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beats and politics – past and present

european beat studies network
7th annual conference:
vienna, 3 – 6 october 2018 (co-organized by vienna poetry school)
call for papers
final extended deadline for conference submissions: march 15*!

european beat studies network

7th annual conference

vienna, 3 – 6 october 2018

beats and politics – past and present

submissions are invited for the seventh annual conference of the european beat studies network (ebsn) that will take place at the schule für dichtung (sfd/vienna poetry school) in vienna, austria, on october 3–6, 2018.

call for papers >>

deadline for abstracts: february 15, 2018, extended to march 15!
(please make sure that you have received a confirmation email*)

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.

we invite submissions for panels, roundtables, dialogues, visual exhibitions, and performances, on any aspect of the beat generation and their legacy. but priority will be given to proposals related to the conference theme as outlined above, transnational links between austrian culture and the beats, and ruth weiss, who grew up in vienna and had to escape with her parents in the wake of nazi aggression against jewish communities. she will celebrate her 90th birthday in 2018.

the vienna poetry school was founded in 1992 and modelled after the jack kerouac school in colorado. the school has become a centre of beat-related and counter-cultural activity since its inception, hosting an array of prominent beat figures, including allen ginsberg, anne waldman, ed sanders, and ruth weiss.


allen ginsberg's woolly hat (at sfd)

the austrian organizing committee of the conference 2018:
(from left to right:) harriet nachtmann (sfd/vienna poetry school), thomas antonic and paul pechmann (german studies department/university of vienna, research project: transnational literature: austria and the beat generation)
(at the annual ebsn conference in paris 2017)


* an earlier version of our cfp had a typo in the email address for submissions and we want to make sure all proposals are accurately received before review. if you have submitted a proposal and have not yet received a confirmation email (or are running just behind the original deadline) please reach out to our conference administrator, raven see, at



conference organized by





in association with






 fwf research project 'transnational literature: austria and the beat generation', university of vienna



supported by