Lois Walker, a postgraduate student on LJMU English’s Masters by Research programme, has had her conference paper proposal accepted for the ‘Masculinity and the Metropolis’ conference at the University of Kent in April 2016. The interdisciplinary conference, which spans two days, will include scholars of literature, art history and film. Lois’s paper is entitled ‘The Myth of Gay “Golden Age” New York’, and will focus upon two novels from the period – John Rechy’s Rushes (1979) and Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance (1978). She seeks to challenge the romanticised ideal of an urban ‘safe space’ by exposing ways in which male homosexual experience was forced into the de-industrialised and derelict dark spaces of New York city such as the piers and the waterfront bars. Her chosen writers express within their novels a duality within gay metropolitan life and illustrate several conflicts between the individual and the community, the homosexual male and the city, and the discourses of private and public life within the urban.
Lois graduated from LJMU English’s undergraduate programme last summer, and the acceptance of her proposal by the conference organisers is an impressive achievement as she progresses with her Masters thesis. Lois said: ‘Once I saw the call for papers for the “Masculinity and the Metropolis” conference, I was very eager to attend. A keynote speaker at the conference will be Professor Phil Hubbard, who is an important figure in my area of research. I was excited about having the chance to hear him speak about his current research, and possibly even the prospect of talking to about my own project. It was after having a conversation with my supervisor Alice Ferrebe that I was encouraged to submit an abstract of my own. I was really nervous, but keen to talk about my area of interest with scholars from other universities. When I found out that my paper had been accepted, it was a great confidence booster to know that my ideas were interesting enough. I am now beginning to write my paper and I am very looking forward to participating and networking with other researchers within my field of study.’