Keynote Speakers

Prof. Linda Williams (University of California,Berkeley)

Linda Williams teaches courses on popular moving-image genres (pornography, melodrama, and “body genres” of all sorts). She has also taught courses on Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee, Luis Bunuel and Pedro Almodovar, melodrama, film theory, selected “sex genres,” and The Wire. Her books include a psychoanalytic study of Surrealist cinema, Figures of Desire (1981), a co-edited volume of feminist film criticism (Re-vision, 1984), an edited volume on film spectatorship, Viewing Positions (1993) and Reinventing Film Studies (co-edited with Christine Gledhill, 2000). In 1989 she published a study on pornographic film entitled Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (second edition 1999). This study of moving-image pornography looks seriously at the history and form of an enormously popular genre. She has also edited the anthology Porn Studies (Duke, 2004) and in 2008, published Screening Sex (Duke, 2008). Her work on genre has often been rerouted to work on modes instead as influenced by her study of melodrama. In 1999 Williams received a Guggenheim Fellowship for research on her 2001 Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White, from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson (2001, Princeton) – an analysis of racial melodrama spanning the 19th and 20th centuries of American culture. In this work she elaborated the notion of melodrama as a mode, not a genre, so too in her recent book On The Wire (2014, Duke). Williams has received Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004 and in 2011 was appointed Faculty Research Lecturer. In 2013 she received the SCMS Career Achievement Award. Her most recent book is Melodrama Unbound: Across History, Media and National Cultures, co-edited with Christine Gledhill.



Prof. Ronald Schleifer (University of Oklahoma)

Prof. Schleifer is George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and Adjunct Professor in the College of Medicine. From 1976 to 2000 he served as editor of Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture; and from 1986 to 1999 he served as co-editor of The Oklahoma Project for Discourse and Theory, a book series published by the University of Oklahoma Press. In 1999 he was the director of the Annual Convention for the Society for Literature and Science, held in Norman. In 2012 he served as interim editor of Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology, where he currently serves on the editorial board. Prof. Schleifer is also presently co-editor of Mariner 10: Cross-Disciplinary DVD-ROMS, a series of electronic, interactive titles published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Prof. Schleifer has written, translated, or edited twenty books. In recent years, he has been invited to lecture in Lausanne, Moscow, Salzburg, China, Singapore, Bristol, Durham, and London. He teaches twentieth-century literature as well as literary and cultural theory for undergraduate and graduate students, and courses on literature and medicine at the Norman and OU Health Sciences Center campuses. He has also developed a seminar for scholarly writing for graduate students, which he has offered at OU in a campus-wide course sponsored by the Graduate College. He recently completed A Political Economy of Modernism: Literature, Post-Classical Economics, and the Lower Middle-Class, that will appear from Cambridge in 2018. This book, along with Modernism and Time and Modernism and Popular Music, will complete his long-term study, “The Culture of Modernism.”



Prof. Deborah Madsen (University of Geneva)

Deborah Madsen completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in English at the University of Adelaide in South Australia; she was awarded a prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship to undertake doctoral studies at the University of Sussex in England. Before becoming Professor of American Literature and Culture at Geneva, she was Reader in English and Director of American Studies at the University of Leicester, then Professor of English at London South Bank University. She has held visiting appointments at the Universities of Adelaide, Bern, Fribourg, and Cambridge.

Her research focuses on issues of settler-nationalism, indigeneity, and migration, exemplified by her work on American Exceptionalism and the white supremacist ideology of Manifest Destiny. Most recently she was editor of the Routledge Companion to Native American Literature (2015). She is an Associate Editor of the journal Contemporary Women’s Writing (Oxford University Press), immediate past President of the Swiss Association for North American Studies (SANAS), and has served on the Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia of American Studies (published by Johns Hopkins University Press for the American Studies Association), and on the Editorial Advisory Committee of PMLA.

Her current research project, “Digital Narratology: Decolonizing Strategies in Indigenous Virtual Media,” engages close textual analyses of Native North American interactive digital media in the context of critical Indigenous studies.