CFP: The mood of modernism: affect/invention/concept (MSA 17)

We invite papers which explore  modernism not in its more visible, spectacular, and externalized manifestations, but rather in unforeseen points, junctures, landscapes, interstices and borders, including the juxtaposition of intellectual and private life, past and present, the life of the mind and divided, alternative, fragmented, patched up, or precarious lives. We encourage all sorts of contributions on the significance of modernism when it is revolutionary otherwise, in more silent, dispersed ways, or when modernism itself becomes an atmosphere or a mood, thus a concept that can do its work only if it captures something as elusive as mood.

For example, through repetition over time, how might aesthetic modernism transfer to the lives we live, and become present in them? Is it plausible to think of modernism as an atmosphere of one’s daily life in the present? When? How? Where?  Given the popularity and the expandability of modernism, doesn’t the concept itself raise the question of modernism as that of passage, transit, transmission? One, therefore, can imagine a geographical transit: an Anglo-American modernism that passes, let’s say, through Italian hermeticism to re-emerge, over  time, in all kinds of Anglo-American modernism’s others.  However, one might also imagine quite a different kind of transit, a less geographical and more atmospheric transit. This less spectacular modernism may be felt to be in the air when it  impacts on us in unforeseen ways, making waves of meaning (and meaningfulness) right in the middle of our daily lives, when past intellectual and aesthetic residues, introjected verbal and visual memories of ideas, sensations, and readings, combine with our local position to open up conceptual, theoretical, creative possibilities and potentialities. It’s like being between mountains and sea, suddenly released from the limits of the local to experience an ampler, more global belonging. How does affect for/from modernism flow into public research? What are the other, improper places of modernism?

The panel is open to anyone from any discipline who wishes to explore how modernist objects—archival, textual, musical, visual, mnestic, or other– enter daily life, create sustenance, and incite creativity, conceptual and of other kinds.

Please contact panel co-organizers to discuss ideas, or send a 250-word abstract, along with a brief biography, by April 5 to:

Carla Billitteri at and Mena Mitrano at, or