CFP: Modernism and its Italian Harbors

Associazione Italiana di Studi Nord-Americani/Italian Association for North American Studies

23rd AISNA Biennial Conference, Naples 24-26 September 2015

“Harbors: Flows and Migrations of Peoples, Cultures, and Ideas. The U.S. A. in/and the World.” 

CFP: Modernism and its Italian Harbors

I wanted to be sure to reach you;

though my ship was on the way it got caught

in some moorings. I am always tying up

and then deciding to depart. In storms and

at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide

around my fathomless arms, I am unable . . .

Frank O’Hara, “To the Harbormaster”

Modernism means a lot more than early twentieth-century  artistic experiments. Rediscovered in its planetarity (Friedman 2010),  the idea of modernism today conjures a kaleidoscope of possible connections, potential transits, actual displacements. The New Modernist Studies gives us a  geo-cultural concept  that extends in space and time (well beyond the reified divide between European modernism and creative production originating beyond Europe, as well as the standard chronological period between 1890 and 1945), points to an incessant movement of transnational circulation and translation (Mao & Walkowitz 2008; Berman 2012; Doyle 2005; Hayot 2012; Gallo 2010), and  reintroduces us to neglected intimacies between the aesthetic practice of the historical avant-gardes and contemporary philosophical-critical schools like theory (Ayers  2008; Ross 2008).

What is the role of Italy in this rich web of flows and migrations? What becomes of English-speaking modernism in/through Italy? Contributions are invited which explore  the possible Italian harbors of modernism’s migratory, transformative, and diasporic course. The term “harbor” here, in its literal and metaphorical meanings, is used to encourage  multiple venues of inquiry: a place, an idea, an author or a cluster of authors, an artifact, or anything which might provide a point of anchorage for  Anglophone  modernism, enabling it to circulate, produce, and thus appear anew and re-emerge– displaced– under the guise of  other and unforeseen forms, moods, affects,  movements, or ideas.

Please send 250 word abstracts, along with a brief biography,  to  the panel organizer:,  or  by June 3, 2015.

This panel has been approved. I’d love to hear from you!

Mena Mitrano

Adjunct Professor, Loyola University Chicago,  Rome Center

Editorial Board RSA Journal (Rivista di Studi Americani)

Via Massimi 114/A

00136 Rome, Italy