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Traveling Domestic: Modernism

Guiliana Bruno’s Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture and Film (2002), introduces the idea of “traveling domestic” in art and film. For Bruno, “traveling domestic” involves seeing and representing the home not as the static antithesis of travel but as a space that itself engenders voyage and invites exploration; to “travel domestic” is to approach the home as curious and risky rather than banal and safe. This type of travel holds special significance for considerations of gender both because it is staged within a stereotypically feminine sphere and because it unsettles the home’s ability to function as a bulwark against turbulent public space.

As a concept, “traveling domestic” can provide useful critical traction for considering modernism’s numerous modes of contesting ideals of private space or unsettling notions of domestic intimacy. To “travel domestic,” might involve entering the surreal portals hidden behind the apartment doors of Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), confronting the threat of domestic objects and architecture in the case of Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), or it might involve an aesthetic valuation of everydayness as in Charles and Ray Eames’ House After Five Years of Living (1955). To take a more literary approach, “traveling domestic” might involve witnessing time pass in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, picking through Jenny Petherbridge’s collectables in Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood, or entering the large sumptuous interiors of East and West Egg mansions in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

This panel asks how modernist representations of “traveling domestic” identify and configure private space as an epicenter of political and artistic change. How do these representations seek to undo, challenge, or rewrite relationships between public and private, interior and exterior, and the gendered identifications accompanying these? How does “traveling domestic” change over the course of the twentieth century and how is this reflective of modernism’s larger aesthetic and political transformations? Papers might also take up the idea of traveling domestic with respect to questions of genre—how do modernist ideas of “traveling domestic” manipulate or rewrite generic conventions of melodrama (to give one example)?

Please submit abstracts of 200-300 words, a short scholarly bio, and AV requirements to algreen@msu.edu by April 15.

Conference Location: Boston, USA
Conference Starts: November 19, 2015
Conference Ends: November 21, 2015

CFP Submission Deadline: April 15, 2015

For more information, contact: Anna Green

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