Monday, 21 May 2012

CFP: C.L.R. James's Beyond a Boundary: 50th anniversary conference

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies holds all of the published works of CLR James and an archive collection of papers and correspondence ICS 140 CLR James Papers. We are very pleased to forward this call for papers:

CFP: C.L.R. James's Beyond a Boundary: 50th anniversary conference

University of Glasgow.
Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May, 2013.

With confirmed keynote speakers so far including Mike Brearley (former England Test captain) and Wai Chee Dimock (Yale University)

Regularly cited as one of the great sports books of the twentieth century, C.L.R. James’ Beyond a Boundary (1963) is, by his own famous definition, about far more than cricket. Part-autobiography, part-historical study and part-political-call-to-arms written against the backdrop of the decolonisation struggles, James’ reflections on sport in the Caribbean reach out into a critical account of racism and imperialism, into wider questions of aesthetics and popular culture, and into the struggle for revolutionary social change which was the enduring concern of his life. Crucially, James insisted that such questions were not simply of concern to academics or to experts, but were also a central part of what drew ordinary men and women to sport.

Much loved, and widely read, James’ study has also been the subject of searching criticism: he has been accused, among other things, of a failure of critical judgement in relation to cricket’s role in the moral framework of empire, of a lack of attentiveness to gendered inequalities, and of a naïve faith in the spontaneity of popular political resistance.

This conference is convened on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Beyond a Boundary, with the intention of both celebrating and questioning, drawing out the book’s intellectual legacies and indentifying the issues it leaves unanswered. We would welcome original papers dealing with any aspects of Beyond a Boundary. These might include:

- critical engagement with or reinterpretation of James’ arguments;
- studies of the production and reception of the book itself;
- interpretations, via James, of contemporary sport;
- reflections on the transnational responses to James’ text;
- discussion of Beyond a Boundary within James’ wider corpus;
- papers reporting on the use of James’ insights and methods in social research, in teaching, in journalism or in political activism.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Andy Smith:

In keeping with James’ own practice, we would ask potential speakers to avoid unnecessary technical jargon, and to prepare papers intended for a general audience.

Abstracts should be submitted by the end of October 2012.

Already confirmed keynote speakers for the conference are Mike Brearley (former England Test captain and previously President of the British Psychoanalytic Society), and Wai Chee Dimock (Department of English, Yale).

Further keynotes to be announced; to be added to the conference mailing list, please e-mail the address given above.

Conference organisers: Dr. Dave Featherstone (Human Geography, Glasgow); Dr. Chris Gair (English Literature, Glasgow); Dr. Christian Høgsbjerg (History, Leeds Metropolitan); Dr. Andy Smith (Sociology, Glasgow).

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