CALL FOR PAPERS! Twenty-Five Years of Regeneration: A Pat Barker Symposium

Twenty-Five Years of Regeneration: A Pat Barker Symposium

Saturday 15 October 2016, Durham University, 10.30 am – 5.00 pm

Twenty-five years after the publication of Regeneration, we invite proposals for papers on Pat Barker’s formative work of First World War historical fiction, as well as on her wider oeuvre. In 1991 Regeneration focused readers’ attention onto a lesser-visited space of war, the psychiatric hospital, onto challenging narratives of trauma and sexuality, and onto the ideologies of a society struggling to negotiate the effects of a global and industrialised conflict. The conference will be preceded by a public event on 14 October in Durham Cathedral on fiction and World War One, featuring Michael Morpurgo and Pat Barker.

This symposium will centre on discussion of how Barker’s novel, followed by The Eye in the Door (1993) and The Ghost Road (1995), has tested and shaped perceptions of the First World War. Particularly relevant during the current centenary period are the trilogy’s themes of memory and haunting, which resonate with questions of why the war remains such a prominent part of our culture, and how our views of it have been re-processed and revised. Held in Barker’s home city of Durham, the symposium will also address the portrayals of place in her novels. Initially known for her writing about women in the north east of England, the importance of her settings is undiminished in her later work – from Sarah Lumb’s description of herself as ‘what you’d call Geordie’ in Regeneration to the exploration of London in the Blitz in Barker’s most recent work, Noonday (2015).

We are delighted to announce that our keynote speaker will be Professor Sharon Monteith (The University of Nottingham), and that our guest Chair will be Dr Anne Whitehead (Newcastle University). Professor Monteith’s Pat Barker (2002) was the first book on the award-winning novelist’s work, which she is updating for a new edition. She co-edited the first collection of critical essays on the writer, Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker, in 2005 and has interviewed Barker on a number of occasions, including publicly at Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, the Nottingham Playhouse and at the Durham Book Festival on more than one occasion. Dr Whitehead, a pioneer in the field of trauma studies, has also interviewed Barker and has published extensively on her novels, for example in her monograph Trauma Fiction (2004).

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers on any of the following topics and on any other relevant areas:

  • Changing literary interpretations of the First World War
  • The development of the genre of historical fiction
  • ‘Bringing the past to life’
  • Barker’s themes and settings
  • Trauma, hauntings, memory and remembrance
  • Class, gender, and sexuality in Barker’s work

Please send abstracts (maximum 250 words) by 31 July 2016
to Professor Simon James: patbarker2016@gmail.com

Our event is supported by the Department of English Studies, Durham University. You can find details of this symposium, as well as other similar activities, by following @READEnglish on Twitter. You can keep up to date with others discussing the symposium by using the hashtag #Barker2016 on Twitter.

Professor Simon J. James, Head of Department, Department of English Studies

About Pin-chia Feng

Pin–chia Feng is Chair Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Research Fellow of the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica (joint appointment) and adjunct Distinguished Chair Professor of Chung Hua University. Currently she is also the director of NCTU’s Asian American Studies Research Center. Feng was NCTU’s Provost of Academic Affairs, Chair of NCTU’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, President of the Comparative Literature Association of ROC (2005-2008), President of the Association of English and American Literature (2009-2011, 2014-2015), convener of foreign literature discipline of Taiwan’s National Science Council (NSC, now Ministry of Science and Technology; 2010-2013), and a recipient of the 2007, 2010, and 2013 NSC Outstanding Research Award as well as the 2015 Academic Award of the Ministry of Education. Her monograph, Diasporic Representations: Reading Chinese American Women’s Fiction, was awarded Academia Sinica’s Scholarly Monograph Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2012). Feng received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1994). She writes on issues of gender, race, and representation in films, graphic narratives, as well as in Asian American, African American and Afro-Caribbean literatures.