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Past events and conferences 2015

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.

Darker Hauntings: Imagery of the Southern Gothic

When Friday 16 January 2015, 18:45-20:00
Where British Library Conference Centre

This talk delved into the depths of the American gothic imagination as Susan Castillo Street explored what Southern Gothic reveals about America’s repressed past. Taking in Edgar Allan Poe, George Washington Cable, Charles Chesnutt, William Faulkner and Truman Capote, this wide ranging discussion considered how the South’s complex relationships with race and sexuality are manifested through powerful recurring images such as the collapsing haunted mansion, the racialized doppelganger and the monstrous feminine.

Susan Castillo Street, a native of Louisiana, is the Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor of American Studies at King’s College London. Professor Castillo Street is known for her interdisciplinary work on race, gender and ethnicity. Her research interests include the Southern Gothic, Native American and colonial writing. She is currently conducting research for her new book Darker Hauntings: Writing Race and Slavery in the Early Atlantic (Louisiana State University Press), and is co-editing an essay collection, A Handbook to the Southern Gothic (Palgrave Macmillan).

This event was part of the events programme for the Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination exhibition.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

When Monday 26 January 2015, 18:45-20:00
Where British Library Terrace Restaurant

Writer in Residence Olivia Laing ventured into the lonely city, exploring urban loneliness by way of the work and lives of some of America's greatest artists, among them Edward Hopper, David Wojnarowicz and Henry Darger. Olivia Laing's forthcoming third book is a cultural history of urban loneliness, and she'll be discussing the research process and some of the major themes, from social isolation to the devastating stigma of the Aids epidemic.

Olivia Laing was 2014 Eccles British Library Writer in Residence and author of To the River and The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking (Canongate). She's a regular contributor to the Guardian, New Statesman and the New York Times and is the former deputy literary editor of the Observer.

Trapped in the Ice, Frozen in Time

When Thursday 5 February 2015, 18:30-20:00
Where British Library Terrace Restaurant

An evening of performance and talks was hosted by the British Library's Interactive Fiction Writer-in-Residence Rob Sherman, featuring JR Carpenter (artist and writer, who will be performing her poem Notes on the Voyage of Owl and Girl), Nancy Campbell (artist and writer, whose latest book is exhibited in Lines in the Ice) and novelist Kate Pullinger. Exploring themes connected to his research into the infamous lost Franklin expedition of 1845-6 and creative responses to this historical event.

Read more about Rob Sherman's project, inspired by Lines in the Ice, at Explore the interactive story of Issac Scinbank here.

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