MSAX: Modernism and Global Media: Vanderbilt University: November 13-16, 2008 Nashville TN
 

Calls for Panel and Roundtable Participants:

 

 

Deadline for Submission of full Panel Proposals: May 12, 2008

Deadline for Submission of full Roundtable Proposals: May 12, 2008

 

 

Here is a list of Panel and Roundtable Proposals.  Please contact the respective Panel and/or Roundtable organizers for more information. If you would like to post a Call for Participants, please e-mail your call to msax@vanderbilt.edu. Please include: title, short abstract, organizer contact, abstract requirements, and organizer's deadline.

 

Roundtable: Modernist Cinematic Geographies

Roundtable: Modernist Anthologies

Panel:  Networks of Late Modernism

Panel:  Modernism of Underdevelopment: Revolutionary Appropriations of Modernism in Latin American Cinema

Panel:  Modern Emergencies

Panel:  Photography, Modernism, Feminism

Panel:  Doing the Police in Modernist Voices

Panel:  W. B. Yeats and Irish Modernism

Panel:  The Grand Tour of Britain: Modernism’s (Multi)Mediations of Place

Panel:  “Crush the assholetters between the teeth”: The Grotesque and Modern Poetry

Panel:  "Interrogation, Confession, and Representation in Modernist Media"

Panel:  The Politicalization of the Spiritual, and the Spiritualization of the Political in the Avant-garde Poetic Text

Panel: Modernism, Media, and the Transnational Public Sphere

Panel:  Anti-Humanism in Modernism

Panel:  Hearing Disembodied Voices: Poetry, Sound, and the Rise of Recording Media

Panel:  Enthusiasm in Modernism: Avant-Gardes in Newly Established Central European States

Panel:  Language Poetry and the Mediation of Modernism

Panel:  Papier/papel/carta  (Modernism and Paper)

Panel: Primitivism and Its Discontents

Panel:  Modernism and Mediation

Panel: New World Literature, Modernism, and Diaspora: Why Call It Modernism?

Panel:  The Modernist Mediterranean

Panel:  Russian Modernisms in Transnational Perspective

Panel:  Modernism and the Postwar South

Panel: Cinematic Modernism and Medium Specificity

Panel: Translational Modernisms

Panel:  Modernism, Clothing, and Ornamentation

Panel: Modernisms and Visual Narrative

Panel:  Fraudulent Modernisms

Panel: Experimental Modernism and Queer Authorship

Panel: Modern Women Writing Travel

Panel: Modernist Ecologies

Panel:  Expatriate American Women Modernists Revisited

Panel:  International Modernism and the Global Plantation

Panel:  ‘Manufacturing Scandal: Oskar Kokoschka and the Marketing of Modernism’

Panel:  Writing it Like it Is: Observations from the Outposts

Panel:  Mobilization and Modernism: World War I and American Literature

Panel:  The Media of Modernist Performance

Panel:  Publishing Modernism

Panel:  Modernism and the Network Narrative

Panel:  Mystery and Detective Work in the Modernist Text

Panel:  Modernism and Pornography: The Work of Art in the Age of Obscenity

Panel:  Devolution of the Word?

Panel:  Reading the Other, Formulating the Self: Theorizing Mentoring in Modernity
Panel: Modernism and Humor

 

 

 

Roundtable: Modernist Cinematic Geographies

 

The question of modernist cinematic geographies opens new possibilities for how we spatialize modernism beyond particular national contexts, and for how form, genre, and the construction of place might frame and be framed by geographical knowledges within modernist media.  This roundtable seeks to bring together emerging critical frameworks that use geographical methodologies to consider film in relation to uneven flows of culture, transmission, translation, and appropriation and to traditional notions of national cinemas as well as transnational formations.  We are specifically interested in presentations that focus on the interplay of content with form and/or with the geographical conditions of film production, distribution, and consumption: presentations that consider, in other words, filmic geographies in relation to the "filminess" of film.  Production analyses, genre or style considerations, cultural studies research into filmic ties to historical forms of geographical knowledge, and theory-based approaches (Deleuzean, Rancierian, etc.) are all welcome.  These are all routes to considering the ways cinema may help us to develop a necessary sense of the expanded spatial distribution of modernist formations.

 

Please send 150-200 word abstracts and brief (2-3 sentence) bio by May 11 to

Rebecca Walsh (rawalsh@duke.edu) and Bart Keeton (bck2@duke.edu).

 

 

Roundtable: Modernist Anthologies

 

Anthologies bring together disparate texts under one title, theme, or rubric, implicitly arguing in favor of juxtaposition (or “aesthetic interaction,” as this year’s theme calls for) as a preferred literary mode. The anthology is often cited as a mechanism of canonization, for it declares its unique selection of texts both necessary and sufficient for its declared purpose, whatever that might be. Less frequently discussed, however, are the historically situated editorial judgments that, by including or excluding, categorizing, excerpting, abridging, or footnoting modernist texts, turned the genre of the anthology to more or less polemical ends. As a roundtable, this session aspires to bring together a wide variety of anthologies—literary, artistic, musical—to discuss not only in what forms and on what bases modernist works are anthologized, but also what “the modernist anthology” might mean as a generic label.

 

Possible topics include but are not limited to: ethnography and folk tale or folk song collections; anthologies and canonization; multi-generic anthologies or compilations; editorial discretion/indiscretions; nationalist or trans-national anthologies; the anthology vs. the museum exhibit; the anthology as manifesto or polemic; the role of a text or author in one anthology or across several.

 

Please send a 200-word abstract and brief (2-3 sentence) bio to Sarah Kerman at

skerman@sas.upenn.edu by April 30, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Networks of Late Modernism

 

Despite attempts to revisit our critical canons, the thirties remain the Auden Generation, as charted by Bergonzi, Hynes, and Cunningham. Yet, other groups and other movements have been repeatedly proposed to  broaden this perspective, ranging from the notion of Late Modernism, the New Apocalypse, the Neo-Romantics, and so forth.  This panel seeks to contextualize such debates through the literary and artistic networks of  the 1930s and the decade after the war, including how they developed both from and beside their high modernist forebears.  Proposals are particularly welcome on the artists whose careers were launched on the cusp of the war or in its aftermath, in many cases protracting their development or stifling recognition of vital and active international movements.

 

Potential topics might include but are not limited to

 

- poets of the New Apocalypse

- English Surrealism & the London Exhibition

- Late Modernism

- The Freedom Press & Anarchist networks

- Theatre of the Absurd

- The Villa Seurat, Circle, and the Black Mountain poets

- Scandinavian Modernisms

- Mediterranean Modernisms

- the Cairo Poets of WWII (and North Africa)

- "Where are the War Poets?": WWII

- the Scottish Renaissance

- Poetry London and Fitrovia

- the Freedom Defence Committee

 

Global, international, or inter-cultural approaches to artistic networks

are particularly encouraged, although networks or movements centred on

individuals, specific locations, and events are also welcome.

 

Please send a short abstract (maximum one page, double spaced) and brief

scholarly biography (2-3 sentences) to James Gifford (gifford@uvic.ca)

by 10 May 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Modernism of Underdevelopment: Revolutionary

Appropriations of Modernism in Latin American Cinema

 

We are soliciting papers for two related panels that explore the ways in which politically-committed filmmakers in Latin America deploy and reinterpret modernist theories and practices (e.g., Soviet montage, Italian neo-realism, Brechtian alienation effects, and Godardian pastiche) as means of political transformation and as expressions of aesthetic interrogation.

 

Through this exploration, these panels seek to reconstruct a transnational history of the political valences of cinematic modernism in the 1960s and 1970s by examining its artistic and theoretical dialogues, both transnationally (between Europe/Soviet Russia and Latin America) and transgenerationally (the 1960s turning to the 1920s for example).  Drawing on the legacies of the international avant-gardes, Third Cinema filmmakers in the 1960s and 1970s conceived of cinema as a transformational social practice. Their films strive to expose the socio-political relations that generate underdevelopment and dependency while also indicating the potential for change within those structures. In order to achieve this objective, these filmmakers search for aesthetic forms and production methods that are appropriate to the unique histories, economic conditions and political environments of their nation-states. As Robert Stam points out in "Beyond Third Cinema: The aesthetics of hybridity," many of these Third Cinema filmmakers develop aesthetics that involve "negation of the negation." Living in countries with a colonial past, these filmmakers have seen their nations' histories appropriated, misrepresented and/or subordinated. As a result, they have been obliged to recreate their past - and imagine their future - out of the scraps, remnants and debris of history. These "hand-me-down aesthetics and history making" express an art of discontinuity that incorporates diverse styles, time periods and materials. This bricolage approach allows these filmmakers to revalorize by inversion what had been perceived as negative within the colonialist discourses of their countries. It also allows them to deploy the force of dominant aesthetic and political forms against existing structures of domination (Stam 36, 32).

 

Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief academic bio to sarah.l.childress@vanderbilt.edu by Friday, May 9.

 

 

Panel:  Modern Emergencies
 
This panel seeks papers that theorize any textual inscription of emergency in the modern moment, but is most especially interested in projects that examine how emergencies activate state-based, communal, or individual violence that re-defines the limits of the modern nation.  Papers should stress the mediation of violent emergence and the emergency moment via literature, film, photography, painting, journalism, or performance.  Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following questions:  What are modernism’s emergencies and how do we understand their importance to thinking “the modern” in a cosmopolitan, rural, regional, national, or global context? How do emerging literary, artistic, cultural, and political forms convey the time and place of emergency, and to what affect?  How do modern writers and artists represent class-based, racial, ethnic, gendered, or sexual emergencies? Might we consider modernism to be its own kind of emergency?
 
Please send one-page single-spaced abstract and brief (2-3 sentence bio) to Chuck Jackson at jacksonchar@uhd.edu by May 6, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Photography, Modernism, Feminism

 In her essay "From Clementina to Kasebier: The Photographic Attainment of the 'Lady Amateur,'" art historian Carol Armstrong argues that photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Lady

Hawarden Clementina, and Gertrude Kasebier took astute advantage of photography's low place on art's hierarchical scales to assert themselves as artists. The work of these women, therefore, indirectly calls attention to the relationship between photography and the emergence of feminism in the U.S. and Britain in the nineteenth- and early twentieth- centuries. This panel seeks to bring modernist literature composed by women into the relationship between transatlantic feminism and photographic practice.  We hope to address how women writers drew from photography's image repertoire to assert, subvert, or otherwise engage modernist debates about art and politics, and more particularly, the various ways in which gender inflects or subtends these debates.  Working beyond the attempt to match or juxtapose pieces of literature with particular photographs, we seek to explore how photography, referred to as "light writing" in the nineteenth century, offers new ways to interpret the modernist literature produced by women.  Papers could examine the work of an individual writer or could compose a theoretical and/or historical exploration of the panel's key terms.

 

Please send 300 word proposal and a short biographical statement to klamm@pratt.edu and thaine.stearns@sonoma.edu by May 7th

 

 

Panel:  Doing the Police in Modernist Voices

This panel explores the role of the police, spies, detectives, and other agents of surveillance or discipline in modernist media (literary, visual, film, or radio).  Questions to address might include (but are not limited to):

--How do surveillance, investigation, interrogation, incarceration, or other policing techniques (from criminal profiling to panopticism to fingerprinting) speak to modernist concerns or techniques?

--How do ostensibly legal modes of discipline relate to the extralegal or counter-legal (Conrad’s remark that “the terrorist and the policeman both come from the same basket”)?

--How does discipline operate in an imperial context—whether in relation to local, indigenous agents or through figures of metropolitan order?  (We might think of Woolf’s bobby, farcically “directing the traffic of ’Er Majesty’s Empire”; the practice of martial law; the ambivalent place of the Royal Irish Constabulary; or Orwell’s troubled service in the Indian Police.)

--How do questions of gender and sexuality complicate the traditionally masculine figure of the detective (e.g., Britain’s uneasy incorporation of women police starting in World War I)?

Work from all geographies and genres is welcome.  Please send a 200-350 word abstract and brief scholarly bio or CV to Kate Merz (mkmerz@wisc.edu) by May 10.

 

Panel:  W. B. Yeats and Irish Modernism

 

This panel will focus on WBY's work and life from the perspective of a specifically Irish modernism. I'm interested in papers that would explore any facet of his work and any stage of the career. Of particular relevance would be papers treating WBY's involvement in modernist cultural projects centered in Ireland (e.g., theatre movements, "little magazines" and so on) and the Irish dimension of projects that have their locus or impact outside of Ireland (e.g., WBY's dramatic productions in England, his connections with Indian writers, his friendship with Ezra Pound). Also of interest would be rereadings of "high modernist" works from an Irish perspective.

 

If you think you might be interested in the panel, send a short abstract  (no more than 200 words) and brief (3-4 sentence) note about yourself to Gregory Castle at dedalus@asu.edu by May 10.

 

 

Panel:  The Grand Tour of Britain: Modernism’s (Multi)Mediations of Place

 

In his 2007 Novels, Maps, Modernity, Eric Bulson argues that modernism engages in an “oriented disorientation” that can transform reading into an experience of exile and alienation.  Similarly, in Unknowing: The Work of Modernist Fiction (2005), Philip Weinstein uses Freud’s articulation of the uncanny to posit that modernist fictions present us with spaces that are dysfunctional for both protagonists and readers.  While many accounts of modernist displacement are founded upon experiences of metropolitan, transnational, or cosmopolitan mobility, this panel explores how the multiple media of modernism help to render uncanny the heimlich spaces of Great Britain. We propose that the dysfunctional topographies of modernity "at home" both engaged and challenged a multimedia modernism that includes film, image, map, and guidebook.  Rather than claiming such disorientation as a purely textual event, this panel examines how and why modernist and modernist-influenced cultural producers appropriated or juxtaposed media to effect reorientations in the "green and pleasant land." We are especially interested in how these works both produce and dislocate a sense of place-based collective identity—local, regional, or national—for readers and viewers. 

 

This panel welcomes work that engages with forms of media including (though not limited to) film, visual arts, architecture, and maps and charts. Please send paper abstracts (200-300 words) and a brief scholarly biography to Eve Sorum (eve.sorum@umb.edu) and Jon Hegglund (hegglund@wsu.edu) by May 5th.

 

 

Panel:  “Crush the assholetters between the teeth”: The Grotesque and Modern Poetry

 

The concept of the grotesque was invented in Italy in the fifteenth century to describe the obscene pictures of half-humans, half-beasts ornamenting the old Roman imperial palace. Since this discovery, the grotesque has fascinated and threatened purveyors of culture. This is perhaps especially true of the twentieth century, when the grotesque played an important part of much avant-garde activity – the Dadaists wore animal masks in Cabaret Voltaire, Franz Kafka’s Gregor turned into a bug, Antonin Artaud strove toward a “body without organs. The grotesque became political, not just for the avant-garde but for theorists like Mikhail Bakthin, who saw in the grotesque a challenge to the bourgeois ego.

 

Strangely, not much has as of yet been written on this important element of modern literature. This is especially true of its influence on modern poetry. Part of the obstacle to academic study of the grotesque may be its insistently anti-classical, anti-academic character. It is hard to define the grotesque. Like the people-beast hybrids of the original Roman ornamentations, the grotesque is constantly permutating in order to continue to oppose norms and conventions. It is always excessive.

 

The permutative element is also important to the formal features of the works: The comic mingles with the horrific, high culture becomes low culture, low culture becomes mythical, different media interact. Ultimately the very language of the poems seem to permutate: Metaphors are literalized, words are deformed. In his study of Henri Michaux, Henri Michaux: Unity in Multiplicity, Per Bäckström argues that the result in poetry is a kind of “language grotesque,” a language that is constantly changing and contorting.

 

This panel will focus on exploring the importance of the grotesque in modern poetry, as well as furthering our notion of what this constantly shifting, slippery concept of the grotesque means. In keeping with the theme of the conference, the panel will have a decidedly international, transnational focus, exploring the work of writers who move between language and culture. Perhaps more importantly, the panel will suggest the ways that the grotesque is closely involved with in the crossing of lingual, artistic and cultural boundaries, finding the grotesque in the unruly, dynamic mess that is “global media.”

 

Please email an abstract and cv to Johannes Goransson (johannesgoransson@gmail.com) and Per Backström (per.backstrom@hum.uit.no) by May 5th.

 

 

Panel:  "Interrogation, Confession, and Representation in Modernist Media"

Papers will explore scenes of interrogation and confession in modernist film, literature, and/or visual/digital media. Provoked in part by debates emerging from the global War on Terror, scholars are investigating with new urgency the violent methods used to bring forth both discursive and embodied "intelligence." Interrogation is, in part, a human rights issue, but it also raises questions about how we understand modern embodiment and subjectivity, power and knowledge, textuality/orality and testimony, meaningful confession and language that carries false or unintended meanings. As such, the problem of interrogation opens new possibilities for how we contextualize modernism, within and beyond particular national contexts, and for how modernist media might stage aesthetic and/or ethical interventions through representation.

Proposals may address the following questions: Through what techniques do police, military, or other investigating powers seek to extract knowledge? How do such techniques change in the modernist period and what continuities might be drawn with older conceptions? How have specific interrogation methods and/or confessional discourses emerged in national (American, Irish, Russian, Latin American, African) or transnational/extranational contexts? How have these been represented textually, visually, and otherwise – and what are the ethical and aesthetic considerations of such representations? What do specific scenes of interrogation tell us about modern conceptions of subjectivity and embodied consciousness? How might we connect the problem of interrogation to interpretive problems in the critical study of modernist media? Papers drawing on the theoretical work of Elaine Scarry, Allen Feldman, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Talal Assad especially welcome.

Send 350-word abstracts and 100-word scholarly bios by May 2 to Casey Jarrin (cjarrin@macalester.edu) and Caleb Smith  (caleb.smith@yale.edu).

 

 

Panel:  The Politicalization of the Spiritual, and the Spiritualization of the Political in the Avant-garde Poetic Text

 

In response to predominant critical practices that generally treat the modernist and postmodernist poetic text as either participating in political/social statements or spiritual/mystical endeavors, this panel will explore texts that seek either to undermine any presumed opposition or to forge a path for reconciliation between these two critical directions.  This panel will proceed with the supposition that this dichotomy is a construction built out of an increasing tendency toward secularism and a distrust of reified and politicized religious structures. From this, we will attempt to map out a trajectory of the reinscription of language in avant-garde twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetic texts that attempt in some way to reveal the complexity of the individual identity in relationship to both tendencies—relationships that vacillate between being distinct from each other and also tangled and mutually dependent. In doing so, this panel hopes to show methods by which the individual artist has come to employ alternate linguistic, rhetorical, and poetic practices as a means of reconstituting the dialectic between the politicized and the spiritualized identity. The purpose of this investigation will be to probe the increasingly complex relationships with which the individual identity must negotiate and reconcile—namely, with the ever more pervasive economic, political, and religious structures; with the individual desire to participate in a spiritual-mystical experience; and with the individual’s need to maintain a sense of coherent and autonomous selfhood in the face of the former relationships. More importantly, through this panel’s series of presentations, we will study how individual writers have navigated these relationships over the course of the twentieth century, and how this navigation is continued in today’s contemporary poetic texts.
Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief scholarly bio to Josephine Mariea at jpmariea@buffalo.edu by May 4, 2008.  

 

 

Panel: Modernism, Media, and the Transnational Public Sphere

 

This panel invites proposals which theorize modernism’s relationship to the public sphere in transnational and diasporic contexts. 

 

Possible questions that a paper might address include, but are not limited to the following:

1) How have the formal innovations of modernism invited or resisted publicity?  In other words, how does modernist art/literature anticipate and mediate its own reception beyond national confines?

3) What roles have institutions (e.g. publishing houses, periodicals, universities, radio/tv/film companies) played in producing, distributing, and fashioning modernism for various publics?

4) How has modernism commented upon historical or current debates within the international public sphere (e.g. patriotism during wartime, imperial decline, postcolonial nation-building, black internationalism, etc.)

5) Do modernism and public intellectualism mix?

 

This panel welcomes approaches to modernism from all geographic and generic backgrounds. 

 

Please send a 200-300 word abstract and 2-3 sentence scholarly bio to Aarthi Vadde (vadde@wisc.edu) by May 3.

 

 

Panel:  Anti-Humanism in Modernism
 
Anti-humanism is a philosophy that questions the legacy of the Enlightenment and interrogates assumptions of human agency.  This panel will focus on the connections between and even co-emergence of literary modernism and philosophical anti-humanism.  How did the modernist encounters with Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx or the early modernist thought of T.E. Hulme set the stage for the anti-humanism associated more readily with French philosophy of the 1960s?  If, as recent scholarship on anti-humanism has argued, narrative is implicitly humanist, then what literary forms did the modernists fashion or re-fit to engage with and express this philosophy?  Papers may treat both canonical and non-canonical modernists, and an emphasis on literary form is especially welcome.  Some possibilities include identifying particular genres as affiliated with anti-humanism, drawing connections between anti-humanism and animal studies through modernist texts, or comparisons between modernist poetry and prose as displaying different anti-humanist modes. In general, the aim of this panel is to open a wider discussion about one aspect of modernism’s theory about itself.

Please send a 300 word abstract and a brief scholarly biography (2-3 sentences) to Liz Kuhn (ehk113@psu.edu) by May 1, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Hearing Disembodied Voices: Poetry, Sound, and the Rise of Recording Media

 

A small yet steady flow of critical materials treating the relationship of poetry to sonic media has continued to appear in the related fields of poetics and modernist studies. However, a sufficient understanding of the full impact of the emergence of sound recording media on poetic practice has yet to be attained.

 

From its inception, Edison and other innovators in sound recording conceived of their new medium as having the capacity to record and preserve the voices of statesmen, opera singers, and poets long after their deaths. From this beginning, sound recording is quickly taken up by the nascent culture industry as a form of entertainment. By the 1930s, however, sound recording media are once again in use as a means of preserving the voices of poets, as the rich store of audio files the Pennsound online archive contains will attest. The history of early recorded sound as a sort of ghostly double of modernist poetry is an emerging field of inquiry that will yield new understandings of poetry’s relationship to popular media as they were configured and gained prominence throughout the modernist period.

 

Critical approaches may include, but are not limited to, the co-optation of radio broadcast by poets, the relationship of poetry to recordings of popular music, the analogy between poetry and devices for transcribing sound, sound recording’s ability to render vocal features as auditory cues of race and social status in poetry, and the correlation between the early development of sound/performance-based poetry and recording technology.

 

Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief scholarly bio to jparks4@buffalo.edu by May 5, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Enthusiasm in Modernism: Avant-Gardes in Newly Established Central European States

 

The independence that many central European states regained after the First World War was welcomed by some as a miracle and fulfillment of romantic ideals and by others as the end of a nightmare and a chance for new prospects to develop. The most enthusiastically awaited, though, was the advance of new artistic phenomena which were an expression of the highly anticipated independence. The panel welcomes proposals that consider the attempts to redefine the Central European cultural identity within a greater European context after long years of foreign domination, by means of intermingling of the uniquely native trends with Western European tendencies. In many cases the movements, while following Western ideas also incorporated vernacular culture which provided an ideological ground along with enthusiasm for the authentically national past, as manifested by e.g. Yugoslavian Zenitism with its symbolic figure of Barbarogenious. Firmly rooted in its newly reestablished nationalities, these movements established a far-reaching network of international contacts, hence many western influences were not infrequent. In Prague, for instance the bazaar of avant-garde art held in November 1923 indicated increased connections with Dadaism and Purism. Similarly the First Zenit International Exhibition of New Art in Belgrade in 1924, introduced the Yugoslav public to the works of the international avant-garde, as did the First Contimporanul International Exhibition in Bucharest also in 1924. The direct impulse for the Romanian capital to stage the avant-garde exhibition Facla (Torch) was Marinetti’s visit to Bucharest in 1930. The contribution of many leading European avant-gardists such as Tzara, Leger, Marinetti, Le Corbusier and Malevich to Central European journals, including a Polish magazine Zwrotnica, only fortified cross-boundary affinities. The Belgrade Surrealist Group established contacts and co-operation with Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon and Andre Thirion, the highlight of which was the publication of a distinctive interdisciplinary book of Serbian Surrealism, Nemoguce-L’impossible in 1930. Finally, the collaboration of Central European magazines such as e.g. Yugoslavian Zenit, Hungarian Ma, Romanian Contimporanul, Polish Blok and Bulgarian Plamk showed increased awareness of Central European culture being part of a greater European identity.

 

Possible issues for consideration include, but are not limited to the following: The Estonian Artists’ Group embracing Cubism and Constructivism led by Jaan Vahtra; Riga Artists’ Group; Kairiukstis and Vladas Drema’s contribution to Lithuanian modernism, the Society of Independent Artists and ARS group, Four Winds group; Polish Futurism; Ukrainian Futurism, proletarian art, Valerian Polishchuk’s avant-garde, The New Generation Kharkiv Constructivism, Ukrainian Panfuturism; Hungarian Activism, The Pecs Artists’ Circle led by architect Farkas Molnar, Palasovszky’s Green Donkey Theatre, the Bauhaus; Devetsil movement led by Karel Teige, Poetic Naivism; Czech Poetism; Georgian Futurism, The Futurist Syndicate led by Aleksei Kruchenykh and the Zdanevich brothers, and a group Forty-One Degrees; Yugoslavian Zenitism, with its idea of barbarism; Belgrade Surrealists; Malevich’s UNOVIS;

 

Please send a 200-word abstract and a brief scholarly biography by May 5 to Dominika Buchowska at dominika@ifa.amu.edu.pl.

 

 

Panel:  Language Poetry and the Mediation of Modernism

In its critique and/or expansion of referentiality, its engagement with critical theory and skepticism toward metanarratives, Language Poetry is obviously and often self-consciously postmodern. At the same time, Barrett Watten has claimed that Language Poetry is “a species of modernism in the largest sense,” and it is clear that much of that work evokes and continues other modernist tendencies, especially those present in the texts of Stein, Zukofsky, and Khlebnikov.

This panel seeks to investigate the ways in which Language Poetry has interpreted, critiqued or reworked various modernist projects. Send abstracts and a brief CV to Bill Freind at freind@rowan.edu and Tom Orange at tmorange@gmail.com by May 1.

 


Panel:  Papier/papel/carta  (Modernism and Paper)

 

I am seeking proposals for a panel that examines paper as a global medium of modernism.  How did the (venerable, changing, ubiquitous) medium shape modernist experiment?  Recycled and scrapped, gilded and pulp, material of design and bureaucratic function -- how does thinking about paper (as material, commodity, or object of representation) alter our understanding of modernism’s media and its mediated globalism?  Please send 200-word proposals and brief bio to zemgulys@umich.edu (Andrea Zemgulys) by 5 May 2008.

 

 

Panel: Primitivism and Its Discontents

 

In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud is critical of those who dream of returning to a primitive state before civilization.  For Freud, it is civilization rather than a primitive idyll that promises a healthy binding together of a community; admittedly, civilization has also produced the ingredients of its own potential downfall, but it is only through curing civilization that some semblance of an “oceanic feeling” associated with the primitive might be achieved.

 

In this panel, we propose to interrogate the possibilities and limitations of primitivism as a trope for making sense of the encounter between so-called western and non-western cultures.  Like the concept of civilization, primitivism has sustained considerable critique but has also proved remarkably tenacious.  While it emerged as a western strategy of appropriation, it has often been re-imagined as a site of resistance and subversion. Moreover, as Victor Li argues in The Neo-primitivist Turn, even those most critical of primitivism themselves fall into its traps, as if it is impossible to theorize the self without recourse to primitivism – although perhaps now under the name alterity, pre-rationalized lifeworld, etc.  How should we assess the persistent fascination with and distrust of primitivism?  How should we go about the historical project of assessing modernist primitivism – with what measures of condemnation or defense?

 

Topics might include but are in no way limited to primitivism as it plays out in literature, film, dance, music, and the visual arts.  Investigations of primitivism both from European and non-European perspectives are welcome.

 

Please send a 1-page abstract and CV to Prita Meier at prita.meier@jhu.edu and to Bibiana Obler at bobler@jhu.edu by April 30.

 

 

Panel:  Modernism and Mediation

 

This panel seeks proposals for papers that explore methodological questions related to mediation and reflexivity in recent scholarship on modernism.  In the late 1970s, the concept of mediation was fundamental to the programmatic critiques initiated by Raymond Williams and Fredric Jameson of the relations between object, research, and discipline. For each of these critiques, the notion of mediation was instrumental in challenging the autonomy of academic disciplines and, albeit differently, helped to usher in the age of cultural studies.

 

Recent scholarship -- including Lawrence Rainey’s Institutions of Modernism, the Modernist Journals Project, and the renewed attention to material textuality and genetic criticism -- has approached the phenomenon of mediation in a more immediate or literal way, and has productively brought forward a new field of concerns for modernist study ("material modernisms").  In light of this work, this panel aims to ask what can be gained by re-examining the theoretical concept of mediation in a sociological register, in relation, for example, to Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive account of method and institution.  At stake, perhaps, is the orientation of scholarship to cultural formations positioned between the categories of aesthetic production and reception.

 

The panel welcomes proposals that make such explorations through the example of a particular object of research.  Areas of particular interest include:

            * libraries, archives, anthologies, and collections

            * circulation, publishing, editing, reviewing, and advertising

            * technologies of inscription, storage, and dissemination

           

Send 150-200 word abstracts and brief scholarly biography by May 1 to Jeremy Braddock at jb358@cornell.edu.

 

 

Panel: New World Literature, Modernism, and Diaspora: Why Call It Modernism?

 

The new world literature as a residual form of modernism threatens to displace the category of the postmodern in the contemporary age.  This panel will address issues of transnational and transtemporal modernism, specifically as they articulate visions of diaspora, non-normative or queer sexualities, matriliny, and globality. What are the stakes in encompassing contemporary works--in particular by non-western or "off-Western" authors--under the rubric of transnational modernism? How do questions of genre and cultural translation intersect with issues of non-normative forms of diaspora and transnationalism?  Please send a 350-word abstract and 1-2 sentence scholarly bio by May 1st to octaviorgonzalez@gmail.com.

 

 

Panel:  The Modernist Mediterranean
 
“The Mediterranean of the Modernists is in turmoil, aesthetically, and politically; no longer, or not solely, a culture or a humanity to be consumed on location or at home, but a source of debate, ideas and forms[…], a culture addressed in its bewildering diversity and linguistic wealth; not a promised land nor a necropolis, but a laboratory and a workshop.” (Caroline Patey, Foreword to Anglo-American Modernity and the Mediterranean
).
 
This panel seeks to explore representations of the Mediterranean (Southern Europe and North Africa) in various modernist traditions. Which characterizations of the Mediterranean underlie modernist tropes? How do modernist representations of the Mediterranean inform imaginative conceptions of the genealogy of colonial Europe and of its modernity? What role do such configurations of the region play in the articulation and complication of responses to modern experiences of race, gender, and cross-cultural encounters in a colonial context? Papers examining modernist aesthetics in relation to the development of European national and colonial projects will be especially welcome. Papers may examine Euro-American (Anglophone and non-Anglophone) forms of modernism or Mediterranean responses to these configurations.
 
Please send 250-word abstracts and a short biographical note to Edwige Tamalet Talbayev at etamalet@ucsd.edu by May 5th.

 

 

Panel:  Russian Modernisms in Transnational Perspective
 
John Reed prefaces Ten Days That Shook the World
, his journalistic account of the Russian Revolution, by calling it “a slice of intensified history.”  Inviting papers on any aspect of Russian modernism, this slice of MSA X seeks to intensify our scrutiny of the dynamics of literature and culture in early twentieth-century Russia, their global influences and reverberations, and their status within the field of modernist studies today.  Comparative considerations of Russian literature, visual art, and film are especially welcome.  Potential topics include the circulation of Russian texts and persons within and outside Europe, movements such as Futurism and Contructivism in context with other modernist movements, readings and reportage of the Russian Revolution from up close or various distances, propaganda and its afterlives, and philosophical and theoretical incorporations and disseminations.

Please send 250-500 word abstract and brief CV to Mia L. McIver (mmciver@uci.edu) by May 5th, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Modernism and the Postwar South
 
In After Southern Modernism
(2000), Matthew Guinn notes that southern writers of the last thirty years have made a decisive break with the traditions and politics of 1930s Southern Renascence modernism.  They are best understood, he argues, through their discontinuity rather than continuity with the region and cultures labeled as the South.  This description suggests that there is no transitional moment between Renascence modernism and southern postmodernism.  But what of the intervening postwar generation of Southern writers and intellectuals?  Of them, Guinn says they exhibit “attenuated modernist techniques” that “tenuously” maintain the traditions of the Renascence.

This panel seeks to investigate modernism(s) of the postwar South.  Key postwar figures associated with the South were in some ways turning their interests elsewhere during this period:  John Crowe Ransom’s Kenyon Review became nationally and internationally influential during this time.  William Faulkner published A Fable (1954), which takes place in World War I France and wins national critical acclaim in the form of his first Pulitzer Prize.  The New Criticism, driven by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren among others, took literature departments by storm.  Moreover, the anti-communism common among southern intellectuals became an asset to U.S. political interests in the early years of the Cold War, and as Leigh Anne Duck explains in The Nation’s Region (2006), “the idea of a distinct southern identity became popular among national elites as a ballast for an increasingly conformist and progress-oriented nation.”  Does this South, constructed as a rampart from which to defend a national culture from consumerism and communism, comport with the Renascence modernism?  If the late 1940s and 1950s are not an extension of Renascence modernism, what kind of modernism becomes prevalent, then?  Are the formalist projects of the Agrarians-turned-New Critics an indicator of late modernism?  Could postwar modernism or Cold War modernism be used to describe these developments in southern culture?  And how could these modernisms be helpful in understanding perceived “southern” influences in popular culture, such as rock ‘n’ roll and country music, television, and film during this time? 

Papers investigating modernism(s) in any aspect or form of postwar southern culture, especially at its intersections with national or global cultures, are welcome. 
 
Please send proposed paper titles, 350-word abstracts, and a brief (2-3 sentence) scholarly biography to Jordan Dominy at jjdominy@ufl.edu by May 1, 2008. 

 

 

Panel: Cinematic Modernism and Medium Specificity

 

The last ten years have seen a resurgence of critical interest in the interpenetrations of modernism and cinema, with the publication of Laura Marcus’s _The Tenth Muse_ (2007), Susan McCabe’s _Cinematic Modernism_ (2005), David Trotter’s _Cinema and Modernism_ (2007), and a collection of essays from the modernist journal _Close Up_ (1998). This criticism has produced new readings of modernist writing about film and collaborations with filmmakers. At the same time, it has also resurrected a provocative and highly contested argument: that some modernist literature functions “like” film, and is thematically, formally, or structurally “cinematic.” Critics continue to find analytical power in this strategy, using it to explain negation in Maurice Blanchot, consciousness in Henry James, rhythm in Gertrude Stein, point of view in Virginia Woolf, and displacement in Jean Toomer. However, this analogical or homological move has been maligned for neglecting the specificity of literary and filmic media, as material artifacts and as particular cultural, social, and institutional constructions.  Trotter, for example, calls such analogical criticism “more of a rhetorical maneuver than an argument.”

 

There is new urgency for critics of modernism to rethink the relationship between filmic and literary media in the first half of the twentieth century.  With the continuing emergence of new forms of digital media and “intermedial” experimentation in our own historical moment, the very category of the medium has been rendered deeply problematic, perhaps even untenable. Modernist scholarship will be driven to rethink the nature of the medium in the modernist era in order to participate in new or renewed critical conversations about indexicality, new media, medium specificity, and intermedia. This panel will present new readings of cinematic modernism in literature and film and critical reflections on the aesthetic, theoretical, and institutional stakes of the very category.

 

Possible topics include:

reconsidering “montage”

indexicality, embodiment, immediacy, or materiality

point of view, the close up, and slow motion

 

Please send 300 word abstracts and 2-3 sentence scholarly bio by May 3 to

Heather Fielding at fielding@fas.harvard.edu.

 

 

Panel: Translational Modernisms


This panel seeks to explore the relationship between modernism and translation. Rather than considering translations of modernist texts, however, I hope to gather papers together which examine translational processes within individual texts. Many modernist writers also worked as translators and/or self-translators, and I would be particularly interested in papers that explore the relationship between such work and ‘original’ creative outputs, although papers that explore translational modernism more broadly would also be of interest. How do modernist writers make use of translational processes for representational purposes, e.g. to represent dialogue that we understand to have occurred in another language?  If a writer has chosen to write in a language other than his/her mother tongue, to what extent might their style be deemed ‘translational’? What translational techniques and effects are used by modernist writers to defamiliarise language? How is interlingual contact and/or transfer represented within modernist texts? How do translational effects relate to modernist cosmopolitanism and/or transnationalism?
 
Please send a 300 word abstract and brief scholarly bio to Juliette Taylor-Batty (j.taylor-batty@leedstrinity.ac.uk) by 2 May.

 

 

Panel:  Modernism, Clothing, and Ornamentation

Since modernism is by now well established as a multimedia affair which occurred in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, the visual arts, the plastic arts, advertising, etc., an important element of future modernist scholarship will be the exploration of insufficiently theorized modes of modernist expression.  To this end, this panel seeks to expand current understandings of the importance of clothing, ornamentation, and other forms of bodily decoration to modernist art and culture.  Many modernist writers (Woolf, Wharton, Egerton, Rhys, etc.) show concern for and attention to issues raised by clothing and the way people dress.  Meanwhile, many modernist theorists–from Worringer, who discusses ornamentation as a culture's original artistic outlet, to Veblen, who analyzes the economic and aesthetic role of clothing in the social semiotics of the leisure class–were engaged in interrogating the significance of decorating the body.  And on the cultural front, arguments about the New Woman were sometimes fought in the arena of fashion–what was appropriate and inappropriate for a woman to wear–at the same time as William Morris refashioned European ideas of clothing through the Arts and Crafts movement.  In the performing arts, companies such as the Ballet Russes were experimenting with costume design as an integral part of their aesthetic.

The purpose of this panel will be to explore connections between theories, discussions, depictions, and practices of clothing and ornamentation–especially in the context of economics, gender, and sexuality.  Possible topics include (but are not limited to) clothing and the New Woman, Thorstein Veblen on clothing, clothing in the Arts and Crafts movement, shopping for dresses in Edith Wharton’s fiction, or costumes and the performing arts.

Please send 150-300 word abstracts and a brief (2-3 sentences) scholarly biography to Peter Collins (pec133@psu.edu) no later than April 30th, 2008.

 

 

Panel: Modernisms and Visual Narrative
Techniques and effects in visual narratives that rely partly or wholly on images: drawings, paintings, markings, diagrams, sketches, maps, symbols.  Any genre.
-         Creation
-         Transformation
-         Realization
-         Adaptation
-         Publication
-         Misappropriation
 
Please send one-page abstract and brief bio to Elizabeth Lyman at elyman@fas.harvard.edu by May 1.

 

 

Panel:  Fraudulent Modernisms


From the first Impressionist exhibition to today, modern artistic production has had a fraught relationship with fraud and aesthetic concepts undergirding fraud, such as authenticity, sincerity, and intent. For the 2008 Modernist Studies Association conference in Nashville, I am looking for papers on fraudulent modernism, broadly conceived, as well as papers that consider individual frauds. Possible questions to consider include:
What part has fraud played in the reception histories of modernism?
What is the relationship between modernism and fraud? Fraud and parody?
Does a high value placed on aesthetic originality encourage fraud? Do frauds arise in times of aesthetic instability? Do forgeries?
How does fraudulent modernism challenge/redirect an aesthetics based on sincerity? Are there useful ways to think of insincerity as a positive aesthetic value?
Does intent matter?
In what way does modernism’s engagement with fraud impinge upon its ethics?
How do individual instances and forms of fraud (such as bogus memoirs, sell-outs, and parodies) recast some of these questions?
What is the relationship between modernist fraud and mass culture?
Send 250-word abstracts by April 28 to Len Diepeveen at: leonard.diepeveen@dal.ca.  

 

 

Panel: Experimental Modernism and Queer Authorship

 

This panel looks to consider the range of ways that writing by queers (figured broadly against reproductive heteronormativity, rather than as homosexuality exclusively) engage with the question of literary experimentation in the first half of the twentieth century. Most directly, in the terms of the panel's title, how do conflicts over aesthetic and sexual norms imbricate in writers' negotiations of authorial personas? To what extent is experimental modernism, in its resistance to formal norms, a necessarily queer project? What are the limits of this conceptual overlap? When do queers find formal experimentation useful, and why might they find themselves resisting aesthetic modernism for more traditional or popular genres?

 

Please send a one page abstract and brief scholarly bio (2-3 sentences) to Daniel Tracy (dtracy@uiuc.edu) by May 2, 2008.

 

 

Panel: Modern Women Writing Travel

Women writing travel increases dramatically in the modern age. This seminar investigates the role of modernity in women’s travel literature. Virginia Woolf asserts that a woman must have a room of her own as well as money of her own in order to write. Modern women travel and find rooms of their own in an international landscape. Women write for popular publication, keep diaries, journal, and write about their characters traveling in their fiction. Paper topics might include (but are not limited to) genre theory, self-discovery narrative, travel literature as political narrative and/or propaganda, mobility and class, tourism, and the “new woman.”

Please send 350—500 word abstract and brief (5-6 sentences) scholarly biography to Jane M. Wood at jane.wood@park.edu by May 1st.

 

Panel: Modernist Ecologies
 
Douglas Mao has argued that modernism is “foundationally ecological” in its concern with the material object as a “synecdoche of endangered nature.” In recent years, a number of scholars have begun to examine modernist writers’ complex engagements with nature, environment, the animal, or the object-world. Yet modernism’s ecologies, like its politics, are embedded in the contradictions of its time in complex ways that have yet to be fully explored; and the importance of ecology in literary modernism has yet to be fully recognized—as indicated by the absence of a chapter on the subject in handbooks like the recent Cambridge Companion to American Modernism.
 
This panel seeks to deepen our understanding of modernist “ecology” and its relationship to the forms of ecological thinking practiced by scientists, environmentalists, or environmental scholars (historians, philosophers, theorists, ecocritics) during the modernist period and/or in our current moment. How do modernist texts corroborate, complicate, or challenge scientific or popular ecological thinking, and vice versa? How can environmental history and green cultural theory enrich our understanding or sharpen our critique of modernist cultural production? Can one generalize about modernist ecology, or do different regional, national, or transnational modernisms offer different ecological perspectives?  Given that technological modernism has contributed to what one recent book calls a “globalization of environmental crisis,” what value do modernist ecologies have for environmentalism now?

Please send a one-page abstract and brief (100-word) author bio to Anne Raine (araine@uottawa.ca) by April 30th, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Expatriate American Women Modernists Revisited

 

Twenty-two years after the publication of Shari Benstock’s landmark study, Women of the Left Bank, this panel proposes, following the conference theme, “Modernism and Global Media,” to reconsider the role of expatriate American women in modernist culture and to reexamine the transnational nature of modernism.  Papers dealing with all genres are welcome, including, but not limited to, film, music, journalism, literature, and visual art.  While presenters need neither refer to Benstock nor center discussion on Paris, they should reach beyond individual works to address larger issues concerning women and modernity.  Papers should present something more than innovative readings of particular texts.  Of particular interest are presentations not limited to questions of gender and sexuality that analyze women’s cultural production in such contexts as colonialism, race relations, geography, sexology, the ascendancy of fascism in Europe, and war.  Also of interest are analyses crossing national boundaries and the boundaries between genres. 

 

Please send abstracts of 500 words to Merrill Cole, M-Cole@wiu.edu, by April 18, 2008.

 

 
Panel:  International Modernism and the Global Plantation

Perhaps most often associated with the U.S. south, the plantation also took root in Ireland, the Caribbean, Latin America, Hawaii, and beyond. This panel seeks to explore the relations between international modernism and the global plantation complex. How does modernist literature trace shifts in plantation agricultural production in the early twentieth century? Does modernism appear different from the perspective of the plantation? What continuities and differences can be found in fiction (and other narrative forms) across the plantation complex? Papers that address the plantation as a site of international, intercultural, or cosmopolitan contact, or as an institution of colonialism, globalization, or agricultural capitalism are especially welcome.
 
Send 300 word abstracts to Amy Clukey (abc185@psu.edu) no later than April 30th, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  ‘Manufacturing Scandal: Oskar Kokoschka and the Marketing of Modernism’

 

Recent research on modernism has focused on economic aspects of its placement in a market transformed by the proliferation of illustrated periodicals and private galleries. The recognition that these media were dependent on modern methods of advertising and publicity questions the validity of many dichotomies that shaped earlier theories of modernism, including high culture vs. mass culture, art vs. kitsch, applied art vs. high art, modernism vs. avant-garde. The life and multimedia work of Oskar Kokoschka present a paradigmatic example of this dynamic process. Whether it was submitting paintings to a show that provoked critics to brand the unknown artist a barbarian…staging a play in which the invisible wall separating audience and stage dissolved in a riot that warranted police intervention…publishing a deliberately misogynistic drawing on the cover of an upstart periodical…or appearing in public with a life-sized, anatomically-correct doll modeled after a celebrity diva, Kokoschka mastered the market for modern art by staging scandals that produced reams of free publicity. This panel revises the canonical understanding of Kokoschka’s work by investigating how the artist’s marketing of his modern art blazed a trail for the next generation of artists and writers who followed his economically successful strategy of striking a blow in the face of public taste.

 

Papers invited from any relevant discipline that investigate OK’s art/life as it relates to…

…novelty as a promotional strategy that fosters formal innovation.

…scandal as performance medium that brings art back into life.

…modernism’s secret, back-door path from applied art to high art.

…his role as the modernist-who-made-it in the ‘Kunstlumpdebatte’

…other materialist analyses of how modernists marketed their art.

 

Please send 150-word abstract and 100-word bio to Brent McBride at dbm93@cornell.edu by March 31.

 

 

Panel:  Writing it Like it Is: Observations from the Outposts

 
Foregrounded issues at MSA X include transnational and international aesthetic interaction, mass media (print, radio, phonography, etc), media in various colonial and anti-colonial projects, and war, among others.  This panel aspires to new perspectives on the intersection between journalism, autobiography/travel-writing, and modern cynicism in the post-WWI literary era. Papers are welcome which take a comparative view of authors/works who translate their careers into literary (and very often comedic) invectives of communication, journalism, and/or politics on a global scale. Please send proposed paper titles/brief (100 word) author bios to Heather.Lusty@unlv.edu no later than April 30th, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Mobilization and Modernism: World War I and American Literature

 

Although much scholarship on World War I and modernism focuses on European contexts, the war radically impacted America. This proposed panel at Modernist Studies Association will explore the social and artistic consequences of World War I in the United States. Potential

paper topics may include but are not limited to World War I and the New Negro Renaissance, American writers on the battlefield, mobilization and nativism, war and feminism, and cultural ramifications of the war.

 

Send a five-hundred word abstract and brief CV to David A. Davis at

davisda@wfu.edu by May 1, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  The Media of Modernist Performance

 

This panel examines stagings of global media in live performances, with a particular interest in the circulation of performance technologies and techniques across national, ethnic, racial, or class boundaries.  Possible topics include:

 

            - the interpolation of new media in drama, dance, music

            - touring bodies, traveling theaters

            - the translation of performance techniques across cultures

            - performance technologies moving between "high" and "low" stages

            - spectacles of the ?other,? ethnographic displays

            - international tours and reputations

            - mass media and global stardom

            - cultural appropriations on modernist stages

 

Please send one page abstracts by May 1 to Carrie Preston, cjpresto@bu.edu.

 

 

Panel:  Publishing Modernism

 

This panel seeks to investigate the relationship between literary modernism and the publishing houses through which modernist texts were produced and distributed.  Papers are welcome which explore the ways in which modernist figures and texts responded to and intervened in the practices and cultures of particular presses.  Potential paper topics may include but are not limited to: papers that analyze the cultural and aesthetic impact of particular presses (ranging from major modernist publishing institutions to smaller radical presses); papers that examine the connections between specific modernist texts and their material production and distribution in book form; and papers that focus on the marketing strategies, house styling, and/or book design practices of different publishing venues. 

 

Please send proposed paper titles, 150 word paper abstracts, and brief (100 word) author bios to Jennifer Sorensen Emery-Peck at jjsoren@umich.edu by April 30th, 2008.   

 

 

Panel:  Modernism and the Network Narrative

 

Over the last quarter-century, the fields of critical theory have converged on a common buzzword, connectivity, which has acted as the linking mechanism for a constellation of divergent fields converging onto a common objective.  Corresponding to this surge of “connectivity theory” we also see arise a distinctive “network narrative”—a subgenre that represents human connectedness and its accompanying group formations.  Together with the boom in connectivity theory, these narratives mark a “connectivity turn” that has defined the theoretical and literary production of the late 1900s and 2000s, with the network narrative exemplified in works like Don DeLillo’s Underworld (1997) or Paul Haggis’s Oscar-winning Crash (2005).  But arguably such literary representations of connectivity reach further back into the twentieth century—in such figures as the constellar linking projects of the hardboiled detective fiction of the 1920s, in the interpenetrating “four-way conveyor system” of Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy (1930-36), or in the frantic mob of West’s Day of the Locust (1939).

 

Following the conference theme “Modernism and Global Media,” this panel will consider the network narrative as we find it in modernism.  Well before the connectivity turn of the later 1900s, narratives of the modernist period were already dealing with connectivity as it arose in the international conflicts, urbanization, immigration, and technological developments that defined the era.  Indeed, Randolph Bourne seems to have anticipated the connectivity turn of the later century when he wrote in 1916 that the concept of the melting pot had failed as a metaphor for the U.S. and that it should be replaced by his theory of “a federation of clusters”—a figure evocative of a network, even if it doesn’t precisely cohere with the language of connectivity theory as we recognize it today.  How do others of the modernist period anticipate the connectivity and networking dynamics that came to dominate the later 1900s?  What are the means by which modernist network narratives represent connectivity?  What are the historical and technological contexts of modernist conceptions of connectivity and networks?  How can we “retrofit” frameworks of contemporary connectivity theory to the network narratives of modernism?

 

Papers dealing with connectivity in any narrative form are welcome, and the panel welcomes projects working with any national literature or theoretical orientation.

 

Please send abstracts of 350 words and a brief (2-3 sentence) scholarly biography to Wesley Beal at wbeal@english.ufl.edu by May 1. 

 

 

Panel:  Mystery and Detective Work in the Modernist Text

 

This panel will consider the detective as a figure or type, and detection and the mystery story as a topical, thematic, and figurative concern and a narrative mode in modernist texts.  Papers may deal with literary or film texts typically classified in the mystery/detective genre, they may consider how detection and detective work are at play more generally or figuratively in any modernist fiction, film, or poetry, or they might address a text where a mystery story forms a subplot or seemingly minor thread.  Some questions that may be explored: How is the impulse to solve mysteries, to be a detective, tied to the impulse driving the creation of modernist literature, art, and film?  What forms does detection take? How might narrative structure or thematic concerns in modernist works indicate a specifically modern kind of detection?

 

Please send a 300-word abstract and 100-word bio or CV to Kristen Haven at

haven@email.arizona.edu by May 1, 2008.

 

 

Panel:  Modernism and Pornography: The Work of Art in the Age of Obscenity

 

The end of the nineteenth century, and the beginning of the twentieth, saw the emergence of a new market in obscene, or pornographic, materials--both written and visual. A whole host of materials emerged, from pornographic fiction (THE ROMANCE OF LUST, TELENY, THE PEARL, etc) to editions of the KAMA SUTRA, to the emergence of a market in quasi-pornographic "French" postcards. And, concomitantly, social purity groups, like the British National Vigilance Association, or the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (headed, initially and notoriously, by Anthony Comstock), emerged to extinguish this material. Literature and art were often caught between these two groups.

 

While scholars of modernism are most familiar with "obscenity" as a category through the obscenity trials of Joyce's ULYSSES and Lawrence's LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, this panel seeks to explore the role of obscenity beyond the trials. As recent work by Allison Pease, Katherine Mullin, and Celia Marshik (among many others), has shown, the categories of "obscenity" and "pornography" played a crucial role in the articulation of modernist aesthetics.

 

Papers are sought from all disciplines that consider the concept of obscenity in relation to the art and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. How was obscenity defined and contested in this period? What was its impact on practices of reading and cultural consumption?

 

Papers able to engage such questions in relation to the conference's theme of "Modernism and Global Media" are especially solicited, but any paper addressing the panel's topic will be considered.

 

Please send abstracts of 500 words or less, as well as a short (2 - 3 sentence) scholarly biography, to Chris Forster, cforster@virginia.edu, by April 21.

 

 

Panel:  Devolution of the Word?

 

J. Alfred Prufrock’s cry, “I cannot say just what I mean!” reverberates throughout modernist literature; individual writers’ understandings of linguistic limitation, however, have distinct premises and implications. This panel aims to bring together perspectives on how writers conceptualized language and linguistic power. Did they partake of what Bordieu calls “the myth of linguistic communism”—the idea that a language is a communal linguistic store, “universally and uniformly accessible” to all speakers? Did they posit a linguistic quasi-organism susceptible to deterioration or devolution, or, equally, capable of regeneration? How did they propose to gauge verbal facility, or its opposite, inarticulacy? Did they see linguistic power as an individual trait, an outcome of socialization/education, or dependant upon the vitality of the communal store? How do such conceptions affect literary practice or social attitudes? Links to the conference theme are not required, but might include: responses to sound recording technology; the impact of mass media on spoken language; the idea of photographic or filmic images as a “universal language”; representations of dialect or non-standard speech.

 

Send 300-word abstracts and brief bio to Ella Ophir, e.ophir@usask.ca by April 18.

 

 

Panel:  Reading the Other, Formulating the Self: Theorizing Mentoring in Modernity
 
The relationship of the mentor to the protégé traces its roots to the Enlightenment project.  This panel examines how modernist artists and thinkers continue, portray, and interrogate that paradigm.  What is “new” about the pedagogical scene in modernism?  How do modernist artists portray the power dynamics of the mentor-protégé relationship differently across various cultural experiences (such as gender, sexuality, class, generation, race, and religion)?  Does this paradigm offer modernists an alternative to conventional narratives of subject development (such as the eternal tea-table of the family romance), or is it itself a traditional, paternalistic narrative in need of radical reconsideration?  What insights do theorists of modernity, such as Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, reveal regarding our contemporary models of mentoring (whether between artists, theorists, or doctoral students and professors) in a “knowledge-based economy”? Papers from across disciplines are particularly welcome.


Please send abstracts (250-350 words) as well as a 2-3 sentence scholarly biography to Cheryl Hindrichs at cherylhindrichs@boisestate.edu by April 18th.

 

 

Panel: Modernism and Humor

 

The twentieth century opened upon two idiosyncratic attempts to describe and theorize humor by very different writers, neither of whom is primarily known to us as a theorist of the comic.  Taking our cue from Bergson's *Le Rire* (1899) and Freud's *Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious* (1905)--richly illuminating works themselves which bear very different marks of modernity--we will explore the role of humor, jokes and laughter in theories of modernism and in modernist texts.  Critics such as Lisa Colletta have begun to observe how much British modernism, for instance, is informed by “dark humor,” but on the whole we have tended categorically to filter the “funny” out of serious inquiries into “modern.”  Why this has been true is a potentially interesting question for us, and here are several others: What does modernist humor look like, and how does it work with and against the cult of difficulty?  Does humor carry a sustained political charge—subversive or conservative—in modern texts?  Is it gendered, and are we as critics predisposed to look for it only in certain media or genres?

 

Please send abstracts of 500 words and a 100-word scholarly bio to Lauryl Tucker at ltucker@ithaca.edu by April 30.

 

 

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