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MSA 2020: Brooklyn, October 22-25, 2020
CFP: “African Aesthetics and Modernist Studies”
Contact: Mark DiGiacomo,
Proposal Deadline: March 2, 2020

Wole Soyinka’s new book, Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse, and Dissonance in African Art Traditions (Yale UP 2019), places African art at the center of the arts of global modernity. Its subtitle, meanwhile, provides some key words that might be useful for thinking through the relationship between African aesthetics and modernism—the story of European modernism’s uptake of African art is replete with use and abuse, and the relationship between modernist studies and postcolonial African studies has been marked by dissonance.

Taking a cue from Soyinka, this panel will place the aesthetics of sub-Saharan Africa at the center of the conversation and ask how Africa aesthetic concepts might challenge or re-shape the field of modernist studies. This CFP invites papers on literature, visual art, performance, music or aesthetic theory from sub-Saharan Africa; papers that employ an aesthetic term or concept from an African language are especially encouraged. Proposals might reevaluate some of the binary oppositions that have long attended discussions of African aesthetics and modernism—tradition vs. modernity; form vs. function; aesthetic autonomy vs. cultural context—or set those debates aside in favor of new models and lines of inquiry. Please send proposals of approximately 200 words to Mark DiGiacomo at by March 2, 2020.

Conference Location: Brooklyn, USA
Conference Starts: October 22, 2020
Conference Ends: October 25, 2020

CFP Submission Deadline: March 02, 2020

For more information, contact: Mark DiGiacomo