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Call for Papers: Modernist Setting
Prospective cluster for the Modernism/modernity Print Plus platform
Edited by: Dora Zhang and Hannah Freed-Thall

Proposed titles/abstracts: October 31, 2016
Complete essays: March 15, 2017

This cluster of conference-length, theoretically-adventurous essays will explore the concept of "setting"? in the modernist context. Encompassing physical space and geographical location as well as atmosphere, mood, weather, tone, and other ambient phenomena of everyday life, setting has tended to fade into the critical background. What happens if we approach setting not as a secondary category, or mere inert backdrop, but as a primary shaping force of literary and visual form?

Modernism reconfigures literary geography by venturing into a variety of previously unrepresented spaces, from an outhouse in Dublin to a golf course in Yoknapatawpha County to a plantation settlement village in colonial Barbados. What is the relation between the formal concept of ??setting? and the geographical idea of ??place?? And how is this relation affected by the location of textual production itself, e.g. Western Europe, Latin America, or the Pacific Rim?

The early twentieth century bore witness to theories of setting that are now largely forgotten, including Hellpach on environmental psychology, Ebeling on ??space as membrane,? and Uexküll on ??Umwelt.? How did these and other such ideas bear on the cultural production of the period?

How do different media attune readers, spectators, or listeners to the mood of a room, the humidity of a season, the quality of a light, or the acoustic texture of a landscape? And how does the recent ecological turn in criticism affect our understanding of literary space, enabling us for the first time to perceive a climate, or even a geological epoch, as setting?

Papers should be balanced toward the inventive and the provocative, along the lines of a virtual roundtable talk (2000-3000 word limit). Contributors are especially encouraged to draw on the unique possibilities afforded by the digital platform. Please send titles and 500-word abstracts to Dora Zhang ( and Hannah Freed-Thall ( by October 31, 2016. 6-8 contributors will be invited to submit essays by March 15, 2017, after which the entire cluster will be sent out for peer review.

Conference Location: N/A, N/A
Conference Starts: September 05, 2016
Conference Ends: October 31, 2016

CFP Submission Deadline: October 31, 2016

For more information, contact: Dora Zhang & Hannah Freed-Thall