Understanding the Beats Globally


Special Sesstion at the 2009 Convention of the Modern Language Association

Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, Dec. 29

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 402-403, Philadelphia Marriott


The panel:


An examination of writings of major and minor Beat Generation figures from the perspective of their contributions to understanding globalization. The Beat Generation’s hipster mythos, its countercultural literature of personal freedom and experiment, helped to obscure the fact that Beat writers took up questions of the internationalization of culture and marginalized identity that resonate strikingly with currently emerging critical frameworks. The panel will demonstrate that approaches privileging colonial and postcolonial zones, migration, and identity in exile offer ways of viewing the Beats as contributing to understanding phenomena of globalization and the concomitant reorientation of literary studies.




Presiding: Jennie Skerl, West Chester Univ.


1. “Jack Kerouac and the Nomadic Cartographies of Exile,” Hassan Melehy, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


2. “Bob Kaufman: Genealogical Drift,” Todd Thorpe, Univ. of Notre Dame


3. “Beat Transnationalism under Gender: Bonnie Bremser’s Troia,” Ronna Catherine Johnson, Tufts Univ.


4. “Seduced across the Border: Globalizing William Burroughs,” Timothy S. Murphy, Univ. of Oklahoma


Click on a paper title for a copy of the abstract.