Herkimer County Community College invites literary, legal, historical and film scholars, students, and other interested parties to participate in an interdisciplinary conference entitled “Chester, Grace, and Dreiser: The Birth of An American Tragedy.” The conference, to take place on June 22-24, 2006 in Herkimer, NY, marks the centennial anniversary year of the famous 1906 trial of Chester Gillette, the resident of Cortland, NY, who was convicted of and executed for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Grace Brown of South Otselic, NY. The trial attracted national media attention from the yellow press of the era, and it later inspired Theodore Dreiser’s renowned 1925 novel An American Tragedy, which in turn inspired the classic 1951 film A Place in the Sun.
The conference welcomes papers exploring any of the social, legal, literary, psychological, theatrical or cultural aspects of the Gillette case. Multimedia presentations are encouraged. Of especial interest are papers exploring such questions as the following: Why does the Gillette murder case, and later fictional adaptations, still hold the public’s interest after nearly a century? Why did the Gillette murder trial in particular and other famous American trials in general, become such media sensations? Would Chester Gillette/Clyde Griffiths/George Eastman still be convicted in today’s society and a modern court of law? Why did the Gillette case become such a good basis for a novel and films? How did fact evolve into fiction and the different versions of the story evolve over time? Prospective panelists should submit a proposal or completed paper to be presented in no more than twenty minutes, together with curriculum vitae, to the address below by December 31, 2005. Email submissions are welcome.
Instructor of History and Social Science
Herkimer County Community College
100 Reservoir Road
Herkimer, NY 13350
Fax: (315) 866-7253
Notes: Herkimer, NY is located on exit 30 of the New York State Thruway (I-90), roughly midway between the cities of Albany and Syracuse. It is also within driving distance of many other locations related to the Gillette case such as Cortland, South Otselic, Big Moose Lake and Auburn. Conference details are currently being finalized and will be posted on the website of the International Theodore Dreiser Society, http://www.uncw.edu/dreiser/ . Specifics on fees, meals, housing, and transportation options will be forthcoming shortly. For the most up to date conference information contact HCCC’s Office of Community Education at (315)866-0300 ext. 8251 or email@example.com .
See also: http://www.uticaod.com/archive/2005/07/12/news/4501.html and http://www.herkimertelegram.com/articles/2005/07/12/news/news01.txt for more information on centennial events in the Herkimer, NY community.
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