Protest: Resistance and Dissent in America
BAAS Postgraduate Conference, Saturday 15th November 2014 University of Sussex
Professor Will Kaufman (University of Central Lancashire)
Dr Joe Street (University of Northumbria)
In Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin wrote: “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” Baldwin’s words encapsulate the tension between patriotism and resistance that permeates American history and culture, and they also hint at the blurred boundary between words of criticism and acts of disobedience. Protest has taken both public form, in a history of marches and demonstrations, but has also occupied private, silent, or imaginative spaces. It has been embodied in the American Revolution, and the Occupy Wall Street campaign, but is also present in the African American oral tradition, or the songs of protest against the Vietnam War. This conference aims to explore the sites of resistance that have shaped the country, to consider the question of how we might define American protest, and to ask whether dissent can be reconciled with nationalism.
This is a one day interdisciplinary conference for postgraduate students with an interest in American studies, from a variety of disciplines including; history, literature, politics, gender and sexuality studies, law, music, media studies, critical theory, and cultural studies.