CSULA Department of English | Events

On October 3, Cal State LA will host a three-way videoconference that will allow students and professors at Cal State LA, Royal Holloway University of London, and the University of Glasgow to explore the National Theatre of Scotland's production of Black Watch in terms of national trauma and identity. Faculty and students from the three countries will dissect the Anglo-American literary response to current and past conflicts, including the relationship between history, fiction and performance. 

The videoconference will be held from 9am to 12pm in the videoconference suite in King Hall, and is part of an exciting program of events surrounding 

Image from Black Watch

photo credit: National Theatre 
of Scotland

the US premiere of Black Watch, the critically-acclaimed theater production that examines the war in Iraq as described by soldiers in Scotland’s legendary Black Watch regiment. These events are sponsored by the British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations. The videoconference at Cal State LA is sponsored by the British Council, the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and the Department of English. Click here to go to the British Council web page describing this event.
 

Image from Black Watch

photo credit: National Theatre 
of Scotland

While the war in Iraq dominates the media, there has been remarkably little literary writing that engages with it directly: an exception, if tangential, is Ian McEwan’s Saturday. In contrast, there has been some successful reportage-based drama (Gregory Burke’s The Black Watch, Jonathan Holmes’s Fallujah, David Hare’s Stuff Happens), as well as several notable, if short-lived blogs.

However, unlike, for example, the Vietnam war, there has not yet been a clear literary response to the War. Moreover, while there are an array of critical tools that engage with issues of politics, the representation of trauma, 

the relationship between history, fiction and performance, to list only a few relevant issues, there have been few attempts to theorise the representation of the War.

The aim of this three-way video-conference is to assess and analyse the current complexities surrounding writing, performance and the Iraq War in an Anglo-American context.

Black Watch, which is based on recent interviews conducted by acclaimed Scottish playwright Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq, serves as the centerpiece of British Council Conversations, a month-long series of events discussing UK and US attitudes toward war and the military, the benefits of intercultural dialogue and the role of contemporary arts in discussing divisive social issues.

 

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