Imperial Cultures of the United States
University of Warwick, 5 May 2017
It has been nearly 25 years since the publication of Donald Pease and Amy Kaplan’s seminal collection of essays, Cultures of United States Imperialism (Duke, 1993), a volume which built on and expanded in new directions a field of foreign policy and imperial studies initiated largely by William Appleman Williams and the Wisconsin School in the 1950s and 60s. Since then, of course, ‘US imperialism’ has become a familiar (if still deeply contested) concept for historians, political analysts, sociologists, literary critics, and scholars of other cultural forms. Meanwhile, U.S. foreign policy itself has moved in decisive new directions: the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, interventions in Libya and Pakistan, the changing relationship with Cuba and Iran, and so on. This one-day symposium seeks to revisit and reassess the continuing currency of ‘U.S. Imperialism’ as a concept and its place in the wider projects of cultural, literary, and artistic history. Bringing together teachers, students, and artists with an interest in the cultural life of U.S. imperialism and foreign policy – both in its various historical contexts, and in its contemporary forms – the symposium seeks to address its central topic from an interdisciplinary and global perspective.
The day will include a talk by award-winning artist Edmund Clark, following his solo exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London during summer 2016: edmundclark.com
We seek proposals for 20-minute papers on subjects that include but are not limited to:
- Imperialism, hegemony, and globalization as cultural determinants
- Artistic, literary, and filmic representations of U.S. imperialism and foreign policy in action
- Cultures of resistance to U.S. imperialism
- New periodisations of U.S. Imperialism: ‘Manifest Destiny’, ‘Empire after 1898’, ‘The Cold War’, ‘The New Imperialism’, and so on.
- The formative influence of culture on U.S. foreign policy
- Imperialism and anti-imperialism in art, literature, film, and other cultural forms
- Postcolonialism and the United States
- Imperial ruins and the landscapes of U.S. foreign policy
- Representing secret government interventions, covert operations, black sites, etc.
- Race, religion, and gender in the representations of U.S. imperialism
Further details can be found on the symposium website: imperialculturesus.wordpress.com
Please send abstracts of 250-450 words, plus a brief CV, to the conference organisers Mark Storey [M.J.Storey@warwick.ac.uk] and Nick Witham [N.Witham@ucl.ac.uk] by January 1st 2017.