CFP: Oceanic Modernism

3rd-5th February, 2016

The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji 

Keynote addresses from Prof. Susan Stanford Friedman (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Prof. Elizabeth DeLoughrey (University of California, Los Angeles)

Roundtable with Pacific writers, including Vanessa Griffen and Satendra Nandan.

In recent decades critics such as Susan Stanford Friedman, Arjun Appadurai, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Simon Gikandi, Laura Doyle and Laura Winkiel have reassessed the temporalities, spatialities and formal components of modernism and modernity. While hegemonic power structures in politics and literature played often decisive roles in shaping global modernisms, lines of influence predicated on models of core/periphery have been recognised as reductive. Previously dominant models of reception grounded on mimicry or delayed adoption are increasingly understood to devalue the creative agencies of global modernists. Instead, new frameworks of alternative modernities, multiple modernities, modernity at large, new world modernisms, geomodernisms, and transnational modernisms are enabling exploration of the multiplicity of modernist experiences, histories, and form.

When South Pacific writers such as Albert Wendt, Subramani, Vincent Eri, Satendra Nandan, Konai Helu Thaman, and Vanessa Griffen forged a new literature of Oceania, they gave voice to the lived reality of transnational Oceanic modernities by opening local narrative traditions to the experimentations of global modernisms. Their innovations and compromises created a writing of Oceanic modernity that disrupts reductive models of periodisation, influence or imitation, evincing relations that are, as Andreas Huyssen writes, ‘reciprocal though asymmetrical’. Recognising the multiplicity of responses to the ruptures and relations of modernity, and the importance of local contextualisation in comprehending global modernisms, this symposium is devoted to Oceanic Modernism, and the relationship between modernities and modernisms in the South Pacific.

This symposium brings together regional and international scholars to work towards an understanding of Oceanic Modernism that is detailed and coherent, without being uniform or conformist. In particular, the symposium seeks to examine the relationship between Oceanic works – literature, art, dance, architecture and so on – and the modernities from which these emerged, and the relationship between Oceanic works and other modernisms, however so defined. We invite papers on South Pacific works that address these and other related issues, and/or the relationship between Oceanic Modernism and the following:

  • Nationalism
  • Indigenisation
  • Form
  • Postcolonialism
  • Appropriation
  • Independence
  • Politics
  • Tradition
  • Location
  • Time/Space
  • Contingency

We welcome proposals for papers (not exceeding twenty minutes) and panels (maximum three speakers). Please submit your title and a proposal of 300 words to by 1st October, 2015.