sussexMSA 15: Sussex

Everydayness and the Event
QueenMaryAugust 29-September 1, 2013

Pre-Conference Workshops

All six pre-conference workshops will take place on Thursday, August 29th. Members may sign up for these workshops during the registration process.

1. What do Journals Want? (1 pm to 2.30 pm)

Susan Stanford Friedman, University of Wisconsin-Madison (editor, Contemporary Women’s Writing)
Ann Ardis, University of Delaware (editor of Modernism/Modernity)
Timothy Bewes, Brown University (senior editor, Novel)
Peter Boxall, University of Sussex (editor, Textual Practice)
Deborah Longworth, University of Birmingham (editor and founder, Modernist Cultures)
Douglas Mao, Johns Hopkins University (former senior editor, English Literary History)

This is one of two proposed workshops on publishing.  It is open to everyone but designed to appeal especially to graduate students and younger scholars.  “What do journals want?” brings together five current or recent editors of major journals publishing articles in the field of modernist studies.  Each participant will deliver very brief remarks under the heading of “5 things I want” in order to generate a lively conversation about topics such as strategies for publishing, what gets published, what’s desirable (formally, rhetorically, thematically), what’s not desired, and the review process. 

Speakers will be encouraged to address what makes articles appealing and “publishable” rather than personal preferences, though the fact that personal preferences often enter into evaluation might serve as one of our topics.  The initial remarks will be brief so as to leave plenty of time for questions and conversation with the audience. Other editors as well as colleagues who have served as article reviewers may attend.

The principal goal is to demystify the process of publishing articles in the field and to offer some practical advice about presenting work to various journals.  A secondary goal is to give younger scholars the opportunity to introduce themselves to journal editors and to ask specific questions about their own experiences submitting work in the past and preparing work to submit in the future.

2. CLOSED What Do Presses Want (from a First Book)? (1 pm to 2.30 pm)

Rebecca L. Walkowitz, Rutgers University (co-editor and co-founder, Literature Now book series, Columbia University Press)
Jacqueline Baker, Oxford University Press (U.K.), Commissioning Editor for Literature 
Rebecca Beasley, The Queens College, Oxford University (co-editor, Edinburgh Studies in Modernist Culture, Edinburgh University Press) 
Kevin J. H. Dettmar, Pomona College (co-editor and co-founder, Modernist Literature and Culture book series, Oxford University Press [US]) 
David James, Queen Mary, University of London (co-editor and co-founder, Literature Now book series, Columbia University Press) 
Brigitte Shull, Head of Humanities, Scholarly Division and Senior Editor, Literature and Gender Studies
for Palgrave Macmillan (US)
Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania (co-editor and co-founder, Modernist Latitudes book series, Columbia University Press)

This is one of two proposed workshops on publishing.  It is open to everyone but designed to appeal especially to graduate students and younger scholars who are looking to publish their first monograph.  “What do presses want (from a first book)?” brings together six speakers, a mix of series editors and commissioning editors, who publish books in the field of modernist studies or in related fields.  Each participant will deliver very brief remarks under the heading of “5 things I want” in order to generate a lively conversation about topics such as proposals, review procedures, desirable topics/approaches, undesirable approaches, voice, difference between dissertation and book, etc. 

Speakers will be encouraged to address what makes manuscripts appealing and “publishable” rather than personal preferences, though the fact that personal preferences often enter into evaluation might serve as one of our topics.  The initial remarks will be brief so as to leave plenty of time for questions and conversation with the audience. 

Other book editors as well as colleagues who have served as manuscript reviewers may attend

The principal goal is to demystify the process of publishing books in the field and to offer some practical advice about presenting work to various series and presses.  A secondary goal is to give younger scholars the opportunity to introduce themselves to book editors and to ask specific questions about their own experiences submitting work in the past and preparing work to submit in the future.

3. Modernism for the Masses (12.30 pm to 2.30 pm)

Helen Sword, The University of Auckland

In keeping with the conference theme, this pre-conference workshop on “Modernism for the Masses” will encourage participants to consider ways of extending their own scholarship into the “everydayness” of the world beyond academe.  Once upon a time – say, back in the Modernist era – literary criticism was an interpretive activity shared by a wide range of readers and writers.  Today, by contrast, Modernist scholarship is almost exclusively the purview of accredited academics who write for one another or, at best, for a captive audience of students.  How might we make Modernist scholarship more accessible, engaging, and consequential?  What changes would we need to make in our own writing practices – stylistically, institutionally – to expand our audiences and take Modernism to the masses?  Please bring along your own writing materials (paper/pen) and come prepared to experiment with new dimensions of academic writing.

Please note: laptops may only be used on battery power. Due to contractual obligations and power surge concerns, attendees will not be able to charge their laptops on campus.

4. Digital Approaches to Versioning and Visualizing Modernism (12.30 pm to 2.30 pm)

Stephen Ross (University of Victoria)
J. Matthew Huculak (University of Victoria)

Thanks to the hard work of many of our colleagues in modernist studies, we now have access to more, and more varied, digital instances of modernist texts than ever before: the repositories are expanding quickly, and indeed the Modernist Versions Project is building a catalogue of online editions of modernist texts, and providing links to as many as possible. And yet it can be very hard to know what to do with these texts once we locate them. Most of us still prefer to read a paper copy of a book, and few of us have the competencies to undertake research with digital materials. Or at least we think we don't have the competencies.

This workshop will feature two parts. In the first, participants will be introduced to the world of computational versioning, the means whereby we use digital methods to collate and compare multiple instances of a given text. We will begin with an overview of the tools already available and in development, and provide participants with a feature sheet that allows quick comparison of the tools' potential. We will then take users through the Modernist Versions Project's preferred workflow for comparing texts, and invite them to try it out with a set of sample texts we will provide.

In the second part of the workshop, participants will be introduced to the major online repositories of modernist texts (e.g., Project Gutenberg, the Modernist Journals Project), and given tips on which formats are most amenable to which uses (e.g., epub format is good for e-readers, while plaintext format is better for analysis). They will then be introduced to some basic tools for analyzing and manipulating the texts, tools such as the Voyant suite, Wordle, and the Google NGrams viewer. We will stress not only what you can do with texts using these tools, but what sorts of critical interventions or insights they enable: that is, we will show participants not only how to visualize a text, but also how to read that visualization for its interpretive possibilities. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to undertake basic digital comparison of modernist texts. More importantly, they will have gained insight into how such approaches can afford new critical insights, and be well prepared to undertake their own research in the same vein.

The Modernist Versions Project will provide all the necessary digital texts and access to all the pertinent online tools for a maximum of 48 delegates. The materials are all open access and out of copyright in Canada and the UK.

Please note: laptops may only be used on battery power. Due to contractual obligations and power surge concerns, attendees will not be able to charge their laptops on campus.

5. Fair Use/Fair Dealing: An Informal Focus Group (1 pm to 2.30 pm)

Robert Spoo (Tulsa)

With Paul Saint-Amour and Victoria Rosner, Robert Spoo is co-chairing, and will be producing a Best Practices Statement on Fair Use for the MSA. In recent years, such statements have become powerful tools allowing particular "practice communities" to formulate shared norms and aspirations around their uses of protected works. Those formulations, in turn, can be useful in legal defenses against infringement claims and in persuading publishers of the acceptability of a certain use; can persuade insurance companies to grant liability insurance to users; and can dramatically reduce the uncertainty felt by individuals with regard to their use of protected works. This session will be run with a view to thinking through the formulation of this document; it is one of two that will be on offer during MSA 15.

6. Special Collections at Sussex: A Workshop (1 pm to 2.30 pm)

Fiona Courage, Manager, Sussex Special Collections

The University of Sussex houses significant modernist archives, among them, the world-famous Mass Observation Archive, as well as the entire Leonard Woolf archive, and many Virginia Woolf papers. Fiona Courage, manager of Sussex Special Collections, will offer one pre-conference workshop, and another during the conference proper, for delegates who would like to look at some highlights from our original archival collections. We’d ask all delegates to be aware that Sussex Special Collections will be moving to a new location during Summer 2013. As some MSA delegates may want to take the opportunity to access archival collections held by the university, we have made arrangements for surrogate copies of the Monks House Papers (Virginia Woolf), The Leonard Woolf Papers, and parts of the Mass Observation Archive to be made available for research within the University Library. Bookings for access to these papers are available from 26-9 August and 2-4 September. Please contact library.specialcoll@sussex.ac.uk for further details.