Texting Obama: politics/poetics/popular culture, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, 7-10 September 2010

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English Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
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An Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences Conference

TEXTING OBAMA: politics/poetics/popular culture

7-10 September 2010
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

Hosted by English Research Institute, the MMU Writing School and
The Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Research

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Simon Gikandi, David Theo Goldberg, Bonnie Greer, Ato Quayson.
Readings from Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and others

Barack Obama's presidency is widely seen as the beginning of a new era, not only in world politics but also in global culture, with the present increasingly glossed as the 'Age of Obama'. Our conference will ask what the terms of this naming might mean by addressing the diverse range of representational forms attached to Obama in contemporary world culture – as a person, icon and phenomenon. The conference will map and explore the specific historical, political and cultural climates in which Obama('s) texts operate. It will interrogate the signifiers, signs and processes that circulate around Barack Obama, and explore his own contributions and interventions across diverse media.

Proposals are invited for papers or panels that engage with these diverse textualities. Questions might include: In what ways do Obama texts 'travel' and under what conditions? How might travelling theory or diaspora theory engage with Obama texts? In what ways might attention to Obama texts interrogate or develop extant or emerging frameworks at work in postcolonial, globalisation, media and cultural studies? How might a focus on transnational Obamas include or obscure local or national politics and expressions of black activism? How ought we to theorise pronouncements of a 'post-racial' America or/and a 'post-Katrina' America?

Possible streams might include: Postcolonial Obama: Kenya and Indonesia, Globalisation and Cosmopolitanism, Aloha Obama! Negotiating Hawaii, Obama and African-America, Rhetoric/Orature /Life writing, The Obama Families, Screening Obama, Obama and Hospitality, Black and Bi-Racial Masculinities, Race & Racial Politics, Obama in Europe, Publishing/Merchandising Obama, Ghosting Kennedy, Race and Fatherhood, Obama's 100 days, Obama in the Academy, Law and Civil Rights, Black Activism, Obama's Blackberry: New Technologies/Media and Race, Obama and Popular Culture: Watching The Wire, Obama and pedagogy.

Proposals should be emailed to textingobama@mmu.ac.uk by no later than 26 March 2010.

Organising Committee: Dr. Ellie Byrne, Dr. Julie Mullaney, Prof. Berthold Schoene, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.