Classically Inclined

September 21, 2011

[Deadline now passed] CFP: Go! Classics Go! The Beat Generation, the avant garde and the roots of counterculture

Filed under: Research — lizgloyn @ 4:10 am
Tags: ,

Here’s another interesting call for papers that focuses on classical reception and modern culture, in this case the work of the Beat Generation. It’s not something I know particularly much about, but I will be trying to keep an eye on it as it looks like it could produce some fascinating cross-disciplinary work.

Go! Classics Go! The Beat Generation, the avant garde and the roots of counterculture
Research workshops at the University of St Andrews and the University of Pennsylvania

The School of Classics, University of St Andrews and the Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania will host joint research workshops that will explore the relationship between the discipline of Classics and the Beat Generation writers of the 1950s and early 60s. The workshops will examine the topic through a range of disciplines and consequently contributors from Classics, American Literature, Comparative Literature, Cultural History, Political Science, Gender Studies, and Music are welcome. There will be two research workshops, one in Philadelphia and one in St Andrews. The joint nature of the project is to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary discussions and exchange of ideas in two discrete locales. It is hoped that speakers will be able to attend both workshops.

This project will consider how the diverse talents of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg , William S. Burroughs , Gregory Corso and later those such as Bob Dylan drew on ideas and themes from Classics, as well as each other, for inspiration. There are many others who are part of this movement and John Clellon Holmes ; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gary Snyder  are the most well known but there are many other names that warrant inclusion. The Black Mountain poets are just one such example.

In Beat poetry and literature Classics is juxtaposed with the avant-garde, and part of literary experimentation, so what some may see as a conservative discipline is a central plank of a counterculture that rejected the post-war norms of the Eisenhower era. Does this show Classics to be an orthodox discipline insensitively appropriated by the Beats, or is it part of a meticulously crafted intellectual view of the mid twentieth century?  How and why did the Beat writers explore, utilize and ultimately remould Classics? The workshops will provide an opportunity to explore many aspects of the topic. There is a longer exposition of the research context for debate on the workshop website:

There will be two interdisciplinary research workshops:

10th October 2012 at the University of St Andrews

17th November 2012 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Proposals are invited for papers on any aspect of the Beat Generation writers’ (novelists, poets, musicians) ‘utilization’ of Classics. The format allows for papers to be no more than 30 minutes’ duration, and there will be 10 minutes of questions following each paper. An collected volume of papers from the workshops is planned, and the aim is to submit a manuscript to the publishers in the summer 2013.

Abstracts should not be longer than 500 words, and should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and e-mail address. Please send your submission in either Word or pdf format to Alisdair Gibson aggg at, before 6th January 2012.


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