Adding to an expanding sense of what encompasses “institutions of modernism,” this panel proposes to examine the space of literary and cultural production that non-governmental organizations have occupied. If high modernist institutions have popularly been configured as networks of print matter, late modernist institutions can include forms that reflect technological change and the shifting global arena. The establishment of the United Nations in 1945 gave rise to the powerful institutional ideal of the modern day NGO. From the outset, NGOs with a literary or cultural focus, such as PEN, Amnesty International, and UNESCO, engaged in issues like censorship, literacy, and educational access, which were themselves issues imbricated with the post-war discourse of modernist influence.
This panel seeks proposals that critically examine the framework of these NGOs. While some NGOs promote a progressive platform, especially when it comes to issues such as human rights, literacy campaigns, and democratization, they can still perpetuate hegemonic discourses of literary forms and cultural hierarchies.
Paper topics may involve:
- Historicizing NGOs within the milieu of post-World War II politics
- Analyzing forms of knowledge produced by literary and cultural-focused NGOs
- Address the more recent NGO boom and its effect on the cultural politics of literary form
- Present a specific NGO in the context of a literary development
Differentiate between NGOs and other non-state actors (such as the Congress of Cultural Freedom or the Rockefeller Foundation) in light of one of the areas listed above
Please submit a 250-300 word abstract with a short bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1st.