Keynote speakers - EAAS 2016

Keynote speakers

Rodica Mihaila is Professor of Literature and American Studies, and founder of the Undergraduate and Graduate American Studies Programs at the University of Bucharest.

Her teaching and research interests include American literature and culture, with special emphasis on the 20th century and the contemporary period, 20th century poetry and poetics American Studies theory and practice, cultural theory and transatlantic cultural relations. She has offered courses and seminars at the undergraduate and graduate levels in all the fields of interest mentioned above and she has also given invited lectures and talks at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, M.I.T., Georgetown University, Duke University, where she was also visiting professor, Arizona State University-Phoenix and Kennesaw University, Georgia. She has received research awards from the Fulbright Programs, the Rockefeller Foundation, the ACLS, IREX, USIA and the Free University of Berlin and has been affiliated with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Duke University, Georgetown University, MIT, Harvard University and Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Berlin. She has directed PhD dissertations since 1995.

Her publications include such critical volumes as Aspects of American Literary Modernism: A Study of Tensions in the Poetry of Hart Crane, The American Challenge, Turning the Wheel: The Construction of Power Relations in Contemporary American Women’s Poetry and Spaces of the Real in American Fiction, several anthologies of American literature as well as articles and studies in scholarly journals and the literary press. She is co-editor of a series of volumes of literary and cultural studies, among them, The Sense of America: Histories into Text, Transatlantic Dialogues: Eastern Europe, the U.S. and Post-Cold War Cultural Spaces and Romanian Culture in the Global Age, and she is also a well-known translator of English and American literature. Apart from being a pioneer of the institutionalization of American Studies in Romania, Rodica Mihaila is Founding President of the Romanian Association for American Studies (RAAS) and Executive Director of the Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission.


Gary Gerstle is the Paul Mellon Professor of American History and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge. He arrived in Cambridge in 2014 after a three-decade career in the United States, most recently at Vanderbilt University where he was James G. Stahlman Professor of American History. He is a historian of twentieth-century America, with substantial interests in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He received his BA from Brown University and his MA and PhD from Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In recent years, Gerstle has focused his writing on the history of American political thought, institutions, and conflicts. His new book, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (Princeton, 2015), identifies the contradictory principles of governance that became part of the Constitution and that have shaped and confounded the deployment of public power ever since. Throughout his career, Gerstle has also written extensively about immigration, race, and nationality, with a particular focus on how Americans have constituted (and reconstituted) themselves as a nation and the ways in which immigration and race have disrupted and reinforced that process.  His most important publication in this area is American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, 2001), winner of the Saloutos Prize for outstanding work in immigration and ethnic history. In Fall 2016, Princeton will publish an expanded edition of American Crucible, with a new chapter exploring race and nation in the age of Obama.

Gerstle was elected to the Society of American Historians in 2006, named a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians in 2007, and elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2015. He has lectured throughout North America and Europe, and in Brazil, Israel, Japan, South Africa, and South Korea. His writings have been translated into Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.




Linda R. Cox is Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance and Bronx River Administrator for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Since 2001 the Alliance, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization, has served as a coordinated voice for the river, working with more than 100 partner organizations to protect, improve and reclaim the Bronx River corridor so that it becomes a healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resource for the river's Bronx communities.  An integral element of this work is to create the Bronx River Greenway, a ribbon of parks connected by multi-use path along the 23-mile length of the river. Directing Bronx River improvements for the nonprofit Alliance and NYC Parks, Ms Cox has guided investments of more than $150 million in greenway and ecological restoration projects.

She brings to this work extensive experience in managing collaborations among government agencies and community groups, and in tackling long-range planning and urban issues. Prior to joining the Alliance and Parks Department in 2002, Ms Cox directed the Urban Parks Program, a $29 million portfolio of grants, as Program Officer for the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. She previously served as Director of the Planning Center, the community assistance arm of the Municipal Art Society of New York; as Director of Community-Based Planning for the NYC Department of City Planning; and as Planning Manager for the City of Gainesville, Florida.

A Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Ms Cox earned a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA with High Honors from Swarthmore College.