Beats and Politics. Past and Present
European Beat Studies Network

Künstlerhaus 1050
bis 6. Oktober 2018

7th Annual Conference
Co-organized by the Vienna Poetry School and the Research Project
“Transnational Literature: Austria and the Beat Generation” at the
University of Vienna

> > > Program

Beat culture can be regarded as a manifestation of political protest against the oppressive and anti-freedom of expression political atmosphere of the 1950s, which culminated in several obscenity trials (Howl, Naked Lunch, Fuck You/ A Magazine of the Arts). Examples of later Beat political activism include William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg’s participation in the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Ginsberg’s arrest at the anti-nuclear Rocky Flats blockade of railroad tracks in 1978, and his participation at numerous protests against the Vietnam war.

The 2018 conference will focus on the relevance of the Beat Generation against the backdrop of the current political turmoil in the US and beyond. In particular, we seek papers which assess the Beats within the context of political activism as well as cultural politics of identity, gender, ethnicity, LGBT rights and/or environmentalism. We are also interested in the impact of recent works by Beat poets who are still active (e.g., the 2017 “Exorcism of the White House” by Ed Sanders and the reunited Fugs), as well as by younger artists who are influenced by Beat aesthetics.