Friday, 18 May 2012

C.L.R. James's Beyond a Boundary: 50th anniversary conference

C.L.R. James’Beyond a Boundary: 50th Anniversary Conference  
University of Glasgow.  
Friday 10th to Saturday 11th May, 2013 (with an opening event on Thursday 9th May)
Confirmed keynote speakers: Mike Brearley (former England Test captain), Wai Chee Dimock (Yale) and Robert A. Hill (UCLA and C.L.R. James's Literary Executor).

Regularly cited as one of the great sports books of the twentieth century, C.L.R. James’ Beyond a Boundary (1963) is, by his own famous definition, about far more than cricket. Part-autobiography, part-historical study and part-political-call-to-arms written against the backdrop of the decolonisation struggles, James’ reflections on sport in the Caribbean reach out into a critical account of racism and imperialism, into wider questions of aesthetics and popular culture, and into the struggle for revolutionary social change which was the enduring concern of his life. Crucially, James insisted that such questions were not simply of concern to academics or to experts, but were also a central part of what drew ordinary men and women to sport.

Much loved, and widely read, James’ study has also been the subject of searching criticism: he has been accused, among other things, of a failure of critical judgement in relation to cricket’s role in the moral framework of empire, of a lack of attentiveness to gendered inequalities, and of a naïve faith in the spontaneity of popular political resistance.

This conference is convened on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Beyond a Boundary, with the intention of both celebrating and questioning, drawing out the book’s intellectual legacies and identifying the issues it leaves unanswered. 

*** Registration for this event is now open ***

We have sought to keep fees for the event as low as possible, in order to ensure that it is open to as wide an audience as possible. In order to reduce administrative costs, therefore, we are running the registration process ourselves. So, to register for the event please send an e-mail with your name and contact details to

The cost of attendance at the event will be £30 (£10 for students or those without a wage). As we do not have administrative support, we would ask that delegates pay this when they arrive on the first day of the conference.

Already confirmed keynote speakers for the conference are Mike Brearley (former England Test captain and previously President of the British Psychoanalytic Society), Wai Chee Dimock (Department of English, Yale) and  Robert A. Hill (History, UCLA and C.L.R. James's Literary Executor). 

We have had a tremendous response to the original call for papers, and the diversity of those who have submitted papers reflects, unsurprisingly, the diversity and internationalism of James' own outlook. We are looking forward, therefore, to inviting speakers from all over the world to Glasgow in May, including academics, film-makers, sports-writers, activists and many others.

In a slight change to the originally publicised programme, we now intend that the conference will begin on the night of Thursday 9th May with a screening of Mike Dibb's film of 'Beyond a Boundary', as well as his 1984 interview between James and Stuart Hall. Mike Dibb will be introducing these films himself, and this will be followed by a drinks reception.

More details of the programme, and information about local accommodation etc will be posted on the conference website shortly:

To be added to the conference mailing list, please e-mail the address given above.

Conference organisers: Dr. Dave Featherstone (Human Geography, Glasgow); Dr. Chris Gair (English Literature, Glasgow); Dr. Christian Høgsbjerg (History, Leeds Metropolitan); Dr. Andy Smith (Sociology, Glasgow).

Edited to add: The Programme is now online.  

1 comment:

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