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Forthcoming events and conferences

The Eccles Centre for American Studies regularly organises and supports conferences, seminars, lectures and other events on North American and transatlantic themes, often in partnership with other institutions and organisations.

War and Conflict in 20th Century US Society and Culture symposium

When Saturday 18 February, 09.00-17.30
Where The British Library Knowledge Centre
Price £25/£17.50 Book via Eventbrite

2017 marks the hundredth anniversary of US entry into the First World War. That conflict saw the emergence of the US as a global military power, but also had a profound impact on American society and culture. In subsequent years, war and conflict of various sorts have shaped the way that Americans think about their place in the world and their relationships with each other, and has moulded the way that the US is viewed in international and transnational contexts.

This one-day symposium will explore and re-assess the impact of war and conflict on US society and culture during the twentieth century. For the full programme and to book visit the Eventbrite page.

Organised in collaboration with HOTCUS (the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States).

Pocahontas and After Conference: Historical Culture and Transatlantic Encounters, 1617-2017

When 16-18 March 2017
Where Institute of Historical Research & The British Libary
Price Full 3-day rate: £80, Concession (retired/unwaged): £40 More information and registration via the IHR

A major international conference to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’ death.

In 2017 the Anglo-American world will mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas. Numerous commemorative activities, from walking tours to talking monuments, have been planned on both sides of the Atlantic. Intense, closely focused interest in her life is, of course, not a new phenomenon. Her story has been romanticised at many points over the centuries, and multiple representations of Pocahontas (as Noble Savage, Mother of a Nation, propaganda icon, seductive temptress) have materialised in historical accounts, in literature, and in visual, material, and performance art. From a range of historical and literary perspectives, and for a variety of social and political purposes, the tale of this Native American “princess” has left an enduring legacy among Indigenous, local, national, and international communities.

Using Pocahontas’ visit to England and her death and burial in Kent as an entry point, this conference will explore the continued interest in Pocahontas as a subject of study. It will explore the academic challenges posed by the multiple versions and the contemporary appropriations of this Powhatan/Pamunkey woman variously known as Amonute, Matoaka, Pocahontas, and Rebecca. In exploring the life and afterlives of Pocahontas, it aims to open new interdisciplinary discussions.

The conference will take place over three days, 16-18 March 2017, at the Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, University of London) and the British Library. The three-day registration fee will cover all lunches and refreshments. An evening reception on the 17 March will be sponsored by the Jacob Price Fund.

See the conference programme here.

Co-hosted by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library and the Institute for Historical Research.


Additional support has been provided by the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture and The University of Warwick.

Pocahontas and After: Cultural Day

When Saturday 18 March, 09.30-20.30
Where The British Library Knowledge Centre
Price £30/£21 Book via the British Library Box Office

A packed day of film screenings, panel debates, a lecture, and a musical performance exploring the historic and cultural figure of Pocahontas. 

Speakers include Michael Walling, artistic director of Border Crossings & the Origins Festival; Jim Horn and Bill Kelso, directors of Jamestown Rediscovered; Joanne Prince of Rainmaker Gallery, Bristol; Shelley Niro, Mohawk film-maker and artist; Dr Max Carocci, Chelsea College of Art, MA Museums and Curating; Dr David Stirrup, Reader in Indigenous and Settler Literatures of the Americas, University of Kent; Dr Buck Woodard, Colonial Williamsburg, American Indian Initiative; Professor Mishuana Goeman, professor of gender studies, University of California Los Angeles; and musician Elizabeth Hill.     

Organised in partnership with the Institute of Historical Research and the Big Ideas Company.

The Eccles British Library Writer's Award Festival

When Thursday 23 March, 17.00-21.00
Where The British Library Knowledge Centre
Price £12 / £10 / £8 Book via the British Library Box Office

A mini literary festival celebrating the achievements of the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award.

We hope to be joined by all 12 of the holders of the Eccles British Library Writer's Award for a one-night mini literary festival celebrating their work and reflecting on their engagement with the Library's collections. The authors will be in discussion with Philippa Thomas (BBC World). The event will be divided into two parts: the first reflecting on Culture, Science and American contexts with Bob Stanley; Will Atkins; Olivia Laing; Erica Wagner; Andrea Wulf and Sheila Rowbotham. The second will consider Literary explorations of America with Hannah Kohler; Alison MacLeod; Sarah Churchwell; Ben Markovits; John Burnside and Naomi Wood.

The award (formerly Writer in Residence) of £20,000 is presented annually to two authors whose writing projects depend substantially on materials in the British Library’s collection relating to North America. There have been 12 winners of the award, six of whom will have published their volumes by the end of 2017: Naomi WoodMrs Hemingway; Andrea WulfThe Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World; Olivia LaingThe Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone; Sheila RowbothamRebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States; John BurnsideAshland and Vine; and Erica WagnerChief Engineer: The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge. Six other books are underway, by Benjamin Markovits, Sarah Churchwell, Alison MacLeod, Will Atkins, Hannah Kohler and Bob Stanley.

The evening will also launch the publication of a set of portraits of the authors made by Eccles Photography Fellow, Alexander McIntyre.

The event will include a book sale, signing and wine reception.

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