John Buchan and the Idea of Modernity (10th July 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Kate Macdonald and Nathan Waddell

An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Institute of English Studies, University of London

Saturday 10 July, 2010

Proposals are invited for 20-minute conference presentations on the life and writing of John Buchan (1875-1940). This event will commemorate the 70th anniversary of Buchan's death and celebrate the imminent emergence of his works from UK copyright on 1 January 2011.

Submitted proposals will focus on some or all of the following:

- Buchan's influential literary and non-literary accounts of twentieth-century politics and culture

- his extensive roles within the British Establishment

- his function as Governor-General of Canada

The conference seeks to build on recent efforts to re-establish Buchan as more than a writer of thrillers, by considering his views and influence on 20th-century politics, culture, and aesthetics. An increased level of attention to the comparatively neglected areas of his output has demonstrated his significance within early twentieth-century popular culture, and laid the groundwork for considerations of his contributions to debates about the nature of modernity. Proposals for papers on Buchan's historical, philosophical, and political writings, and his multiple roles as a facilitator of print and periodical culture will be especially welcome.

It is hoped that the conference will encourage renewed and more refined attention to the 'difficult' areas of Buchan's worldview (for example anti-Semitism, homoerotics, and careerism) than has been traditionally extended to them by the academy. Suggestions for topics might include, but are not restricted to, the following:

- modernity in Buchan's literary and non-literary writing
- Buchan and other writers; his literary networks
- sexual identity; gender politics
- Buchan and the middlebrow
- Buchan and religious ethics
- athleticism; sport; games-playing
- contemporary Buchan adaptations (radio, drama, television)
- literary form (in particular the historical romance and the thriller)
- Buchan and modernism, impressionism, and/or aestheticism
- historiography; Buchan's theories of history
- Buchan as editor and/or as publisher
- newspaper and print culture; Buchan and the periodical

The conference will be held at the Institute of English Studies, and is being organized by Kate Macdonald (University of Ghent) and Nathan Waddell (University of Birmingham). Postgraduates are highly encouraged to attend and/or give a paper.

PLEASE SEND PROPOSALS OF 250 WORDS BY December 31st 2009 to Nathan Waddell at, to include the following information:

- name and academic affiliation, if any (we also encourage independent scholars to participate)
- contact address
- email address
- short statement explaining your interest in Buchan and how this paper relates to your previous or future research