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Modernist Appropriation

If modernist streets are sites of movement, protest, influence, then this roundtable asks if those exchanges occurring at the intersection of official infrastructure and vernacular practices can be symbiotic or only predatory. This roundtable is broadly interested in how modernism as a field of inquiry and artistic practice has taken part in cultural appropriation, while at the same time opening space for resistance/conservation. More specifically, we are interested in thinking about what happens when you put Picasso, Eliot, Forster, Pound—known appropriators—into conversation with Zitkala-Sa, Wole Soyinka, Eric Walrond, Zora Neale Hurston-- creators working against imperial erasure. Examples might include The Sundance Opera by William Hanson and Zitkala-Sa, which presents an interesting case study in the examination of primitivism and appropriation in modernism, or Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which mines African tribal aesthetics and repackages them as avant-garde European art. We also see the vernacular appropriated by the institution in the third reich and other fascist movements of the twentieth century. Similarly, we see the revival of Irish folk tradition in Yeats’ Irish revival. Questions of originality, authenticity, education, and assimilation will hopefully span roundtable submissions. Furthermore, examples of modernist appropriation leave us with the provocation of: Can modernist texts both appropriate and offer space for self-definition? Can the collision of the institutional and vernacular offer perspective on how modernism as a field can continue to grow in less appropriative ways?

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

CFP Submission Deadline: March 11, 2020

For more information, contact: Katelyn Hartke