diversity in American religion; the opening of an exhibit at the Roosevelt Center, "Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935-43," by Angier M. Peavy, of the American Embassy, The Hague; a talk by Pearl Abraham, New York City novelist, at the Zeeland Library on her complex relationship to Hasidism; a keynote by Edward Linenthal, University of Wisconsin/Oshkosh, on new "sacred spaces" in America commemorating disaster and violence; an address by Emory Elliott, University of California/Riverside, on the reconstruction of New England Puritanism; and a concluding address by Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University, who argued that America is not religiously diverse, that it is overwhelming Christian, and will become more so in the future in the direction of evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, and fundamentalism.

Conference sessions were devoted to early religious visual images, Jewish-Christian interactions, religious space, gender, autobiography, clerical presence and religion in American literature, and religious exports. As should be the case in American studies conferences, papers represented a refreshing variety of methodologies. For example, Barbara Lacey, St. Joseph College, offered an innovative art historical, image-and-text interpretation of ten religious illustrations from 17th- and 18th-century American imprints; Joseph Heathcott, St. …