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Anarchist Modernism (MSA 17)

In keeping with the conference's theme of "€œmodernism & revolution,"€ this panel will explore convergences, transactions, and collaborations between modernist art and the theory and practice of anarchism.

Of the early years of modernism, Raymond Williams has said in the "The Politics of the Avant-garde" that "€œthere was a clear initial linkage between the assault on existing conventions and the programmes of anarchists, nihilists, and revolutionary socialists. The deep emphasis on the liberation of the creative individual took many toward the anarchist wing." More recent work has grown around many modernist figures and submovements for which anarchists were vital sources of intellectual exchange. It has become clear that French literary and visual avant-gardes as movements inextricably connected to the activity of anarchist groups and newspapers. Some work has been done in the past decade on Dora Marsden, the anarcho-feminist publisher whose journals, including The New Freewoman and The Egoist, focused on topics in anarchist theory at the same time that they published monumental works of literary modernism. Related work has examined how an anarchist milieu affected Joyce, Pound, and other figures in Marsden'€™s circles. Emma Goldman produced a journal focusing on radical politics and art called The Blast, virtually sharing a name with Pound and Lewis'€™s more famous project.

Williams insisted that the October Revolution of 1917 forced modernists artists into a choice between fascist and Communist politics, but since then modernist studies has examined the ways in which radicals outside a strictly Communist framework continued to be fascinated by modernist technique well beyond the advent of the USSR. This panel then, centers on how anarchist emphases on anti-traditionalism and creative individualism may have found their way into the aesthetic programs of artists working within the tradition of literary and visual modernism. Since anarchism is a philosophy rooted in overturning traditional structures, the panel will consider proposals from across disciplinary, chronological, and national boundaries.

Please send 300 word abstract, AV requirements, and a brief CV to Michael O'€™Bryan at mbobryan@wustl.edu by April 15th.


Conference Location: Boston, USA
Conference Starts: November 19, 2015
Conference Ends: November 22, 2015

CFP Submission Deadline: April 15, 2015

For more information, contact: Michael O'Bryan

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