A one-day interdisciplinary symposium hosted by the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick, in collaboration with the Institute of the Americas, University College London.
The event will bring together academics, students, and artists working on the cultural representations of U.S. imperialism, both in its historical and in its contemporary forms. The day will consist of themed panels and roundtables, and, following his solo exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London this summer, a talk by award-winning artist Edmund Clark.
It has been nearly 25 years since the publication of Donald Pease and Amy Kaplan’s seminal collection of essays, Cultures of United States Imperialism (Duke, 1993), a volume which built on and expanded in new directions a field of foreign policy and imperial studies initiated largely by William Appleman Williams and the Wisconsin School in the 1950s and 60s. Since then, of course, ‘US imperialism’ has become a familiar (if still deeply contested) concept for historians, political analysts, sociologists, literary critics, and scholars of other cultural forms. Meanwhile, U.S. foreign policy itself has moved in decisive new directions: the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, interventions in Libya and Pakistan, the changing relationship with Cuba and Iran, and so on. This one-day symposium seeks to revisit and reassess the continuing currency of ‘U.S. Imperialism’ as a concept and its place in the wider projects of cultural, literary, and artistic history. Bringing together teachers, students, and artists with an interest in the cultural life of U.S. imperialism and foreign policy – both in its various historical contexts, and in its contemporary forms – the symposium seeks to address its central topic from an interdisciplinary and global perspective.
Edmund Clark is an award-winning artist whose work links history, politics and representation. His work traces ideas of shared humanity, otherness and unseen experience through landscape, architecture and the documents, possessions and environments of subjects of political tension. Recent works Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition, The Mountains of Majeed, Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out and Control Order House engage with state censorship to explore the hidden experiences and spaces of control and incarceration in the ‘Global War on Terror’. His work has been exhibited widely including major solo museum exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum, London, and Zephyr, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim.
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