Dr Arin Keeble
“Katrina Time: An Aggregation of Political Rhetoric in the Cultural Response to Hurricane Katrina”
This paper argues that the cultural response to Hurricane Katrina is often characterized by an aggregation of political discourse and rhetoric, which, in addition to expressing anger at the government’s handling of the post-Katrina flooding of New Orleans, also responds to the social and political realities of the aftermath of 9/11 and the War on Terror. Hurricane Katrina, therefore, becomes a moment when the politics of 9/11, which have been buried in narratives of trauma, mourning and commemoration, rise explicitly to the surface. This paper will focus specifically on Dave Egger’s work of narrative non-fiction, Zeitoun (2009), and the way it revises the conservative rhetoric of disaster, apocalypse and regeneration in Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road (2006), offering an alternative vision of pluralism and tolerance. It will examine the way Zeitoun comments on the way The Road’’s response to catastrophe is retrograde, relying on Manichean tropes of good and evil and a clearly Christian image of apocalypse and regeneration. The comparison leaves us with a peculiar inversion: an act of extreme political violence is depoliticized by its cultural response, while a natural disaster is overtly politicized.
Arin Keeble is a Visiting Tutor at Bishop Grosseteste and a Teaching Assistant at Newcastle University where he was recently awarded his doctorate. He has published three major peer-reviewed articles on the cultural representation of 9/11 and is currently preparing the manuscript for his first monograph. Arin is also developing a new programme of research centred on the cultural response to Hurricane Katrina and is co-editing a new collection of essays on David Simon’s The Wire.
Dr Keeble’s talk will begin at 2pm. The event takes place in 217 in the Skinner Building (13.45 – 15.00) and starts light refreshments. All are welcome.
Seumas Milne’s new book The Revenge of History: The Battle for the 21st Century is out next month. The blurb reads:
“One of Britain’s foremost political writers confronts ten years of murderous delusion.
In 2001, Tony Blair declared that those who opposed the war on terror had been ‘proved wrong’ – along with critics of unfettered corporate power and free market capitalism.
Ten years later, the critics have been comprehensively vindicated and the champions of the New World Order proved catastrophically wrong. The evidence on hand includes the disastrous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the failure of an economic model that has brought the Western World to its knees.
The Revenge of History is a powerful corrective to the discredited dominant account of the first decade of the twenty-first century. As Seumas Milne shows in a panoramic narrative that reaches from 9/11 to beyond the Arab uprisings, crisis and war have turned the orthodoxies of a generation on their head. The neoliberal market, hailed as the only economic option, crashed with devastating consequences; calamitous western military interventions demonstrated the limits of US global power; the rise of China challenged both; while Latin America has embraced social and economic alternatives that were said no longer to exist.
In a culture dominated by eager apologists of power, Milne has consistently written against the grain. This book offers a compelling perspective on the convulsions that have brought us to today’s crisis and the shape of the emerging politics of the future – and an indictment of a global and corporate empire in decline.”
‘What Happens Now: 21st Century Writing in English’
2nd International Conference, July 2012, University of Lincoln
‘What Happens Now’ , the 2nd international conference on 21st century writing in English took place 16-18 July 2012 at the University of Lincoln. Organised by Siân Adiseshiah and Rupert Hildyard from English in the School of Humanities, the conference was attended by some ninety delegates from fourteen different countries, including Japan, South Korea, China, India, Canada, USA, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Germany and seven delegates came from Spain (five of whom had come to the first conference in 2010). Sixty two papers were given at the conference, including six from colleagues and postgraduates in the School of Humanities, generating lively debate about what is happening now in 21st century literature. The guest speakers to the conference were the Scottish poet and writer Kathleen Jamie, Tishani Doshi from Madras in India, and Geoff Dyer one of the most innovative prose writers in Britain today. Complementary plenary keynotes were given by Professor Peter Boxall of the University of Sussex and Dr Rachel Carroll of Teeside University, the former a wide ranging discussion of the future of the novel in the wake of postmodernism, and the latter a close study of Julian Barnes’ Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending focussing on disability as an issue in 21st century literature. The conference confirmed the vitality of 21st century literature and the leading role taken by Lincoln in research and debate about this growing area of literary studies. A 3rd conference will take place in 2014.
Wednesday 28th November, 4-6.00, MC0024
1) 4-5pm: Dr Dean Lockwood and Rob Coley introducing their recently published book Cloud Time
2) 5-6pm: Catherine Redpath and Dr Mary O’Neill talking about the Medical Humanities.
Wednesday 21st November, 4.15-5.30, MC0024
The Agony of Agency: Neoliberal Personhood and Popular Aesthetics
Dr Jane Elliott, King’s College London