CFP 31 March: Waste and the Archive

Waste and the Archive

This proposed panel for MSA 18 will explore the relationship between waste and the archive in modernism. Concerns about waste pervaded the modern period: many high modernists sought to eradicate wasteful and excess language from their literary productions, while the rise of a consumer culture created increasing amounts of rubbish. Our idea of the modern archive has expanded too in recent years to include cultural productions such as the lowbrow, middlebrow, and popular culture: ‘trashy’ literature is now precious. Considering the conference’s theme of culture and industry, this panel seeks papers that examine the material and figurative excesses and waste created in modern cultural production and what kind of unofficial, portable, ad-hoc, and non-traditional archives these wastes and excesses produced in turn. From the detritus of a life, collected in the literary archive—scribblings, lists, works-in-progress—to things we might not consider cultural archives at all—rubbish, odors, food scraps—this panel will examine the possibilities of and anxieties surrounding modernist archives full of waste.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

–alternative archives: lowbrow and middlebrow, popular culture, non-literary archives

–thing theory, object studies, collectors, hoarders

–waste studies, recycling, environmental and natural archives

–portable archives, new technologies, data and information

–works-in-progress, leftovers, excesses, remains, overflow

–the politics of archives in relation to gender, racial, class, and sexual identities

Please submit paper proposals of no more than 250 words and a brief bio to laura.james@stonybrook.edu and r.m.bowler@keele.ac.uk by March 31 2016.