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Call for Papers Archive

Observing Upheaval: Modernism and Surveillance
Organisers: Stephanie J Brown and Emily Hainze

Panel description:
This panel explores the relationship between modernism and forms of surveillance the emerged during the modernist period. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rehearsal of bureaucratic state power throughout empire and its consolidation in Western states. Our panel queries how different media forms, working at scales that vary from the compactness of the lyric, the photograph, and the case file to the expansiveness of the census, the sociological study, and the ordinance survey, registered emerging surveillance culture. How did they experiment with, produce, and undermine the boundaries of knowledge practices that aimed to manage populations and lives, and to reinforce intersecting hierarchies of class, race, gender, and sexuality?

The panel organizers are particularly interested in papers that engage with:

-The circulation of surveillance practices across sites/borders/boundaries
-Sousveillance as an individual or communal practice within modernity
-Andrea Mubi Brighenti’s notion of “artveillance”
-Institutional surveillance practices and/in public discourse
-Surveillance as productive of embodied and/or affective experiences
-The archives of modernism via recent work on surveillance, policing and race such as Simone Browne’s Dark Matters (2015), Jackie Wang’s Carceral Capitalism (2018) and Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (2019)
-Emergent surveillance forms in the modernist period
-Surveillance aesthetics
-Wartime surveillance at home and abroad
-Sites of surveillance as culturally productive
-Work on sites or practices of surveillance not commonly recognized as such
-Surveillance and modernist biopolitics
-Surveillance and culture(s) of policing, covert versus overt surveillance practices
-Intersections between surveillance practices and anti-colonial art/activism or resistance to the state
-Self-surveillance as cultural production
-Opting in: mass obs and similar projects
-Surveillance and modernist discourses of privacy
-Modernist self-censorship as internalized surveillance
-New methods for reading surveillance archives
-Pre-histories of contemporary surveillance practice, technology, or concerns

To those interested, please send a brief abstract (250-300 words) and bio to both Steph Brown ( and Emily Hainze ( ) by March 2.

Conference Location: Toronto, Canada
Conference Starts: October 17, 2019
Conference Ends: October 20, 2019

CFP Submission Deadline: March 02, 2019

For more information, contact: Steph Brown