Centre for Studies in Literature
Conference 2017: Britain in Europe, Europe in Britain
A Two-Day Interdisciplinary Conference: Thursday June 22nd & Friday June 23rd 2017
Prof Arthur Aughey, University of Ulster & tbc
The Brexit result of June 23rd 2016 shocked Britain and Europe and has revealed a deep division of the country. In the months following the vote, the media continue to report about efforts by the ‘Remainers’ to reverse the referendum result, or on attempts by the ‘Leavers’ to speed up the triggering of Article 50. Tragically, the media also report on an almost daily basis about repercussions of the referendum on European ‘migrant’ communities. Verbal and physical abuse against Europeans living and working in Britain is on a terrifying increase, and racially‐motivated crime is rising steeply. The referendum, and its aftermath, have highlighted a deep division within British society with some groups becoming increasingly politically active to ensure the rights of European residents and delay or forestall ‘Brexit’, while others have appeared to retreat behind a ‘Little England’ discourse that aims to ‘make Britain great again’ and ‘get our country back’.
This conference, on the first anniversary of the 2016 Referendum, aims to look at the social and cultural repercussions of the Brexit vote, assessing the future of Britain within the EU, as well as the future of Europeans within Britain. Bringing together academics from a variety of disciplines – Literature, History, Politics, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, Area Studies – as well as creative practitioners, representatives of local European minority groupings and local politicians, the conference aims to offer a fertile ground for a cultural debate on ‘Brexit’ and its ramifications.
Some of the topics to be addressed include:
- Presentations/(Re)presentations of contemporary Englishness & Britishness, in particular with a focus on ‘Britains in Europe’ and ‘Europeans in Britain’ in literature, film, media, etc.
- Social, historical and cultural representations of European minority groups in Britain
- Local and national responses of European citizens to the referendum and ensuing treatment
- Historical, political and/or cultural legacies of Britain’s relationship with Europe
- Community/activist responses to the vote (both ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’)
- Legacies and impacts of migration between Britain and Europe in the past and present
- Social pressure and cultural impacts on policy making
The conference will also include a public evening discussion event bringing together creative practitioners and representatives of local community groups to discuss the cultural and social consequences of Brexit.