Saturday 16 October 2010

News: Public Discussion Series

So Containing Multitudes blog posts are like buses - two exciting announcements about the School of American Studies on the same day. Starting next week, AMS is pioneering a series of public discussions at the Forum in Norwich. You can find out more here, but here are some details to whet your appetite:

From art after 9/11 and stateside civil liberties to the end of the American Dream, a new series of discussion cafes will be launching in the Forum next week. Five hour-long public events will focus on contemporary American issues, bringing them to the public arena for discussion.

The free series has been organised by the university’s community engagement project CUE East in collaboration with final year American Studies students as part of a module entitled ‘The New American Century: Culture and Crisis’.

The course has been designed and run by Dr Wendy McMahon and is the subject of her research. She said: “This will be a great opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in discussion about the pressing issues of our time, which concern not just America but people in the UK too, as well as to engage with what we do in the School of American Studies at UEA.”

The first discussion, 'Globalisation: is the world becoming more American?' takes place on Wednesday, October 20.

Then on November 3, the subject will be 'Should artists and writers depict 9/11 and war in their work?'.

'Civil liberties and America: the land of the free?' will be discussed on November 17, followed by 'Should America be leading the world in protecting the environment?' on December 1.

The final café takes place on December 15 on the subject of 'Financial crisis: the end of the American Dream?'.

All discussions are free, open to the public, and take place from 2.30pm-3.30pm. To find out more contact Dr Wendy McMahon,

Conference: American Identities on Stage

Things are going to be a little quiet around here over the next semester. But fear not: we'll be back in full effect come 2011. In the meantime, expect news snippets like this. The School of American Studies is very excited to be hosting an international conference marking the centennial of Tennessee Williams. You can find out more information here or visit the official conference website here. Here's the call for papers:

Celebrating 100 Years of Tennessee Williams (1911-2011)

American Identities on Stage:
20th Century American Drama International Postgraduate Conference

To commemorate the Tennessee Williams’s centennial, the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia, will host a one-day international conference on 26 March 2011, focusing on theatrical representations of American identities. The invited keynote speaker is Professor Stephen Bottoms (University of Leeds).

On the day of Tennessee Williams’s 100th birthday, the 20th Century American Drama International Postgraduate Conference looks to revisit the theatre produced in the last century, considering a plurality of approaches from literary to theatre and performance studies, film, gender and GLBTQ studies, reflecting on the most recent critical and academic canon. Stressing the importance of Tennessee Williams, the conference hopes to be an international point of intersection for all those interested in Williams’s work and 20th century American drama in general. Topics of individual talks or collective panel discussions might include, but are not limited to:
  • Identity authenticity, representation, construction, and performativity;
  • Identity permanence, plurality, multiplicity, fluidity, and fragmentation;
  • Private versus public identity;
  • Identity and the other;
  • Dissidence and identity;
  • Selfhood and identity;
  • Identity now and then;
  • Identity and identification;
  • Aspects of/informing identity, such as age, class, culture, gender, politics, race, religion, and sexuality;
  • Theoretically inflected discussions of identity (Psychoanalytic, Feminist, Queer, etc.);
  • Contesting/Subverting prescribed identity constructions.
The conference will commence with a plenary speech, followed by the different panels, and will conclude with a round table discussion, which will consider themes arising from the day. Please send a titled abstract between 200-300 words (for 20-minute paper presentations) and a brief CV to by 17 December 2010.