After the Storm: The Cultural Politics of Hurricane Katrina, 6-7 December, 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Ruhr-University Bochum (Bochum, Germany)
contact email: 
katrinaconference@rub.de

It has been nearly eight years since Hurricane Katrina destroyed large parts of the US Golf region and caused a breach of the New Orleans levee system, which resulted in the flooding of 80 per cent of the city. The storm and subsequent flood had devastating consequences for the mostly black and poor residents who stayed in the city. The failure of the US government to provide fast and efficient help and the media coverage of New Orleans after the levee breach proved the idea of a post-racial America wrong. Instead, American society appeared to be still clearly divided along the categories of race and class.
Immediately after the storm, and during the past eight years, the ways in which Hurricane Katrina affected the Golf region, New Orleans, and the American nation have been negotiated in a growing number of cultural productions. We would like to ask how particular textual and narrative strategies relate to the political discourses surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Prominent interventions into these discourses have been made by Spike Lee’s documentary When the Levees Broke (2006), Josh Neufeld’s webcomic A.D. After the Deluge (2007-2009), Dave Eggers’s book Zeitoun (2009), David Simon’s TV-show Tremé (premiered 2009), Jesmyn Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones (2011), and Ben Zeitlin’s film Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012).
In addition to analyses of texts of all media and genres, we welcome contributions on topics such as urban development, planning and architecture (e.g. Common Ground, Make It Right), tourism (e.g. Hurricane Katrina Tours), or regional cultural expressions (e.g. Mardi Gras, Second Line Parades). Moreover, we are interested in papers that are not directly focused on New Orleans, but address how rural areas were affected by the storm. We would also like to revisit debates about identity, creolization and hybridity, the legacy of slavery, and the intersectionality of race, class and other categories of difference (gender, sexuality, age, disability) in debates about Katrina and its aftermaths.

The conference will take place from 6-7 December, 2013 at Kulturzentrum Bahnhof Langendreer in Bochum, Germany.

Please submit an abstract of 500 words along with a short bio by 19 May, 2013 to organizers Simon Dickel and Evangelia Kindinger (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany) at katrinaconference@rub.de.

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ethnicity_and_national_identity
film_and_television
interdisciplinary