Conference Call for Papers and Panels
June 9-10, 2022
Dr Shane O’Sullivan (Kingston University, London) and Dr Melissa Graves (Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, The Citadel) are pleased to announce a two-day online conference reflecting on the fiftieth anniversary of the Watergate break-in.
There has been a resurgence of interest in Watergate in recent years, with the revelations of the Mueller investigation and presidential impeachment hearings benchmarked against the historical nadir of political malfeasance, and each new scandal dubbed “worse than Watergate.” At the same time, new document releases have allowed scholars to probe the CIA’s internal history of Watergate and the backgrounds of the burglars and their associations with the Agency in unprecedented detail, and a new study of the FBI’s Watergate investigation has seen the Bureau’s lead investigators emerge from the shadow of Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting to reclaim key breakthroughs in the case for the Bureau’s investigation team.
Fifty years after the break-in, the surviving investigators and prosecutors still can’t understand why the burglars entered DNC headquarters on the evening of June 17, 1972; or how the experienced intelligence operatives in the break-in team made such elementary mistakes, resulting in their arrests and President Nixon’s resignation two years later.
While much has been written about the White House cover-up and the Nixon White House tapes, the stories of the burglars and the FBI investigation are less well-known, and the conference organisers aim to widen the scope of Watergate scholarship and explore some of the remaining mysteries of the case.
We welcome proposals for individual papers and pre-organised panels which reflect recent and emerging scholarship on subjects which might include: the White House Plumbers, the Fielding break-in, the Moorer-Radford Affair, the Gemstone Plan, the surveillance of anti-war protestors as a precursor to Watergate, the Watergate burglars, the Watergate break-ins, the first phase of the White House cover-up, the FBI and CIA investigations, Judge Sirica and the trial of the Watergate burglars in January 1973, the Watergate whistle-blowers, the impact of the Watergate investigation on the trial of Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, and the work of the Senate Watergate Committee and the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. We are also interested in proposals which explore the social and cultural impact of Watergate or other relevant areas.
Conference sessions will be 90 minutes long and comprise 3 x 20-minute presentations, followed by 30 minutes for questions/discussion. Proposals for pre-organized panel should include a moderator and three individual presentations. All presentations will be video recorded and made publicly available on the conference website. Selected papers may also be published.
The conference coincides with the release of a major new HBO series on the Watergate burglars, The White House Plumbers, and invited speakers will include historians, academics, published authors on the case and Watergate investigators.​​​​​​​
The proposal submission deadline is April 10, 2022. Please submit a 250-word abstract and short bio to If submitting a panel proposal, please include abstracts for each proposed presentation and short bios for each speaker. Thank you for your interest in participating in this conference.
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