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The Eleventh International Conference on Eugene O’Neill

"Longing and Belonging"

Suffolk University, Boston, MA USA

6 - 9 July 2022

The Eugene O’Neill Society will be coming home to the very place the Society's first international conferences were held in the 1980s and 90s, Suffolk University, for its next International Conference on July 6-9, 2022. Suffolk University is located in the heart of Boston’s downtown and close to several attractions, historical landmarks, and outstanding restaurants. Conference co-chairs Steven Bloom and Beth Wynstra, both Boston-area residents, will be planning all year for this event, held traditionally every three years at a site that held meaning to O’Neill in some capacity.

As we head into the twenties of the 21st century, we mark the centiennials of key O'Neill plays that introduced his voice to a wider audience. Beyond the Horizon premiered on Broadway in 1920 and ushered in a uniquely American tragic form. The Emperor Jones also opened in 1920 at the Provincetown Playhouse and soon moved to Broadway, and was a work that both experimented with emerging expressionist theatrical techniques and broke the color line on Broadway. The Hairy Ape, staged by the Provincetown Players in 1922, criticized capitalist structures and pointed out the fragility and fallibility of the American Dream.

During this fertile and prolific period in O'Neill's writing life, Exorcism and Anna Christie also premiered and his willingness to experiment was taking off, so we seek participants who wish to explore O'Neill's own experimentation in his lifetime as well as experimental approaches to O'Neill in our own time. We invite scholars, historians, directors, playwrights, actors, and teachers to examine new ways of engaging O’Neill, thereby expanding our own scholarly and pedagogical horizons.

This conference calls for papers that interrogate and investigate notions of longing, the horizon beyond, the unattainable, the pipe dream, and/or belonging, fitting in, and feeling "at home." And, in turn we invite considerations of those who feel they can never belong: the alienated, the displaced, the misbegotten. We also invite proposals on all aspects of O'Neill's work, whether specifically related to the conference theme or locale or not. We note that the 11th International Conference was initially scheduled for the summer of 2020 under the theme "Beyond the Horizon(s)," but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Accepted participants for that conference are invited to submit the same proposals to the 2022 conference. We will make every effort (subject to issues of capacity) to include previously accepted proposals. Here is the "Call for Papers" that will give you more information on submitting. Proposals are due by September 1, 2021. CONFERENCE CFP

Boston’s geography is central to the conference, just as it was foundational to O’Neill’s development as a playwright. O’Neill was tethered not only to Boston/Cambridge (his brief early stint at Harvard; his later stint at the Shelton Hotel, now part of Boston University; and his eternal stint at Forest Hills Cemetery), but also to spaces beyond Boston/Cambridge, including Marblehead to the north, and, of course, Provincetown to the southeast.

Check back this fall for registration information!

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