Alternative Modernisms: An International, Interdisciplinary Conference

Cardiff University, 16-18 May 2013

About the Conference

This international, interdisciplinary conference aims to bring attention to critically neglected modernist texts, movements and forms, as well as considering the extent to which modernisms are themselves (an) alternative – to realism, tradition, mass culture, or even to each other.

The conference will also include the inaugural meeting of the new Welsh Network of Modernist Studies.

Keynote Speakers

Jean-Michel Rabaté is the Vartan Gregorian Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. A prolific literary critic and theorist, he has authored or edited more than thirty books on modernism, psychoanalysis, contemporary art, philosophy, and writers like Beckett, Pound and Joyce. Selected recent works include 1913: The Cradle of Modernism (2007), The Ethic of the Lie (2008), Being Given, 1 Degree Art, 2 Degrees Crime: Modernity, Murder and Mass Culture (2006). The Ghosts of Modernity has been republished in 2010. He is one of the founders and curators of Slought Foundation in Philadelphia (slouhgt.org); a managing editor of the Journal of Modern Literature; a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and president of the American Samuel Beckett Studies association. Currently, he is completing a book on Beckett and editing an anthology on modernism and literary theory, forthcoming in 2013.

Griselda Pollock is the Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory & History (CentreCATH) and Professor of Social & Critical Histories of Art in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. She is also currently the Pilkington Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester (2011-12) and was previously the Getty Visiting Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (2011). Her extensive interests encompass nineteenth to twenty-first century visual arts; feminist, queer and postcolonial cultural theory; cinema; cultural memory; and gender and the museum. Selected recent publications include: Allo-thanatography or Allo-auto-biography: A Few Thoughts on One Painting in Charlotte Salomon's Leben oder Theater? 1941-42 (2011); Encounters in the Visual Feminist Museum: Time, Space and the Archive (2007); Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and the Histories of Art (2003).

Ástráður Eysteinsson is Professor of Comparative Literature and (since 2008) Dean of the School of Humanities, University of Iceland. He has written extensively on theories of modernism and the avant-garde. He has also worked in the areas of translation (both as translator and scholar), cultural studies, island and place studies. Together with Vivian Liska, he edited the monumental two-volume Modernism (2007), for which they were awarded the 2008 MSA Book Prize. Other selected publications include The Concept of Modernism (1990), Umbrot. Bókmenntir og nútími (1999) [on literature and modernity] and, as editor, Translation – Theory and Practice (with Daniel Weissbort, 2006). With Eysteinn Thorvaldsson, he has translated a number of Kafka’s novels, short stories, diaries and letters into Icelandic.

Call for Papers

In recent years an increasing number of attempts have been made to widen the traditional modernist canon beyond Wyndham Lewis's white, Anglo-American, 'Men of 1914'. Work on women, LGBT and black modernists, as well as marketplace, magazine and middlebrow studies, have expanded the canon, and yet such 'alternative' modernisms are often studied and discussed in isolation, leading to a splintering of the field. This fragmented approach to modernist studies is in danger of not reflecting – or taking into account – the wider cultural and public sphere which modernisms existed in and engaged with. Furthermore, many modernisms, in particular national and regional forms and movements in Europe, still remain largely uncharted.

This conference attempts to provide a common forum for the exchange of ideas and examples across fields, disciplines and nationalities. It will give scholars an opportunity to explore both underexplored modern(ist) forms, mediums, texts, writers and artists, and the relationships between them, working towards a more holistic conception of how ‘alternative’ modernisms operated.

Indeed, the conference will consider the extent to which all modernisms can be viewed as part of a network of alternatives – to tradition, realism, representation, mass culture or even to each other. As such, the conference hopes to reassess – and problematize – modernisms’s approaches to the past, to modernity (or ‘modernities’), to other modernisms, and their position within modern culture, exploring new theories and approaches for studying modernisms.

Considering that Welsh modernism in particular still resides on the margins of British modernism – geographically and intellectually – Cardiff is the perfect place for such a reassessment. The conference will also host the inaugural meeting of the Welsh Network of Modernist Studies, a new umbrella organisation which will organise and promote interdisciplinary events that foster links between modernist scholars in Wales.

Submissions are invited that engage with all aspects of the title. Papers might include (but are not limited to):
  • Modernisms as alternatives to realism, representation, religion, tradition, linearity, mass culture, ‘grand narratives’ etc.
  • Modernism/modern(ist) thought as an alternative way of seeing/theorising the world
  • ‘Alternative’ modernisms – modernisms outside the modernist canon or mainstream, whether for reasons of race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, sexuality, class, geography, aesthetics, ideology, chronology etc.
  • Middlebrow or popular forms as an alternative to High Modernism
  • Alternative ideologies and aesthetics within the (retrospectively applied) field of modernism and the historical avant-garde – differences and contradictions in beliefs and approaches
  • Alternative ways of living/lifestyles by modernist figures
  • Alternative chronologies, definitions, canons or readings of modernism
  • Movement of modernism from an alternative to its contemporary position in the academic, artistic and literary mainstream canon.
Submissions are encouraged on all modern(ist) forms and disciplines, including art, design, fashion, film, literature, drama, music, performance and architecture, as well as modern theory and philosophy. We especially welcome interdisciplinary approaches, ranging across literary studies, history, cultural history, art history, philosophy and critical theory as well as other disciplines in the humanities.

Proposals for papers (20 minutes) should include the paper title; the delegate’s name, address and email; a summary of the proposed paper (300 words); and a short bio (100 words).

Proposals should be sent to modernisms@cardiff.ac.uk by 31 October 2012.

For the full call for papers, please click:

Call for Papers: Extended

CFP deadline extended until 31 December 2012

An announcement from the organisers: 'The initial call for papers deadline has now closed. Thank you to everyone who has submitted a proposal; we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. We have, however, had many requests for extra time to submit proposals, so we have decided to extend the deadline until the end of the year. The new deadline is now 31 December 2012. The CFP remains the same, but we are particularly looking for proposals on the visual arts, music, material culture and from Eastern Europe to supplement our already excellent submissions. We look forward to receiving your proposals!'

For more information:

Website: www.cf.ac.uk/encap/modernisms/conference.html
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alternativemodernisms
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AltModernisms