"American Values: Public Virtues, Private Vices?"


University of Oulu, Finland, May 11-13, 2015

(to see the full program, scroll  down)

The conference was organized by the Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS) and it  offered papers - by approximately 100 speakers from over 10 different countries - on how America has defined its central values in politics, history, literature, architecture, film, the media, popular culture, and everyday living. Why does it matter so much to the American public today whether or not Thomas Jefferson had children with Sally Hemings at the end of the eighteenth century? Are there some particular American ways to deal with ethical  issues? What has been the impact of such traditional American values as individualism, self-help, and egalitarianism on the rest of the world?

Our guests from the United States included: ● Annette Gordon-Reed (History Pulitzer for The Hemingses of Monticello, 2009) ● Daniel Walker Howe (History Pulitzer for What Hath God Wrought, 2008) ● Peter Onuf (Author of The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, 2007)Andrew O'Shaughnessy (American History Book Prize for Men Who Lost America, 2014) ● Alan Taylor (2 History Pulitzers: for William Cooper's Town in 1996 and for The Internal Enemy in 2014) ● Gordon Wood (History Pulitzer for The Radicalism of the American Revolution, 1993).

NAAS PLENARY SPEAKERS: ● ASANOR: Hans Skei, author of William Faulkner: The Novelist as a Short Story Writer  ● DAAS: Camelia Elias, author of The Way of The Sign: Cultural Text Theory in Two Steps ● FASA: Bo Pettersson, author of The World According to Kurt Vonnegut: Moral Paradox and Narrative Form ● SAAS: Magnus Ullén, author of The Half-Vanished Structure: Hawthorne's Allegorical Dialectics.

The conference was open to scholars and students from all over the world and offered lower registration fees to members of NAAS (Nordic Association for American Studies), EAAS (European Association for American Studies) and ASA (American Studies Association in the U.S). The regular conference registration fee was 120.00 euro and for the members 100.00 euro.


The 2015 Orm Øverland Prize for the best graduate paper was announced at the conference. The Winner of  2015 is Adam Hjorten from Stockholm University. To honor the work of Professor Orm Øverland, NAAS has created the Orm Øverland Prize (EUR 200), which since 2009 has been awarded to the best graduate student paper presented at the biennial NAAS conference. In addition to the monetary award, the winning paper is considered for publication in American Studies in Scandinavia, a peer-reviewed journal that NAAS publishes. For the rules of the competition, see


MONDAY May 11, 2015

9.00 - 10.00 REGISTRATION (in front of L2 auditorium)


L2 Chair: Ari Helo (University of Oulu, FASA) 

• Welcome by the Dean of Humanities Paula Rossi (University of Oulu) 

• Welcome Notes by Maria Holmgren Troy (NAAS)

Keynotes by 

• Erkki Tuomioja (Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs): "History for Americans or American History? The role and responsibility of Historians." 

• Markku Henriksson (McDonnell Douglas Chair for American Studies, Emeritus, University of Helsinki): "What is this (new) field, this American Studies?"

12.00 - 12.30 COFFEE

12.30 - 14.00 MONDAY PLENARIES

L2 PLENARIES Chair: Jenny Bonnevier (SAAS)

• Bo Pettersson (University of Helsinki) FASA Plenary: "Making History on Foot: The Value of Walking from Thoreau to Pride Parades." 

• Hans H. Skei (University of Oslo) ASANOR Plenary: "Changing With a Changing World: Virtues and Vices in a Selection of Modern Southern Novels."

14.00 - 15.00 LUNCH


L8 "Conformist Values: Temperance, Family, and the Holy Matrimony"

Chair: Mark Shackleton (University of Helsinki)

Jane Weiss (Kingsborough Community College of CUNY): "'Like a Sacred Fire': The Temperance Movement in Popular U.S. Literature in the Gilded Age."

Oscar Winberg (Åbo Akademi): "'Marriage breaker', 'Home Wrecker', 'Wife-Swapper': How Nelson Rockefeller's Re-marriage Destroyed his Path to the Presidency."

Jenny Bonnevier (Örebro University): "Family Values and Corporate Vices: Stories of Surrogacy in Contemporary US."

L2 "The Lure of War"

Chair: Leif Magne Lervik (ASANOR)

Elise Lemire (State University of New York): "The American Cult of the Fallen Soldier in the Vietnam War Era."

Outi J. Hakola (University of Helsinki): "Public and Private Images of Army Strong"

Sami Heikkinen (University of Oulu): "The Concept of the Free World in Cold-War Era Spy Novels: The Case of Robert Ludlum."

16.30 - 17.30 NAAS GENERAL MEETING (L2).

18.00 - 21.00 MONDAY NAAS DINNER (University restaurant Kastari, by invitation only).


TUESDAY May 12, 2015


L9 "Don't Forget to Remember"

Chair: Tina Parke-Sutherland (Stephens College) 

Jopi Nyman (University of Eastern Finland): "Buck Brannaman, Nation and Memory."

Lena Ahlin (Kristianstad University): "Is Silence always a Virtue? On collective Remembrance and Forgetting in Julie Otsuka’s Novels."

Mark Shackleton (University of Helsinki): "Public Virtues and Private Vices in Louise Erdrich's The Plague of Doves."

L8 "The Roaring 1980s and its Aftermath"

Chair: Jørn Brøndal (University of Southern Denmark) 

William Sutherland (Stephens College): "Michael Jackson: When the 'Man in the Mirror' meets the 'Child Within.'" 

Pekka Kolehmainen (University of Turku): "Rock 'n' Reagan – The Inclusion and Exclusion of Rock in Reagan's Mythic America."

Henrik Torjusen (University of Oslo): "Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities."

L2 "Reflections on Contemporary American Politics"

Chair: Mikko Saikku (University of Helsinki)

Georg Engel (University of Innsbruck):"The Stars and Stripes — More than a Flag."

Daniel Scroop (University of Glasgow): "American gadfly: Ralph Nader and Moral Politics in Post-war America."

Danielle Seid (University of Oregon): "VEEP: Revealing the Absurd in American Political Culture."

11.30 - 12.00 BREAK


L2 PLENARIES Chair: Leif Magne Lervik (ASANOR)

• Camelia Elias (University of Roskilde) DAAS Plenary:

"Whose voice do we value? Poetry and the Dead." 

• Magnus Ullén (Karlstad University) SAAS Plenary:

"American Europeans: Breivik, Orwell, and the Clash of Civilizations."

13.30 - 14.30 LUNCH


L9 "Exploring the Values of the 19th American Century Literature"

Chair: Bo Pettersson (University of Helsinki) 

Iulian Cananau (University of Gävle): "Searching for a point d'appui; Constructions of National Identity in Antebellum American Literature."

Maria Holmgren Troy (Karlstad University):  "The Values in and of Nineteenth-Century American Fairy Tales: The Case of Horace E. Scudder."

Sevda Salayeva (Ghent University): "Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady and Isabel Archer’s 'perversity'."

L8 "American Immigrant Engagement in Racial/Ethnic Self-Definition: Three Case Histories"

Chair:  Eric Sandberg (University of Oulu)

Dag Blanck (Uppsala University): "American Vikings, American Anglo-Saxons: Swedish Immigrants in American 19th Century Racial Hierarchies."

Ramona Curry (University of Illinois): "The Artful Racial Masquerade of an early Chinese American Vaudeville and Film Star."

Kim Fahlstedt (Stockholm University): "Chinese American Resistance to Racist Stereotyping in early 20th Century San Francisco."

L2 "Finland and the United States Compared"

Chair: Mark C. Miller (Clark University)

Hanna Honkamäkilä (University of Oulu): "The U.S. and Finnish Interests to Deepen Scientific Cooperation in 1947 – 1952."

Henry Oinas-Kukkonen (University of Oulu): "Finland as a Point of Comparison for Solving the Problem of Alaskan Development."

Annukka Sailo (University of Oulu): "Aggression Research and Human Nature in the U.S. and Finland in the 1960s."

16.00 - 16.30 COFFEE


L9 "Gotta Go! Immigration and Emigration"

Chair: Julia Reid (University of Leeds) 

Anna-Leena Korpijärvi (University of Helsinki): "The Chinese Must Go! – The Early Development of a National Stereotype." 

Adam Hjorthén (Stockholm University): "Dining with Friends, Bonding with Kin: Commemorating International Swedish and American Relations through Settler Colonialism and Race, ca. 1930-1950."

L2 "Constitutional Boundaries and Political Change"

Chair: Jonathan Lagerquist (University of Helsinki) 

John A. Kirk (University of Arkansas): "From Public Virtue to Private Vice? The Shifting Constitutional Boundaries of Public and Private Space in the United States, 1964-2014."

Mark C. Miller (Clark University): "The U.S. Supreme Court vs. the U.S. Congress:  Which Institution Best Represents American Values?" 

19.00 -21.00 TUESDAY RECEPTION BY CITY OF OULU (by invitation only).


WEDNESDAY May 13, 2015


L9 "Native American Politics"

Chair: Mark Shackleton (University of Helsinki) 

Jørn Brøndal (University of Southern Denmark): "'Soon the Red Man Will Live Only in Legend and Cooper's Wonderful Accounts': Portrayals of Native Americans in Danish Travel Literature in the Middle and Late Nineteenth Century." 

Reetta Humalajoki (Durham University): "'In Fairness to the Indian': The Press Presentations

of U.S. Indian Policy, 1953-1954."

Susan Hegeman (University of Florida): "Indian Casinos: Neoliberalism and Changing Ideas of the 'Good Indian'."

L8 "Cosmic Connections and Hidden Hierarchies"

Chair: Camelia Elias (University of Roskilde)

Bent Sørensen (Aalborg University):"Tarot and the Poets – 20th C. American

Poets using the Tarot."

Tina Parke-Sutherland (Stephens College): "Becoming Human with Joy Harjo: The Ethics of Cosmic Connection." 

Jonathan Sudholt (Brandeis University): "Thomas Pynchon and the Land of the Guru: Warding Off Idolization from Gravity's Rainbow to Bleeding Edge." 

Weronika Łaszkiewicz (University of Białystok, Poland): "Religious Discourse in American Fantasy Fiction."

L2 "The Godly Nation and its Freethinkers"

Chair: John A. Kirk (University of Arkansas) 

Suvi Karila (University of Turku): "'For reason, truth, and science' – Reconstruction of the American Values in 19th Century Freethinker Periodicals." 

David Jansson (Uppsala University): "'We are going through a deep dark valley': Social anxiety and the Success of the Art of Haddon Sundblom and Warner Sallman." 

Leif Magne Lervik (ASANOR): "God’s Humble, yet Well-Armed Servants: White Evangelists and Their Guns."

Markku Ruotsila (University of Helsinki): "Free Speech for Fundamentalists: The Fight over the Fairness Doctrine."

11.30 - 12.00 BREAK


L2 PLENARIES Chair: Jørn Brøndal (University of Southern Denmark) 

• Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard University):

"Monticello Legacies: Slavery, Race, and Liberty in the American Mind." 

• Alan Taylor (University of Virginia):

"Blood from the Sky: Race and Slavery in Jefferson's Virginia."

13.15 - 14.00 LUNCH


L9 "Race, Rights, and Riots"

Chair: Eric Sandberg (University of Oulu) 

Tuire Valkeakari (Providence College, RI): "New York City, Nova Scotia, and the Revolutionary Atlantic World in Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes." 

Jonathan Lagerquist (University of Helsinki): "Southern Resistance to the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

John F. Moe (Ohio State University): "From Jackie Robinson to Mohammed Ali to LeBron: Sports, Race Politics, African American Culture, and American Identities."

L8 "From the Other Side of the Ocean"

Chair: Maria Holmgren Troy (NAAS, Karlstad University)

Julia Reid (University of Leeds): "The Transatlantic Scot: Robert Louis Stevenson and Scottish Emigration to the States."

Kazuto Oshio (Sophia University, Tokyo): "Deconstructing American Values in Landscape Paintings: Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China and Japan (1856)." 

L2 "Jeffersonian or Jacksonian Values? - in the United States and Abroad"

Chair: Andrew O'Shaughnessy (Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies)

Peter Onuf (Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies): "Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Republic of Letters."

Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford and UCLA): "Political Values in Antebellum America and Today."

Csaba Lévai (University of Debrecen): "The Evaluation of 'American Values' in a Socialist Country: 'Public Virtues' and 'Private Vices' in the Historical Profession in Hungary and the United States."

 15.30. - 16.00 COFFEE


L9 "The Private and Public Spheres in American Literature"

Chair: Elise Lemire (State University of New York)  

Tuula Kolehmainen (University of Helsinki): "Coming Out and Gaining Voice: Private Vices Turning into Public Virtues in Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place and The Men of Brewster Place?" 

Katrin Korkalainen (University of Oulu): "Worried over Trifles? Female Perspectives on Justice in the Fiction of Three New Woman Writers."

Dana Medoro (University of Manitoba): "Abortion and the Vital Statistics of the Fetus in E.A. Poe's 'The Mystery of Marie Rogêt'."

L8 "The Queer Truth in the American Media"

Chair: Jenny Bonnevier (Örebro University)

Rachel Wallace (Queen's University): "An 'Unmissable Party': Integration and Playboy Television 1959-70."

Ausra Paulauskiene (LCC International University, Lithuania): "Queering of American Femininity on Primetime Television"

L2 "Race in Early American History"

Chair: Peter Onuf (Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies)

Jonas Bjork (Indiana University): "A Black or Yellow Tint: Race and Skin Color as Themes in U.S. Press Coverage of Haiti, 1790-1820."

Malte Hinrichsen (University of Hamburg): "From 'Congo Harem' to Interracial Family? The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy and American Racism."


L2 ENDNOTE Chair: Mikko Saikku (FASA)

• Gordon S. Wood (Brown University):

"Advice to the Egyptians (and other Arabs) from the Founding Fathers."


(Cocktails & buffet by invitation only) — THE CONFERENCE ENDS.



(for more photos,  scroll down)

CONFERENCE OPENING & KEYNOTES: Monday, May 11, at 10.00, L2 Auditorium.  Keynote speakers:

Erkki Tuomioja (Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs)

Markku Henriksson (Professor emeritus, University of Turku)

(For the full program, see the left-hand column)






Camelia Elias (University of Roskilde): Camelia Elias is Associate Professor of American Studies at Roskilde University. Her research is in poetry (particularly oracular voice), creative writing, critical studies, and hermeticism. She is editor-in-chief of PsyArt and EyeCorner Pres. She is also the president of the largest in the world collection of tarot cards and esoterica at Roskilde University Library.

Annette Gordon-Reed (University of Harvard): Annette Gordon-Reed is Professor of Law and History at the University of Harvard. Her alma mater is Dartmouth College. She has authored numerous awarded books on early American history, and won the History Pulitzer for her The Hemingses of Monticello in 2009.

Bo Pettersson (University of Helsinki): Bo Pettersson is Professor of the Literature of the United States from the Department of Modern Languages/English at the University of Helsinki.

Hans H. Skei (University of Oslo): Hans H. Skei has been teaching comparative literature at the University of Oslo since 1985, as full professor from 1990. He retired from his position in 2014, but is still active as critic, translator, as well as with scholarly work. He has published a number of books on William Faulkner, from Faulkner: The Short Story Career (1981 and 1985), through Reading Faulkner's Best Short Stories (1999), to the latest, A Little Lost Village: Reading Faulkner's The Hamlet (2013). He organized an international symposium on Faulkner's short fiction in 1995, and edited the book resulting from this conference. With colleagues he also edited two volumes of short story theory and analysis (The Art of Brevity and Less Is More). He has written widely on a number of Southern writers and takes a particular interest in crime fiction (currently President of the Norwegian Crime Writers' Association). 

Alan Taylor (University of Virginia): Alan Taylor holds the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair in the Corcoran History Department of the University of Virginia. His books include William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, (1995) and The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia (2013) both of which won the Pulitzer Prize for American history. Taylor also serves as a contributing editor for The New Republic and reviews books for that journal. 

Magnus Ullén (Karlstad University): Magnus Ullén is professor of English at Karlstad University, Sweden, where he is also the director of KuFo, a research group for culture studies at KaU. His books include The Half-Vanished Structure: Hawthorne's Allegorical Dialectics (2004), and Bara för dig: pornografi, konsumtion, berättande ("Just for you: pornography, consumption, narrative") (2009), a study on pornography and narrativity in consumer society. His critical writings on American literature, literary theory, and rhetoric have appeared in New Literary History, Texas Studies in Language and Literature, Studies in the Novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, Jump Cut and other journals. 

Gordon S. Wood (Brown University): Gordon Wood is Professor Emeritus at Brown University. He is author of numerous books on the history of the American founding era, such as the legendary of The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969), and for his The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1993) he was awarded the History Pulitzer. "Gordon S. Wood is more than an American historian. He is almost an American institution. Of all the many teachers and writers of history in this Republic, few are held in such high esteem. Part of his reputation rises from his productivity — a stream of books, monographs, articles, lectures and commentary." New York Times, July 22, 2011.


CONFERENCE LOCATION: University of Oulu, Linnanmaa Campus, Auditorium L2, Rooms L8, L9.


FROM AIRPORT TO DOWNTOWN, 13km: From the airport take the bus no 9 to downtown. The fare is about 5 €. The drive is about 35 minutes to the city center. (Alternatively, take a taxi either to your hotel or to the University, the fare in either case is about 35 €.)

FROM DOWNTOWN TO THE UNIVERSITY, 8km: The city center bus stop is called "Toripakka", and it is located behind the city hall. It is also in the walking distance from both conference hotels. From there take the bus no 1, 2, or 3 (to the North, thus the city hall is behind you) to the campus of the University. The bus drive is about 20 minutes and the fare is about 5 €.

AT THE UNIVERSITY: When in Linnanmaa campus, find the ENTRANCE 2T. Once inside, take a right turn and you'll easily find the main lobby where the conference registration desk is located.


The conference desk is located in the university central lobby. There you will receive your conference package including name tag, invitations to receptions, lunch tickets, and information on the locations of lecture rooms and on other practicalities.

LUNCH is free for all registered conference guests and is available at the university lunch cafeteria Aularavintola on Monday at 14.00-15.00; and on Tuesday and Wednesday at 13.00-14.00.

COFFEE AND TEA is served for free for all registered conference guests at the central lobby near the conference desk during afternoon breaks.

BY CASH OR BY CARD? Please have some cash to pay for the bus fares. All taxis and restaurants in town and on campus accept the most regular credit cards. Note that we do not have ATMs on campus, so visit them in downtown. The currency is Euro.

ON NAAS: NAAS (Nordic Association for American Studies) organizes conferences, publishes a peer-reviewed journal (American Studies in Scandinavia) and a newsletter, and engages in other activities in order to encourage and promote American Studies in the Nordic countries and all over the world. NAAS member associations are: ASANOR (American Studies Association, Norway); DAAS (Danish Association for American Studies); FASA (Finnish American Studies Association); and SAAS (Swedish Association for American Studies). NAAS is a member organization of EAAS (European Association for American Studies).

NAAS website:


2013: University of Karlstad: "Currents and Countercurrents" (23rd biennial conference, May 24-26).

2011: University of Oslo: "Trans-Atlantic Resonances" (22nd biennial conference, May 27-29)

2009: University of Copenhagen: "Cosmopolitan America? The United States in Transition" (21st biennial conference, May 28-30)

2007: University of Tampere: "American Bodies, American Violence" (20th biennial conference, May 24-26)

2005: Växjö University/Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona/Swedish Emigrant Institute in Växjö (19th biennial conference, May 25-28)

2003: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim: "America in the World: Transnational Aspects of Life and Culture in the United States" (18th biennial conference, August 6-9)

2001: Copenhagen Business School: "Trading Cultures" (17th biennial conference, August 8-11)

1999: Turku University: "American Studies at the Millennium" (16th biennial conference, August 11-15)

1997: University of Gothenburg: "After Consensus: Critical Challenge and Social Change in America" (15th biennial conference, August 13-17)

1995: University of Oslo: "The United States and the World" (14th biennial conference, August 9-13)

1993: Odense University: "Cultural Balkanization? Multiculturalism and American Dreams" (13th conference, August 18-22)

1992: Reykjavik University (12th conference, August 6-9)

1989: University of Tampere (11th conference, May 11-14)

1987: Uppsala University (10th biennial conference, May 28-31)

1985: University of Bergen (9th biennial conference, May 11-15)

1982: University of Copenhagen (8th triennial conference, June 24-27)

1979: University of Helsinki/Hanasaari (7th triennial conference, June 14-17)

1976: Kungälv (6th triennial conference, June 16-20)

1973: Kungälv (5th conference)

1970: Kungälv (4th triennial conference) 

1967: University of Helsinki (3rd triennial conference)

1964: University of Oslo (2nd triennial conference)

1961: Sigtuna (1st conference)


Keynotes: Helo (chair), Tuomioja and Henriksson holding Q&A.

Camelia Elias as one of our plenary speakers.

Oh, this was a tricky one - let us contemplate...

Oshio's presentation.

Oulu City Reception, Saikku, Helo & Heikkinen

Alan Taylor sitting (2 History Pulitzers) and

Annette Gordon-Reed speaking (only 1 History Pulitzer).

Csaba Lévai, Daniel Walker Howe, Andrew O'Shaughnessy (chair)
& Peter Onuf (speaking).


Outi Hakola, Elise Lemire and Leif Magne Lervik listening

to Sami Heikkinen who wonders "what's new pussycat"?

Ending with legendary Gordon Wood (chair Mikko Saikku)

Ari Helo,
Apr 2, 2015, 6:55 AM