10 May 2013

Call for Papers: Teenage Kicks: The Representation of Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Other Media


Call for Papers: Teenage Kicks: The Representation of Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Other Media

An interdisciplinary conference at Keele University, Staffordshire, UK

11-13 July 2013

Speakers include:
  • Alan Fletcher (author of Quadrophenia, and The Mod Crop Trilogy)
  • Don Letts (director of The Punk Rock Movie, The Clash: Westway to the World, and Subculture)
  • Alex Wheatle (author of Brixton Rock, East of Acre Lane, and The Dirty South)
  • Professor Scott Wilson (author of Great Satan's Rage: American negativity and rap/metal in the age of supercapitalism)
Conference Website: www.keele-conferencemanagement.com/teen2013


The legendary UK DJ John Peel has the words 'Teenage Dreams so hard to beat' carved on his gravestone, the opening line of The Undertones' classic punk song 'Teenage Kicks'. Peel's love of the music, style, attitude and outlook of youth subcultures encapsulates a general and ongoing fascination for writers, filmmakers and critics alike. From Teddy Boys to Hoodies, subcultural groups have formed the backdrop or basis for a series of imaginative works.

This interdisciplinary and international conference aims to bring together researchers, academics and practitioners working in the field of subcultural studies, and in particular in the representation of youth subcultures in fiction and film.

Much work has been done in sociology, criminology, cultural studies, cultural history and musicology to map and analyse subcultural identity and issues around youth, but comparatively little academic work has been done on the way in which youth subcultures have been represented in fiction and film. Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners set the trend for the subcultural novel in the 1950s, and by way of Nik Cohn’s I am Still the Greatest Says Johnny Angelo, Richard Allen’s 1970s Skinhead novels, Jonathan Coe’s The Dwarves of Death and Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia in the 80s and 90s, to Gautum Malkani’s Londonstani and novels by John King and Alex Wheatle in the 2000s, fiction has provided a rich source of articulation and engagement with subcultural positions and lifestyles. This is in addition to the DIY fiction and fanzines that have accompanied subcultures down the years. On screen, iconic works such as The Wild Ones,  Performance, A Clockwork Orange, Blitzkrieg Bop, Quadrophenia,: The Punk Rock Movie, Trainspotting, The Filth and the Fury, 8 Mile, This is England and Ill Manors have mapped both the experience of subcultural belonging and the various moral panics they have caused.

The conference organizers welcome proposals for 20-minute papers, and panels, from academics and researchers working in the field. Part of the aim of the conference is to generate interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary debate and interaction, so proposals are welcomed from a range of disciplines including literary studies, film studies, cultural studies, media studies, sociology, criminology, cultural history, music and musicology.

Although many of the novels and films cited above have UK and USA settings, we welcome papers on the representation of subcultures from all parts of the world, and are indeed interested in the way in which subcultural identity circulates internationally. From Scandinavian Death Metal to K-Pop; from La Heine to Pussy Riot, the international range of youth subcultures has provided material for the expression of emotional, ethical and political sentiment in fiction, film and other media.

We also aim to include a strand of creative practice into the conference, so would welcome 20-minute presentations/performances/films or displays from literary writers (fiction, poetry and drama), film makers, photographers, visual artists, musicians and other creative practitioners.

Abstracts should be 250-300 words in length and emailed to n.bentley@keele.ac.uk by the extended deadline of 24th May 2013.

We plan to produce a collection of essays based on papers given at the conference.

To register for the conference please go to: www.keele-conferencemanagement.com/teen2013
Registration closes:  Sunday 30 June 2013. Early bird rates are available until 31 May 2013


The conference organizers are Dr Nick Bentley, Dr Mark Featherstone, Dr Beth Johnson and Dr Andy Zieleniec. The conference is in association with the Keele University’s Humanities Research Institute, the Keele Cultural Research Group, and the Subcultures Network: The Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change. www.reading.ac.uk/history/research/Subcultures/Subcultures-About.aspx.

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