Spectacles and Spectatorship: An American Studies Symposium
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 10.30am-6pm.
University of Manchester, UK
Keynote speakerAmy Wood (Illinois State University), “Ethical Engagement, Historical Memory, and the Spectacle of Black Suffering.”

This interdisciplinary workshop will explore modes of spectatorship and sites of spectacle in modern US culture. Our aim is to begin thinking about the ways in which people are trained to become certain kinds of spectators, examining the apparatus by which spectacles are created, and the particular sites (world’s fairs, sports stadiums, race tracks, living rooms, and mobile film units) where these activities happen. To do this, speakers will examine a range of topics, including Cold War development films, the spectacle of America’s turn-of-the-century world’s fairs, horse-racing in the nineteenth-century US South, and the late twentieth-century sports spectator. Our keynote lecture will be delivered by Professor Amy Wood, author of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 (2009), who will discuss the role of imagery and spectatorship in recent police brutality cases.

Lunch, refreshments, and a wine reception will be provided. The full programme, and speaker information can be found here. Papers will be pre-circulated and will form the basis for discussion. They can be accessed by contacting Dr. Molly Geidel (molly.geidel@manchester.ac.uk).