Modernist Weddings – and three other MSA panels still seeking participants

With the MSA deadline extended to February 3rd, there’s still time to find a panel for this year’s event, to be held in Amsterdam, August 10-13. Check out our suggestions below.

Modernist Weddings

Work on modern(ist) weddings is invited for a proposed panel at the Modernist Studies Association conference in Amsterdam (August 10-13, 2017). The following are some of the questions animating the proposal:
• How did the wedding-as-event – and related figures such as the bride and groom – transform in the first decades of the twentieth century?
• In what ways did modern weddings express or counter the modernist impulse to innovate?
• How were representations of weddings marked by fantasies about changing gendered and sexual subject positions?
• What might images of modern weddings tell us about class and racial ambiguity?
• Can genealogies of influence be traced from the modernist period to the so-called “wedding-industrial complex” of today?
The panel is envisioned as interdisciplinary and primarily concerned with the mediation of weddings in genres that could include periodicals, conduct manuals, advertising, literature, visual art, film, and social scientific scholarship.
Please send a 150-word abstract, along with a 100-word biography, to Ilya Parkins ( by February 1, 2017. Feel free to contact Ilya with questions in advance of the deadline.

Rock and Modernism

In his 1961 article “On the Teaching of Modern Literature,” Lionel Trilling questioned the “educational propriety of [moderism’s] being studied in college,” since he thought it to be “the disenchantment of our culture with culture itself.” Teaching modernism became part of “the process we might call the socialization of the anti-social, or the acculturation of the anti-cultural, or the legitimization of the subversive.” While rock and roll had been around for six years, the earlier rock and roll stars–Little Richard, Elvis, Chuck Berry–lacked the cultural and aesthetic significance that the rock musicians emerging within the next few years following Trilling’s article would. Both rock music and modernism shocked their contemporaries by attacking the values, conventions, and status of the “official culture.” And both of these adversarial formations achieved moments of cultural significance before being legitimized by the official culture through the formation of canons, inclusion in museums, and academic study. Of course, great differences exist between rock and modernism–differences in history, nation, media, politics, audience, critics, to name a few.

This panel seeks papers that explore harmony or points of discord between modernism and rock music. Women scholars are particularly encouraged to submit.

Some possible paper topics might include:

*Influence of modernism on rock music/modernists as rock precursors
*Relation of modernity to rock and modernism
*Exploitation/exploration of technology and new media
*Drugs or altered states of consciousness
*Beats and/or jazz as intermediaries between rock and modernism
*Celebrity, marketing, and consumerism in rock and modernism
*Significance of film to rock and modernism
*Avant-garde vs. modernist aesthetics in rock
*Role of educational institutions
*Academic studies
*Legitimization: canons, museums, universities
*Race, gender, sexuality, class

Please send a brief bio and 250-word proposal to Rob Hurd ( by January 31, 2017.

First World War Today

As we experience social unrest accompanying the First World War’s centennial, what is the war’s legacy today?  “Oh What a Literary War,” Paul Fussell opined in the classic The Great War and Modern Memory, but contemporary studies of the First World War have expanded beyond literature to include media, theory, and material culture.

This panel invites papers considering the First World War’s participation in contemporary literary and cultural discourse. How has the war been portrayed in an evolving range of genres, especially graphic narratives, film, gothic, time travel, LGBTQ texts, etc.? What rituals of World War I memorialization and forgetting have survived or been newly created?  How are previously neglected or underrepresented groups (such as nurses, First Peoples, or colonial nations) gaining recognition in studies of the First World War, and what does this signify?  What choices have museums made in their curations of the First World War, and why? How is the material culture of the First World War (trench art, propaganda posters, etc.) becoming increasingly prominent in our understanding of the war? How has the First World War figured in recent post-colonial theory or debates concerning the modernist bildungsroman? How do different cultures reflect on the continuing geo-political effects of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement and partition of Ottoman Empire after 1923?

Please send a brief biography and 250 word proposal to Jane Fisher ( by Feb. 3.

Weak Modernism and the Periodical Form

Modernism’s historiography is often antithetical to the historical positivism of technical-industrial Modernity with its penchant for ordering historical events into a linear, progressive sequence, which prioritises the future-bound present as the summit of human achievement. The hegemony of the latter perspective in twentieth-century modernist studies, consolidated by triumphant or ‘breakthrough’ (Perloff, 1998) narratives of Modernism has undergone a paradigm shift in twenty-first century modernist studies towards what theorists have termed ‘weak modernism’ (Saint-Amour), which recuperates the centrifugal, plural and heterogeneous developments of modernist cultural expression.

That these facets of Modernism were perceived by those involved in its early manifestations is evident, for instance, in the Eliotic “historical sense” – “a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence” –, underpinning the reigniting of literary genealogies leading up to the present in Eliot’s Tradition and the Individual Talent, and Pound’s “Vortex”, which comprises “the energized past”, “All the past that is vital, all the past that is capable of living into the future” (Blast 1, 153). As well as revealing the underlying heterochronicity of modernist works, weak modernism underscores their heterogeneity, both through formal experimentation and through the re-enactment of past forms and genres which modernists like Eliot and Pound proposed and practiced.

Much of those practices occurred in periodicals, which, through their anthological nature, which reflects the diversity of modernist production, constitute privileged sites of excavation of the multiple temporalities and formal plurality attendant on modernist production. With this approach to the historiography of Modernism in mind, this panel examines instances of bi-directionality in early modernist periodicals, notably the comingling of avant- and arrièrre-garde tendencies, even in those periodicals with a markedly ‘make it new’ agenda. It explores the modernity of some of their anti-modernist production and the emergence of a ‘classicised modernism’ in some of them, as well as the relationship between the periodicals’ content and the aesthetic leanings of their directors or editors, who exercised a curatorial role in relation to competing contemporary trends. Finally, this panel speculates about the ways in which dissident models of history, temporality, sexuality, and gender find expression in the literary and visual production of early modernist periodicals.

Any expression of interest can be sent to Patrícia Taborda Silva and Maria José Canelo: