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1922: 100 Years On

CFP for the Modernist Studies Association's Annual Conference

Portland, Oregon | October 27-30, 2022


2022 is the centennial year of what is often taken as the annus mirabilis of modernism—the year of Sylvia Beach's publication of James Joyce's Ulysses, T. S. Eliot launching The Criterion with The Waste Land, and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room. It is also the year of Claude McKay's Harlem Shadows and James Weldon Johnson's The Book of American Negro Poetry, the first magazine publication of work from Jean Toomer's Cane, Isaac Rosenburg's Poems, Gertrude Stein's Geography and Plays, Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North, the first English version of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, the first staging of a play by Bertolt Brecht, Malinowski's Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Katherine Mansfield's The Garden Party and Other Stories, John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga, Rose Macaulay's Mystery at Geneva, Constance Garnett's translation of Chekhov's Love and Other Stories, and Arthur Machen's Far off Things. As Kevin Jackson notes, it was also a year of many events that set a decisive stamp on modern (and modernist) culture and history: it saw the first "facsimile picture" sent using phone lines; Einstein win the Nobel Prize for physics; the BBC deliver its inaugural broadcast; Hitchcock direct his first feature; Kandinsky and Klee join the Bauhaus; Walt Disney release his first animated shorts; the tomb of Tutankhamun be discovered; and Louis Armstrong move from New Orleans to Chicago, heralding the age of modern jazz. The centennial of this year offers the opportunity to celebrate some of the texts that both shaped modernist canons and continue to be at the heart of modernist studies, and to encourage revisionary perspectives to expand our collective sense of what made 1922 so remarkable.

This conference encourages fresh perspectives on the cultural texts and events of 1922—why it has come to have such centrality in still-powerful narratives of modernism, but also what a preoccupation with the modernist monuments of Eliot, Joyce, and Woolf has overlooked. Such considerations might dwell on the transformations of the culture industry taking place in the early 1920s—in the middlebrow sphere, in radio, in cinema; on the modernist developments taking place in Harlem, Mexico, Moscow, and Berlin, among others; or on how the historical and political developments of 1922, from Mussolini's March on Rome to the Washington Naval Conference, informed the cultural dynamics of the era. As the several studies of 1922 as a central "scene of the modern" (in Michael North's words) have demonstrated, such a focused historic frame can facilitate innovative interdisciplinary, cross-media, and contextualized apprehensions of cultural texts, revealing synchronic juxtapositions and dialogues that are both surprising and illuminative.

Plenary events will include two Keynote Panels

The MSA values diversity of national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, migration status, ability, class, employment status, and other forms of identity.

Territorial Acknowledgment

MSA 2022 takes place in what is now called Portland, Oregon, in Multnomah County, on the ancestral homelands and political territories of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Watlala bands of the Chinook, the Tualatin Kalapuya, and other Indigenous nations of the Columbia River. Multnomah County is unceded Indian land and, in this sense, remains contestable space.

Following the Indigenous protocol of acknowledging the original people of the land we occupy, the MSA also extends our respect to the nine federally recognized Indigenous nations of Oregon: the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and the Klamath Tribes. We express respect for the many more tribes who have ancestral connections to this territory, as well as to all other displaced Indigenous peoples who call Oregon home.

This language was adapted from the territorial acknowledgments made by the Cultural Resource Centers at Portland State University and by the Native American Studies Program at the University of Oregon, with our gratitude.


Due to longstanding commitments and the economic model of a hotel-based conference, we are planning for a fully in-person conference. So as to involve as many people as possible as active participants, the MSA limits multiple appearances on the program. Thus, you may participate once in each of the following categories:

Thus, you may lead a seminar, present a paper on a panel, and participate in a "What Are You Reading" session, but you may not present two papers. MSA rules do not allow panel or roundtable organizers to chair their own session if they are also speaking in the session; the session chair must be someone who is otherwise not presenting. Panel organizers are encouraged to identify a moderator and include this information with their proposals; the MSA Program Committee can also ask another conference attendee to serve as a moderator.

All those who attend the MSA conference must be members of the organization with dues paid for 2022-2023 (MSA membership runs from July 1 until June 30 each year) and any past dues paid in full. For information on MSA, please check the Association website. Speakers are expected to present in person, rather than remotely.

Special Provisions RE: Chicago MSA Acceptances

Given the late cancellation of the 2021 MSA in Chicago, the MSA Board, Program Committee, and Portland Local Organizing Committee are offering an opportunity for those whose seminars, panels, roundtables, and digital exhibits were accepted to the Chicago conference. Those seminars, panels, roundtables, and digital exhibits will be accepted automatically for the Portland conference with the following caveats:

  1. No individual paper proposals from the Chicago conference will be accepted automatically because they were keyed to the streams specific to the Chicago conference;
  2. No changes can be made to any of the leaders for the seminars or presenters for the panels, roundtables, and digital exhibits accepted for Chicago (chairs can be changed);
  3. No seminars, panels, roundtables accepted for Chicago will be automatically accepted for the Portland conference if they will be presented online this spring.

Those wishing to take advantage of this provision should submit their seminar, panel, roundtable, and/or digital exhibit proposal on ExOrdo, as if it were a new submission, checking the box that indicates the session was previously accepted for the Chicago 2021 conference and that it was not presented in the online spring events. Once this is confirmed, an acceptance notice will quickly follow, skipping the review process.

Call for Seminar Proposals

Seminars are among the unique features of the MSA conference. Participants write brief position papers (5-7 pages) that are circulated and read prior to the conference. Each seminar is limited to 15 participants. Seminars generate lively exchange and often facilitate future collaborations. The format also allows a larger number of conference attendees to seek financial support from their institutions as they educate themselves and their colleagues on subjects of mutual interest. Seminars are two hours in length. Because seminars led solely by graduate students are not likely to attract a sizable audience, we encourage interested graduate students to invite a faculty member to lead the seminar with them. Please note that this is the call for seminar leaders. Sign-up for seminar participants will take place on a first-come, first-served basis coinciding with registration for the conference.

Seminar Topics: There are no limits on topics, but past experience has shown that the more clearly defined the topic and the more guidance provided by the leader, the more productive the discussion. "Clearly defined" should not be confused with "narrow," as extremely narrow seminar topics tend to exclude many potential participants. To scan past seminar topics, go to the Conference Archives on the MSA website, click the link to a prior conference, and then click on "Conference Schedule" or "Conference Program." You will find seminars listed along with panels and other events.

Submit seminar proposals (both in-person and online) by Friday, March 18, 2022 at MSA2022.EXORDO.COM. Include a description of the seminar purpose and format that is no more than 300-words and a professional bio of each leader that is no more than 100 words.

Call for Individual Paper Proposals for MSA Panel Streams

The 2022 conference will feature two streams of interrelated interdisciplinary panels:

Individual paper proposals must speak directly to one of these streams. Each stream aims to attract a wide range of scholarly and critical perspectives. Successful proposals will demonstrate the promise to advance new research or ideas relative to those topics. Members of the MSA Program Committee will vet these individual proposals and organize them into panels and roundtables as appropriate.

Submit individual paper proposals for panel streams by Friday, April 22, 2022 at MSA2022.EXORDO.COM. Include an abstract of the paper that is no more than 300 words and a professional bio of no more than 100 words.

Call for Workshop Proposals

Workshops focus on topics related to professional life, such as publishing, teaching, the job market, mid-career challenges and opportunities, research and the liberal arts college, and alternative/non-academic jobs. Popular workshops in previous years have been on topics including "What Do Presses Want from a First Book?," "Digital Approaches to Modernism," and "Critical Writing."

Workshops should be participatory in format and can be either 90 or 120 minutes in length. They may be entirely led by one person or may include a panel of experts. Please note that this call is for workshop leaders. Participants will register for workshops at the same time as conference registration.

Submit workshop proposals by Friday, April 22, 2022 at MSA2022.EXORDO.COM. Include a description of the workshop purpose and format that is no more than 300 words and a professional bio of each leader that is no more than 100 words each.

Call for Panel Proposals

Successful panel proposals will introduce topics that promise to expand research and debate on a topic, and will present a clear rationale for the papers' collective goal. Panel proposals that engage recent contentious research, exciting new approaches, or theoretical interventions into the field are encouraged. Topics are not limited to the conference theme. Please be sure to characterize in your proposal what each paper contributes individually to the session as well as how they fit together into a cohesive session.

Submit panel proposals by Friday, April 22, 2022 at MSA2022.EXORDO.COM. Include an abstract of no more than 500 words and a professional bio of each presenter that is no more than 100 words.

Call for Roundtable Proposals

All topics will be considered for roundtables. Unlike panels, which generally feature a sequence of 15-20-minute talks followed by discussion, roundtables gather a small group of participants around a shared concern in order to generate discussion among the participants and with the audience. To this end, instead of delivering full-length papers, participants are asked to deliver short position statements of no more than 10 minutes in response to questions distributed in advance by the organizer, or to take turns responding to prompts from the moderator. The bulk of the session should be devoted to discussion. No paper titles are listed in the program, only the names of participants.

Please bear in mind these guidelines:

Submit roundtable proposals by Friday, April 22, 2022 at MSA2022.EXORDO.COM. Include an abstract of no more than 500 words and a professional bio of each presenter that is no more than 100 words.

Call for Digital Exhibits and Posters

Reflecting the growing role of the digital humanities in modernist studies and the proliferation of innovative work that does not lend itself to presentation in the form of a scholarly paper, we invite proposals for digital exhibits and posters. Please address:

  1. The nature, design, and purpose of the project;
  2. How the project advances modernist studies; and
  3. How the presenters propose to exhibit and explain the project at the conference.

Be sure to list all participants and institutions involved in the project, and specify who among these would attend the conference.

Submit digital exhibit and poster session proposals by Friday, April 22, 2022 at MSA2022.EXORDO.COM. Include an abstract of no more than 500 words and a professional bio of each presenter that is no more than 100 words.

Conference Access

The MSA is committed to ensuring that all conference registrants will be able to participate in conference events.

We ask that all conference attendees give thought to questions of access and work with the conference organizers to create an event that is welcoming to the entire community of participants. All speakers should bring a least two paper copies of their presentation for distribution to attendees who would benefit from a reading copy.

If you would benefit from individual accommodations including, but not limited to, ASL translation, paper copies of session presentations, or large type documents, please contact Helen Southworth (helen@uoregon.edu)

Statement on Inclusion

The Modernist Studies Association supports the rights and dignity of all persons associated with our organization and conference. We hold that inclusivity, diversity, access, and equality are critical to the strength of our organization and the effectiveness of our academic mission. In the spirit of maintaining a welcoming and inclusive organization, we urge our participants to use individuals' preferred names and pronouns when introducing speakers and in citing their work or ideas.

Contact Information

Our Sponsors


College of Arts and Sciences
Department of English
Robert D. and Eve E. Horn Endowment
Oregon Humanities Center
Center for Environmental Futures
Creative Writing Program


The School of Writing, Literature, and Film