CFP: MSA Panel: Modernism and/as Refuge

This is a call for submissions to a proposed panel for MSA 2017, on the topic of “Modernism and/as Refuge”.

About the panel

Refuge, as a condition of displacement, seeking place, and placement, and the experience of moving oneself from a position of real or perceived harm to a position of real or perceived safety, interacts in complex and illuminating ways with perceptions of home and homelessness, belonging, citizenship, state and statelessness, personhood, language, loss, as well as with everyday practices and modes of dwelling, and the emotional and cognitive strategies used to configure the past, the present, and the future. Prompted by real historical transformations and mass displacements on an unprecedented scale, the notion/condition of refuge operated vigorously, if ambivalently, in the late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. The intensified discursive and experiential presence of refuge-related issues and actual refugees provided contexts, themes, and forms for modernist aesthetic production and thought, but it also shaped the development of the discourse of human rights, and culpability or accountability of political institutions as well as our understanding of activities such as translation, reading, collecting, transporting, aiding, and even recycling. This panel explores how refuge, material and abstract, thematic and formal, shaped modernist literature, art and thought. We invite papers that may address, but are not limited to, modernist representations and conceptualisations of the following categories, terms and relations:

  • mass displacement, political sovereignty, solidarity and aid
  • statelessness/foreignness
  • superfluity
  • dispossession
  • refuge and dwelling
  • transculturality and translation as the preconditions, provisions and sites of refuge
  • reading and writing as refugee activities
  • mobile libraries/collecting in transit
  • seeking refuge, finding refuge, and negotiating refuge in artistic practices
  • loss and refuge
  • language as home/refuge
  • the past (or the future) as refuge
  • refuge and radicalism
  • refugee mobilities and new canon formation
  • refugee/diasporic/exilic/ vs cosmopolitan modernisms

Please send 200-word abstracts with short biographical information to Vassiliki Kolocotroni ( and Sanja Bahun ( by 12 January 2017, 12noon