In between frantically writing up my thesis over the next two months, I’ll be squeezing in speaking at two very exciting conferences. Later this month, I will be at Mobilities, Literature, Culture at Lancaster University. This will be the inaugural conference for the new Palgrave Macmillan book series, Studies in Mobilities, Literature and Culture, and the two-day programme is filled with fascinating-sounding panels.
On Saturday morning, after wincing at a pre-6am alarm, I travelled up to Leeds for the 2016 British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference, ‘Negotiating the Borders and Boundaries of Americanism’.
It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and stimulating conferences I’ve been to in the last few years. The whole event was very well run; programming a single-day conference so that it feels full of material but not rushed or overwhelming is a fine art, and the schedule at PGBAAS16 was just right. (Branded tote bags containing Kit-Kats and bottles of water was the icing on the cake.)
Next month I’m very much looking forward to giving a paper at the 2016 British Association of American Studies Postgraduate Conference. Hosted by the University of Leeds, the conference theme is ‘Negotiating the Borders and Boundaries of Americanism‘.
The title of my paper is ‘Lines Burned Into Minds’: Negotiating and Transgressing the Borders of South Los Angeles, and I’ll be discussing Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) and Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep (1977) in relation to the social and geographical borders and boundaries that constrained the African-American community in LA, from WWII to the post-Civil Rights era.
The programme has lots of fascinating-sounding papers, including discussions of Patricia Highsmith and Raymond Chandler, and a keynote on ‘The Borders of Belonging and Desires for Blackness in America’. And the conference dinner involves an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet – I can’t think of a better way to end the day.
I’m very excited to be part of the programme for what should be a fascinating interdisciplinary conference at the University of Kent, ‘Masculinity and the Metropolis’, taking place on the 22 and 23 April. (Their website also shows very good taste in WordPress themes!)
I’ll be speaking after lunch on the first day as part of a panel on ‘Black American Masculinities’, giving a paper titled “Living every day scared”: Disorientation, Incrimination and Black Masculinity in Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go. I’m looking forward to speaking on Himes for the first time, and the paper is the fruit of recent research for the chapter of my PhD thesis provisionally titled ‘Arbitrary Incrimination, Restricted Mobility and Black Los Angeles’.
The following month, I’ll be giving a paper at the one-day symposium ‘The Dream of a City’, alongside many of my fellow UCL English scholars (including my thesis supervisor, Dr Matthew Beaumont, which will be a real pleasure and honour. My paper, “Confused about your jurisdiction, Deputy?” Territory, Identity and Los Angeles Law Enforcement will draw on material from an earlier thesis chapter, focusing on James Ellroy’s The Big Nowhere and Joseph Wambaugh’s The New Centurions.
An exciting and busy couple of months ahead!