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Call for Papers Archive

Modernism and/against Empire

Literary modernism reached its peak, between the world wars, just as European empires fell into their inevitable decline. Imperial modernity was marked, first, by its frenetic pace, technologies and appropriations of alterity (of other peoples, territories, markets, myths, languages or cultural forms), but also, paradoxically, mounting skepticism or critique of empire at home, and revolutionary indictments of empire from abroad.

How, this panel asks, do modernist forms and techniques speak to -- or speak against -- the disciplines of empire? What do modernist texts reveal about the anxieties of imperial power, or about the tactics and voices of anti-imperial dissent? How do writers from the colonies appropriate, challenge, or reinvent modernist forms?

I welcome studies of empire in any modernist media -- literary, visual, film, music, architecture, radio -- from 1890 to 1947. Topics to consider include (but are not limited to):
--transnational politics, geographies, or economics
--reframing imperial narratives through myth or history
--ethnographic or autoethnographic critiques/reappraisals of empire
--transnational poetics; the relation between western writers and writers from the colonies; the new "world literature"
--the aesthetics of imperial violence
--hybridity (in race, language, culture, etc)
--questions of language or translation
--nationalist/anti-imperial resistance within the colonies
--the revisiting/repercussions of empire in the metropole
--transnational discourses of social justice or human rights
--the role of modern science/medicine/technologies within or against empire

Please send abstracts (250-500 words) and a CV or scholarly bio to Kate Merz ( by 8 May 2009.

Conference Location: Montreal, Canada
Conference Starts: November 05, 2009
Conference Ends: November 08, 2009

CFP Submission Deadline: May 08, 2009

For more information, contact: Kate Merz