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Modernities in the Americas (1910-1970)

Readdressing the question of modernity today, whether from the perspective of its literary, artistic, social or political inscriptions, amounts to using a plural designation and along with it a specific chronology. What modernity implies is that the concept of the modern be not limited to the diverse and often ambiguous meanings of the term modernism. “Modernity is not a movement, such as dada or imagism. If literary history decides that some movement, English or Spanish, is to be called modernism, the term immediately takes on a technical sense. It becomes stabilized. Its participation in modernity becomes merely fragmentary” (Henri Meschonnic, Modernité modernité).
The aim of this symposium will be to re-evaluate a multi-faceted and multilingual phenomenon across the whole cultural spectrum of the Americas, in constant interaction with Europe and with other regions of the world. Our concern will be neither to provide an entirely exhaustive nor specifically objective study, but to draw out the key features of the modern and the anti-modern in particular, either individually or in opposition to one another. “In the name of artistic radicalism and the concept of rupture” we “have set aside or chosen not to highlight a number of individual or collective expressions deemed hybrid, local, late or anti-modern” (Catherine Grenier, "Le monde à l’envers ?", Centre Georges Pompidou), and the same is true in areas other than art. In literature in particular, « only what is ancient has a chance at being modern or announcing modernity » (Pascale Casanova, La république mondiale des lettres). From this has stemmed the systematic search for ancestors of the modern in places as far removed as so-called « primitive » or indigenous societies. What is deemed « barbaric » or crude often appears more modern than civilization, as long as we refrain from folklore. A certain kind of realism is sometimes more modern than a form of anti-realism or « magic realism » that have been declared avant-garde. There is also the classicism of the modern , the product of its own repetiton » (Meschonnic).
The undeniable differences but also coincidences between the Americas, whether anglophone, francophone, hispanophone or lusophone will undoubtedly bring to light the specific and common characteristics of each cultural area as well as their inner contradictory aesthetic and cultural decisions during the period stretching from 1910 to 1970, namely after Art Nouveau and after the invention of the « postmodern condition » (Jean-François Lyotard, La condition postmoderne : Rapport sur le savoir). Lines of inquiry such as those concentrating on « exchanges between high culture and popular culture, the center and the periphery, formal research and social relevancy » (Gauthier) should allow for a thorough mapping of modernity along continental scales.

Abstracts are welcome in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese. Deadline for abstracts : May 1, 2015.
Please send a 300-word abstract, along with a short biography, to all four members of the organizing committee.
Hélène Aji, Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La Défense, helene.aji@u-paris10.fr
Maria Graciete Besse, Université Paris-Sorbonne maria-graciete.besse@paris-sorbonne.fr
Paul-Henri Giraud, Université de Lille 3 Sciences humaines et sociales, paul-henri.giraud@univ-lille3.fr
Fiona McMahon, Université de Bourgogne, Fiona.McMahon@u-bourgogne.fr

Plenary Speakers 

Smaro Kamboureli (University of Toronto, Canada)
Bill Mohr (California State University, Long Beach, Ca, USA)
Claudio Cledson Novaes (Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Brazil)
Erica Segre (Trinity College, Cambridge, UK) 





Conference Location: Dijon, France
Conference Starts: November 18, 2015
Conference Ends: November 20, 2015

CFP Submission Deadline: May 01, 2015

For more information, contact: Helene AJI

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