CFP: Modernism, Race, and Civil Rights (MLA 2017)

Please consider submitting a proposal for a roundtable presentation (5-10 minutes) for the MSA session at the 2017 MLA Convention in Philadelphia (January 5-8).

How does modernism anticipate, intersect with, or reflect upon struggles for racial equality and civil rights? How are the revolutionary aesthetics of modernist forms shaped by the resistance to the commodification of black lives? How might we reconsider canonical theories of modernism and the avant-garde in light of recent developments in critical black studies? What are the continuities between modernist and black radical thought, and between modernist aesthetics and the Black Arts Movement? How does a modernist literature construct intersectional solidarity across lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability? How might we rethink the genealogy of modernism if it culminates in radical black activism and the civil rights movement?


Possible topics include the afterlives of slavery, abolition, and/or reconstruction in political institutions, social relations, and cultural forms; periodizing American modernism between the Civil War and the civil rights movement; global, transnational perspectives on slavery, abolition, and civil/human rights; modernist aesthetics, politics, and critical race theory. Please send a 250-word abstract and brief cv to Michael LeMahieu ( by March 18, 2016.