British Culture after 9/11
27 June 2014 – Teesside University (Darlington Campus)
Dr Claire Chambers (University of York)
Professor Peter Morey (University of East London)
Avaes Mohammad (poet, playwright, performer)
The years following 9/11 and 7/7 have witnessed the emergence of a diverse body of British fiction, film, art and music that has sought to respond to the events and their legacies. This conference will examine cultural repres=
entations of post 9/11 Britain to explore how writers and artists have crafted new ways of representing trauma, nationhood and cross-cultural encounter, and reimagined human subjectivity in the face of the dehumanising ideologies of terror and counter-terror. More specifically, this conference will: examine the role of artists and writers as ‚public intellectuals‘ in post 9/11 British culture; explore the representation of the British Muslim experience in post 9/11 Britain; and investigate the extent to which ‚9/11 culture‘ can be theorised as a coherent category of cultural and historical analysis.
Artists as Public Intellectuals in Post 9/11 Culture
- To what extent has the aftermath of 9/11 witnessed a revival of the figure of the writer as public intellectual? To what extent has this revival served to promote voices privileged by race, class and gender?
- In what ways have British Muslim artists and writers been constructed as representative voices within contemporary British culture? In what ways is the contemporary British Muslim intellectual positioned in the public sphere?
- Has the written word been privileged over other forms of representation in public debates about the implications of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks? In what ways have the visual arts, film, performance, music and media contributed to our understanding of post 9/11 British society?
British Muslims and Multiculturalism after 9/11
- What role have the contemporary arts played in confirming or disturbing dominant representations of British Muslims as secular modernity’s fundamentalist Other in the wake of 9/11 and 7/7?
- As public figures and media commentators from across the political spectrum declare the ‚failure‘ of multiculturalism, can creative artists enable us to see beyond assimilationist models of citizenship and articulate an alternative cross-cultural dialogue?
- How has the New Atheist movement, associated with figures such as Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis, influenced the post 9/11 British novel, and what are the implications of this for Islam and Muslims in Britain?
- How can we rethink artistic controversies that have pitted creative freedom against minority offence? What can such controversies tell us about the politics of representation in post 9/11 Britain?
Theorising 9/11 Culture in British Contexts
- To what extent do artistic responses to 9/11 reflect the claim that the collapse of the World Trade Center marked the final death knell of postmodernism?
- To what extent have artistic works produced in Britain after 9/11 reflected, responded to, or interrogated writers‘ and cultural commentators‘ concerns with the ‚crisis of representation‘ supposedly precipitated by the terrorist attacks?
- What is at stake in using ‚post 9/11‘ as a cultural prefix? In what ways has this term been used to describe, construct or market a burgeoning cultural genre?
- How useful is the term ‚post 9/11‘ in capturing the contemporary British structure of feeling? How, and to what effect, do British responses=to 9/11 differ from American examinations of the event and its aftermath?
We welcome contributions, from both practitioners and academics, which address all forms of cultural representation, including, but not limited to: visual arts, theatre, dance, performance, literature, autobiography, film, television, digital arts, music, sound art, fashion and comedy.
Proposals (of up to 300 words) for papers of 15 minutes should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 28 April 2014. Please include a brief biography. The conference organisers intend to publish selected work emerging from this conference in an edited collection.