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22 July 2015 - 23 July 2015

Violence and the American Imagination: A two-day interdisciplinary conference

About this event


‘Violence is as American as cherry pie’, as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), the Black Panther activist, famously stated in the 1960s. If ubiquitous in America, however, violence has also proved polysemic, highly mutable in its occurrences, meanings, and effects from the colonial era to the present. The aim of this interdisciplinary conference will be to explore and evaluate violence in the American imagination, considering its multiple, contested significances in a very wide range of discourses and practices that include literature, drama, film, the visual arts, music, philosophical and religious writings, and historical, political and military representations.

Plenary speakers:

Prof. Richard Gray, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex

Prof. Amy Wood, Department of History, Illinois State University

The conference organisers welcome proposals for papers, panels and workshops on any aspect of violence and the American imagination. Possible topics may include but are not limited to the following subject areas and keywords:

  • Domestic
  • Drama
  • The ‘everyday/ordinary’
  • Frontier
  • Gender
  • Guns
  • History
  • Literature
  • Media
  • Military discourses
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political discourses
  • Prison
  • Race
  • Religious representations
  • Sexuality
  • Slavery
  • Space
  • Spectacle
  • Sport
  • Structural violence
  • Terrorism
  • Visual arts

Proposals for 20-minute presentations should be no longer than 250 words and indicate a provisional title. Suggestions by two or more people for panels and workshops around a common theme or for roundtable discussions will be welcomed.

All proposals should be sent to Dr. Catherine Armstrong and Dr. Mary F. Brewer by 27 February 2015.

Contact details

  • Dr Catherine Armstrong
  • +44 (0) 1509 222992