Students Staff

American Networks: Radicals Under the Radar (1868-1968)

International Inter-Disciplinary Conference

  • Location: 1-4 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG
  • Date: 11-13 July 2016

Keynote Speakers


American Networks: Radicals Under the Radar aims to challenge dominant narratives of artistic and political collaboration by investigating networks in the Americas which are often submerged ‘under the radar’ of conventional scholarship and examines the hundred-year period preceding 1968.

Pan-American and transnational in focus, the conference aims to investigate literary and artistic movements which are poorly served by strict linguistic and national boundaries. Artistic and political movements are never predicated upon ‘great’ individuals in isolation, but are always reliant upon networks. Across the Americas, affiliations between artists and radical thinkers have led to paradigm shifts that have changed world history. Communists, Wobblies, revolutionaries, socialists, Fabianists, Pan-Africanists, Pan-Americanists, revolutionaries, anarchists, political exiles and Garveyites all played their role in shaping American literature, art and politics.

Whether such networks exist in tangible social enclaves—homes, bars, cafés, galleries, offices or neighbourhoods—or in virtual form—an edited book—they inevitably draw together collaborators from different cultural, national and linguistic backgrounds. In American studies, scholarship on some of the most significant artistic movements of the twentieth century, such as Modernism and the avant-garde—which often combine artistic and politically radical components—has often been dominated by national, US-centric and Anglocentric paradigms.

Modernism in the visual arts of the Americas is often seen as having been initiated by the 1913 Armory Show in New York, which traded on its association with Europeans exemplars like Duchamp and Matisse. In Americanist scholarship more broadly, Caribbean, Latin American and Southern contributors are often overlooked in favour of their Northern counterparts. American Networks interrogates received wisdom about discourse on American arts and writing and is attentive to cultural geographies which are Pan-American, transnational and intercultural in nature.


It is an expectation that speakers and participants will attend for the full three days of the conference, which will consist of single panels.

Keynote speakers

Other confirmed speakers

Registration and payment

To register for the conference please visit our Webshop:

Basic registration fees are £55 for those in full-time employment and £40 concession for those who qualify as part-time employees, students, low-waged and retired.

Please contact the conference organiser Dr Jak Peake by email for any further information.


Masters courses

Master courses

Our masters courses offer in-depth study of a range of literature specialisms including modernism, the novel, myth and fairytale, as well as United States and Caribbean literature, and are an excellent preparation for PhD study.

PhD study

PhD study

By undertaking PhD study in literature at Essex, you will become part of an active research community and benefit from the expert supervision of our internationally recognised staff.

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Research excellence

Research excellence

Three-quarters of our research is rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014). We do both creative and critical work across genres and media forms using a distinctly comparative approach.