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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2003

IUB to host first Ian Fleming academic symposium

Conference to explore James Bond legacy and 007's impact on aspects of modern society

EDITORS: Additional media contacts and related links are listed at the bottom of this release.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Beginning May 29, Indiana University Bloomington will host the first academic symposium devoted to one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, an extraordinary man who shook up popular literature and introduced readers to the most famous secret agent the world has ever known.

We're talking, of course, about Fleming.

Ian Fleming.

The Cultural Politics of Ian Fleming 007, which will run from May 29 to June 1, will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale, the novel that introduced the world to the now-legendary British secret agent 007, James Bond. The symposium, which is being sponsored by the IUB College of Arts and Sciences, the COAS Arts and Humanities Institute and the Department of English, will feature renowned national and international scholars from a broad range of academic disciplines, including literature, history, gender studies, modern culture and communications. Professors Stephen Watt, chair of the Department of English, and Edward Comentale will lead the symposium.

The subject of the symposium will serve as a springboard for participation in an array of activities. The IUB Lilly Library, which houses the original manuscripts for 11 of the James Bond 007 tales, will mount a public exhibition of rarely seen Fleming and Bond materials. The exhibition will run from May 27 to Sept. 13 and feature the manuscripts as well as Bond novels, first editions and stories published in Playboy, film scripts, posters and photographs and spy fiction by other authors. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Throughout the weekend, there will be a continuous screening of Bond films at the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater in downtown Bloomington. The recently renovated, 640-seat theater will also serve as the venue for a special Friday (May 30) evening screening of the 1954 made-for-TV, black and white film Casino Royale.

A roundtable discussion will follow the rarely seen movie, which starred Barry Nelson as "CIA" agent "Jimmy" Bond. The roundtable will include Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett, James Chapman, author of License to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films, Raymond Benson, author of several original continuation Bond novels, and Michael van Blaricum, an officer at the Ian Fleming Foundation. Those who attend the film festival will also be able to view three vehicles featured in recent Bond movies.

The conference will officially kick off with an evening lecture on Thursday (May 29) by James Chapman, a lecturer in film and television history at the Open University in the United Kingdom. Chapman will answer the question, "Why Take James Bond Seriously?" Throughout the weekend, panelists will discuss the character's relevance in terms of the current war on terrorism and impact of September 11, technological advancement, political ideology, popular culture, style, masculinity, feminism and gender relations. They also will examine the longevity of the Bond legacy and films.

Even though he passed away 39 years ago, "Fleming has a lot to say about the international climate of terrorism and the world's response to it," said Watt. "Since 9-11, Fleming and the Bond movies have become more relevant than ever before. They can tell us a tremendous amount about who we are, how we represent ourselves and who our enemies are."

IU faculty, staff and students, as well as the general public, are invited to register for the symposium through Thursday, May 29 by calling 800-933-9330 or signing up at The Friday and Saturday academic sessions to be held at the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) are free of charge.

For those who also want to participate in the conference's social activities, which include opening and closing receptions at the IMU, the screening of Casino Royale, a private reception at the Lilly Library and a Sunday brunch, among other events, the cost is $50 for IU faculty, staff and students; $60 for presenters and panelists; and $100 for non-presenting conferees.

For additional registration information, as well as a conference schedule, event highlights, travel and accommodation information, and paper abstracts, go to the symposium's official Web site at

Media Contacts/Links:

The Cultural Politics of Ian Fleming and 007 -- Official Web site

IUB Department of English
Stephen Watt, 812-855-8225,
Edward Comentale, 812-855-1395,
Note: Watt is the chair of the symposium. Both he and Comentale will deliver presentations at the conference.

Lilly Library
Becky Cape, 812-855-3129,
Eric Bartheld, 812-856-4817,
Note: Cape is the head of reference and public services for the Lilly. She can discuss the contents of the library's Fleming exhibition.

Buskirk-Chumley Theater
Danielle McClelland, 812-323-3022,