September 11 Attacks: Twelfth Anniversary Conference

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Interdisciplinarity in English Studies

September 11 Attacks: Twelfth Anniversary Conference

On September 11th, a series of airplane hijackings and suicide attacks were committed against strategic targets in the United States. Nearly three thousand people were killed in New York City, almost two hundred at the Pentagon and forty more died near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in the open countryside, shortly after 10 a.m. The United States and the world were taken by surprise that fateful morning when hijackers seized four jet airliners.

Two of the planes were intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center; afterwards, both towers collapsed at 9:59 a.m. and 10:28 a.m., the first time steel-framed towers had ever done so. Incredibly, Seven World Trade Center building (7 WTC) collapsed in the late afternoon at 5:21 p.m., even though fire has never caused any steel-framed high-rise building to collapse.

Soon after the attacks, the American and Western European media were blaming Osama bin Laden and the pro-Islamic terrorist organization al-Qaeda, who had declared a holy war against the United States and its citizens. A juggernaut was set in motion from that point on.

In the afternoon of September 11th, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, instructed military aides to find evidence of Iraqi involvement in the terrorist attacks. Soon, Saddam Hussein was accused and a War on Terror was declared by President George W. Bush and his administration, but with promises of bringing the alleged terrorists to justice. The American Congress promptly signed a joint resolution three days after the attacks, giving unprecedented powers to the chief executive and a Global War on Terrorism was initiated on October 7, 2001, in Afghanistan. On March 20th, 2003, a coalition force led by the United States and Britain invaded Iraq.

The consequences of the attacks were soon to be felt, both directly and indirectly. Those who were exposed to toxic debris after the collapse of the towers suffer from respiratory diseases, and the social, economic, geopolitical and cultural consequences of the September 11 attacks are simply staggering.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation and the 9/11 Commission, chaired by Thomas Kean, issued a report. The commission blamed al-Qaeda and questioned the competence of domestic security and intelligence.

In the years following September 11, many books and articles were published, including David Ray Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor, and dozens of film documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11, In Their Own Words: The Untold Stories of the 9/11 Families, 9/11 Press for Truth, Experts Speak Out, Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11, Hypothesis, et al.

The September 11 attacks are decidedly a controversial subject. The purpose of this colloquium is to examine the different aspects of the issue, not only the events of that day, but also those preceding it, as well as the consequences, either direct or indirect, of these attacks. Because of the nature of these events, several approaches of investigation are possible. From a historical perspective, there is still much to be said, since many people do not know what happened on September 11.

Today, psychologists are trying to help people cope with and understand the lingering effects of 9/11, what has been euphemistically and somewhat ironically referred to as "an expulsion from Disneyland." People have reacted in different ways: some through the form of civic involvement, others with anti-Islamic prejudice. A number of economic and social parameters help to measure the impact of terrorism, whatever its shape or form: changes in consumer spending, unemployment levels, inflation, or the increase in the military budget.

America's law enforcement and intelligence communities have addressed the nation's vulnerabilities, the result of which has been the reorganization of the federal government, notably with the creation of Homeland Security, new FBI focus, the implementation of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and the Patriot Act, increased border surveillance, and so on.

From an economic standpoint, it has been claimed that the September 11 attacks resulted in about forty billion dollars of insurance losses; numerous economic sectors were ostensibly affected, such as insurance, aviation, tourism, and security.

It goes without saying that not all researchers concur with the official version of the events. On March 4, 2009, Niels Harrit and a group of researchers published an article in The Open Chemical Physics Journal announcing the discovery of active thermitic material used for explosives in the WTC dust.

Many questions have been raised concerning the Kean-Hamilton Report, not all of which have been satisfactorily answered. For example, there were numerous threats of an al-Qaeda attack prior to September 11, yet they were apparently ignored. It is also important to know the circumstances leading up to the War in Afghanistan and Iraq. In an article published in Jane's Defense and another by the BBC, the United States "told other governments about [the] Afghan invasion in July 2001." It is interesting to note, too, that there were several military exercises taking place on the morning of 9/11 that were similar to the attacks. Surprisingly, much ground zero evidence was destroyed during the extensive clean-up operation.

These examples, far from being exhaustive, show that there are several avenues of investigation possible: historical, psychological, geopolitical, legal, architectural, social, cinematographic, economic, scientific, militaristic, journalistic, and so on. Papers supporting the American government's position are welcome, as are those critical of it, or taking a more neutral stand.

Your proposed talk must include:

- The title of your talk
- An abstract of not more than 300 words, clearly stating your thesis
- Your primary and secondary sources
- Four keywords
- Personal information: name and address, university or association, professional address, personal address, telephone number, e-mail, photocopy of personal identity card, a recent photograph and an updated curriculum vitae

Send your proposals by e-mail in Microsoft Word format to:

William Schnabel – Professor, Université de Lorraine

Provisional calendar:

- All proposals must be received before December 25, 2012
- Authors will be notified by February 1, 2013
- Colloquium dates: 11-13 September 2013
- Place: Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France

Université de Lorraine
Campus Lettres et Sciences Humaines et Sociales
3, Place Godefroi de Bouillon
BP 3317
54015 Nancy cedex
Téléphone : 03 54 50 49 00