Seminar Descriptions

Charles Altieri
(English, University of California, Berkeley)
Modernist Experiments and Structures of Feeling

This seminar will concentrate on how and why modernists break from established grammars (practical and aesthetic) for dealing with affects. What models can we propose for interpreting the changes attempted and what languages of value become available for and through those experiments?
Invited Participant: Michael Levenson
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David Brownlee
(Art History, University of Pennsylvania)
Modernism and Post-Modernism in Late Twentieth-Century Architecture

This seminar will explore the periodization of post-World War II architecture, with an eye to distinguishing its modernist and anti-modernist tendencies and to defining "architectural Modernism," both as a stylistic descriptor and as a constituent of broader cultural patterns. The seminar will be loosely affiliated with research now being done in the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania in preparation for a retrospective exhibition on the work of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, scheduled to open at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2001.

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Jessica Burstein
(English, University of Washington)
Fashion and Modernism

We will investigate the exchanges between fashion and literary aesthetics; artistic modernism and histories of fashion or design. Focus could be on clothing, periodicals like VOGUE (American or British), or literary representations of the sartorial. Larger issues may concern high and low culture, representations of the clothed body, and sartorial aesthetics. Invited participants: Jennifer Wicke and Jane Garrity

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Anne Charles
(English, University of New Orleans)
Sapphic Modernism

This seminar will apply some of the key concerns in the field of lesbigaytrans/queer literary studies to the Sapphic Modernist critical enterprise in order that we may, while recognizing the limitations of the formulation of literary constructs, discover and describe features that might constitute "Sapphic Modernism." Invited participants: Diana Collecott and Cassandra Laity

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David Chinitz
(English, Loyola University of Chicago)
Modernism, Poetry, and Culture

What historical forces have held these terms apart? How can a "cultural" approach to modernist poetry animate close textual analysis, and vice-versa? What happens when modernist poetry is viewed through a culturalist lens?

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Michael Coyle
(English, Colgate University) and
Bernard Gendron
(Philosophy, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)
Modernism and Jazz

What happens when we conceive of jazz as a distinctly modernist art form? What are the relations between jazz, in its many forms, and modernism (literary or otherwise), in any of its various constructions?

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Marianne DeKoven
(English, Rutgers University)
Postmodern Modernism

How has postmodernism both actively and retroactively reshaped our understanding of modernism, through critique, redefinition, suppression, resuscitation, retrieval, refunction, reconception? How does this revisionary postmodern modernism continue to change with shifts in postmodern preoccupations?

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Laura Doyle
(English, University of Massachusetts)
Race, Modernism, Modernity

How does post-Enlightenment modernity emerge through racialized encounters/narratives and give rise to a modernism symptomatic of that history? Possible topics: disjunctive splicings of canonical/sentimental with "folk"/subaltern; politics of insistently non-modernist practices; modern self-knowing and modernist, racial self-fashionings; racial panopticons/passings; diasporic modernist urban epics. Invited participants: Phillip Brian Harper, Peggy O'Brien, Radha Radhakrishnan, Marlon Ross

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James English
(English, University of Pennsylvania)
Modernism and Prestige

This seminar aims to explore modernism in relation to various forms and hierarchies of cultural prestige. How was prestige distributed among the arts and among individual artists and authors during the modernist period? What critical approaches today offer the best route into these issues?

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Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi
(Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Fascism and the Avant-Garde

This seminar will explore the relationship of the intellectual and artistic avant-gardes to fascist culture and politics. Why were so many avant-garde figures attracted to fascism? And should they be evaluated as "fascist"?

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Norman Finkelstein and Tyrone Williams
(English, Xavier University)
Diaspora

Exile, dispersion, and the loss of homeland and cultural roots are some of the most common, devastating, and (ironically) inspiring experiences represented in modernist literature and art. We invite papers on all aspects of diaspora as it manifests itself in modernist thought and cultural production.

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Nancy K. Gish
(English, University of Southern Maine) and
Keith Tuma
(English, Miami University)
Languages and Legacies of Modernism - "Britain" and Ireland

Recent alternative poetries point back to neglected modernists like Brian Coffey, Lynette Roberts, and Veronica Forrest-Thomson, and to diverse experimental forms. How can we read the work of such precursors beside contemporary poetry and canonical modernism? Invited participants: Alex Davis, Romana Huk, Steven J. Matthews, and Peter Middleton

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Mary Gluck
(History, Brown University)
Modernism and the City

Why is the city the most frequently evoked context for the modernist project? What is the relationship between modernism and the city, considered in its multiple guises as the social spaces of the modern metropolis, the aesthetic spaces of the urban text, or the cultural spaces of commercial mass culture?

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Eileen Gregory
(English, University of Dallas)
Models of the Classical in Modernism

Modernism and classicism are deeply affiliated. A political and philosophical as well as literary act, classical appropriation suggests complex genealogies with decadence, Romantic hellenism, Augustan humanism, Renaissance hermeticism. This seminar considers models and genealogies operative within modernist writers' citation/translation/revision of classical texts. Invited participants: Helen Sword (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Joan DeJean (University of Pennsylvania).

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Linda Dalrymple Henderson
(Art and Art History, University of Texas) and
Bruce Clarke
(English, Texas Tech University)
Modernism and Science

What roles did science play in the development of new forms of art and literature in the first half of the 20th century? This seminar invites papers on modernist artists and writers who drew inspiration from science before and after Einstein. We are particularly interested in methodological issues how does one make valid connections between these two areas of cultural production? Invited participant: Susan Squier

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Kerry Johnson
(English, Merrimack)
Modernism and Caribbean Literatures

Caribbean writers often utilize fragmentation and dreamwork to explore alienation and crisis of consciousness. Some contributed to the Harlem Renaissance. What are the intersections of Caribbean and modernist literatures? How and why do Caribbean writers revise and respond to modernism?

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Gail McDonald
(English, University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
Feeding Modernism

Food (and drink) in modernism. Possibilities: cookbooks as manifestos, the role of cafés, modernization of food technologies, literary depictions of eating, food fashions and fetishes. Also food and the politics of colonization, wartime scarcity and rationing, food as status-marker, food as entertainment. All disciplinary approaches welcome.

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David McWhirter
(English, Texas A & M University)
Modernist Abstraction

The varied modalities, histories, and politics of formal abstraction in modernist literature, visual arts, film, theater, music, dance; examinations of individual works/movements, particular formal structures/mechanisms, and/or key critical terms/constructs. Interdisciplinarity encouraged.
Invited participants: Anke Finger and Robert Kaufman
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Cristanne Miller
(English, Pomona College)
Crossing Boundaries in the Arts

Cross-fertilization and international exchange played a crucial role as the arts reinvented themselves for the twentieth century. How did modernist poetry absorb and transform innovation from visual arts, music, film, and photography? Invited participant Bonnie Costello

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Robert Morgan
(Music, Yale University)
Coherence and Incoherence in Modernist Literature, Art, and Music

In what ways do modernist artists forge a dialectical relationship between coherence and incoherence in their work? For example, how do they respond to the seemingly conflicting claims of uniqueness and universality? How do they combat incoherence in pursuit of such modernist traits as difficulty, complexity, and inclusiveness? Papers on any aspect of the issue, dealing with any artform(s), welcome.

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Carol Oja
(Music, College of William and Mary)
Spirituality and Early 20th-Century Modernism

Intersections between alternative spiritual writings of the early 20th-century, especially those connected with theosophy and modernism. With certain American composers of that period, these belief systems provided a way of rationalizing musical experiments. This seminar will consider that tendency as found among creative artists working within a broad spectrum of art forms and in different countries.

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Brian Richardson
(English, University of Maryland)
Modernism and the Reader

Relevant topics include modernism's implied reader(s) and their roles, gender and reading, hermetic texts, minority audiences, characters as readers, queer reading, film and theater audiences, excluded readers, postmodern readers and rewriters, misreading, re-reading, unreadability, etc. Invited participants: David Kadlec, R.B. Kershner, Patrocinio Schweickart

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John Paul Riquelme
(English, Boston University)
Modernist Orientalisms: Theories and Interpretations

This seminar will focus on theoretical contexts for interpreting modernist works with attention to the exotic and on representations of the exotic in British, Irish, American, and European art and literature from Gerome and Wilde forward.

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Luca Somigli
(Italian, University of Toronto)
The Genres of Modernism

What is the function of genre in modernist literature? Issues include the rise of new genres; the influence of the other arts and the new media; the recuperation of popular genres; the relative symbolic capital of different genres. Invited participant: Michael Coyle

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Leon Surette
(English, University of Western Ontario)
Literature and Economics: An Unholy Alliance?

Papers are invited on all aspects of relations between the arts and economic thought - from the radical right typified by Social Credit (and Modernism) through the conservative middle typified by Keynes, to the radical left typified by Marx (and Postmodernism). Invited participants: Jack Amariglio, Hildegard Hoeller, Alec Marsh and David Ruccio

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Denise Von Glahn
(Music, Florida State University)
Futurism

This seminar will consider the relationship between Futurism and Modernism, and explore the ways Futurism manifests itself in music, art, and literature in the United States and Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century.

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Wallace Watson
(English, Duquesne University)
Modernism and the Movies

Likely topics for discussion: the participation of cinema in early twentieth-century literary and other artistic avant-garde movements; modernist strategies in postwar European new wave cinemas; commercial considerations; adaptations of modernist fiction. Invited participants: Peter Christensen, Carole Dole

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Barrett Watten
(English, Wayne State University) and
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
(English, Temple University)
Avant-Garde and Cultural Studies

Have cultural studies methods led to an exclusion of avant-garde social formation and works of cultural production, generally in favor of mass cultural forms? What elements of the avant-garde participated in the formation of cultural studies methods, and in what ways ought their legacies to continue?

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