Celebrating 100 Years of Tennessee Williams (1911-2011)

Location: School of American Studies, University of East Anglia (Arts Room 3.26/3.27)

Date: 26 Mar 2011

Keynote Speaker: Professor Stephen Bottoms, University of Leeds

Organisers: Dr Nick Selby and Mr Francisco Costa

Institution: University of East Anglia


American Identities on Stage:

20th Century American Drama International Postgraduate Conference

To commemorate the Tennessee Williams’ centennial, the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia will host a one-day international conference on 26 March 2011 (the actual centenary of Williams’ birth), focusing on theatrical representations of American identities, with the support of the British Association for American Studies. The keynote will be Professor Stephen Bottoms, Wole Soyinka Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds, Leeds, U.K..

Stressing the importance of Tennessee Williams as a key playwright of 20th century American literature, the conference will be an international point of intersection for all those interested in Williams’ work and 20th century American drama in general. The call for papers invited individual talks or collective panel discussions on a number of related themes including identity authenticity, representation, construction, and performativity; private versus public identity; notions of the “other”; dissidence; selfhood; identity now and then; aspects of/informing identity, such as age, class, culture, gender, politics, race, religion, and sexuality; and contesting/subverting prescribed identity constructions.

The conference will commence with a plenary speech, followed by the different panels which include paper presentations by postgraduate students from Germany, Poland, France, Iran and the U.K, and will conclude with a round-table discussion, which will consider themes arising from the day, with the participation of Professor Stephen Bottoms, Wole Soyinka Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds Leeds, U.K., Prof. Dr. Johan Callens, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, and Dr. W. Douglas Powers, Susquehanna University, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

This is currently the only conference in the U.K. celebrating the Williams Centenary, and as such it will have significant importance for postgraduates working on Williams and also those whose work focuses on American Drama and Theatre Studies more generally.