Literature of an Independent England

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Gardiner & Claire Westall, University of Warwick

Literature of an Independent England

6th November 2010, University of Warwick
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

First Call for Papers or Panel Proposals for a One-Day Interdisciplinary Conference addressing literary and cultural concerns about England and Englishness in relation to the end of Britishness and the politics of devolution and independence. Debates about the status of England and surrounding constitution and parliament have gradually gained momentum after 1997 but were (and are) linked to a critical understanding of the way that the union of the United Kingdom functions, or fails to function, as a nation-state. As well as attracting bemusement in recent years, the 'English Problem' has been over-shadowed, at least in the mainstream media, by conservative and pro-British assumptions about a narrow, nostalgic and fundamentally 'ethnic' England, and has been emptied of all political content.

In contrast, this conference will draw together academics, writers and commentators working within this burgeoning area to clarify the current position and future potentiality of England as an independent nation and as a nation with an independent literature which as yet has no agreed shape. It will draw on Britain's imperial history and the postcolonial and nationalist concerns which have sought to address this legacy. It will welcome scholars from a range of disciplines, including history, politics, film, cultural studies and literary studies. It will specifically look at how patterns of cultural, political and literary thought have changed after the ideological fall of the United Kingdom, as well as addressing questions about the form, purpose and future of the British discipline known as English Literature. The conference aims to ask, most importantly, how cultural, literary, and academic producers can become active in shaping the values of a post-British England.

Keynote Speaker:

We are delighted to announce that Professor Arthur Aughey (University of Ulster), author of Nationalism, Devolution and the Challenge to the United Kingdom States (2001) and more recently The Politics of Englishness (2007) will be providing the keynote address.

Possible Paper and Panel Topics:

* The Politics of Englishness

* Nation Theory and Literary History

* The Legacies of the New Left

* The Role of Cultural Studies

* The Disciplinarity of English Literature

* Literary Value and the UK constitution

* Romanticism and National Form

* New Criticism and Canonicity

* England and Postcolonialism or World Literature

* Representation of Independent England/Englishness within film, popular culture and/or literature.

* Predictive accounts of cultural questions arising during the process of independence

Papers covering related or additional topics are welcome.

Abstract Proposals of 300 words should be submitted via email by 19th April 2010.

Panel Proposals are requested to be 500 words, outlining panel members, their individual institutional affliation and the specifc papers proposed also by 19th April 2010.

Please submit your proposal to Michael Gardiner and Claire Westall with the subject line – 'An Independent England' using

Dr Michael Gardiner & Dr Claire Westall

Department of English & Comparative Literary Studies
University of Warwick