Call for papers: ‘Risk Anything!’: Modernist Women between Centre and Periphery, Sydney, April 2018

A new conference on Modernist women and risk will take place on April 6, 2018 at UNSW, Australia.

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”

– Katherine Mansfield, journal entry 14 October 1922

The peripatetic New Zealand modernist Katherine Mansfield wrote these words towards the end of her life, urging herself to be courageous, to pursue her creative convictions. Mansfield’s approach to life and work is an example of the countless creative women who embraced, employed and drove the modernist cultural experiment.

Nearly a century later, our own era is equally defined by contingency and risk, offering a unique opportunity to reflect on the history and legacies of creative behaviour that defines itself in terms of risk.

We invite proposals from scholars on topics relating to risk, women and modernist culture, and from female-identifying artists, writers and performers whose practice engages with the legacies of modernist women.

We especially welcome contributions focusing on women who have traversed the ‘risky’ division between centres of modernism – Britain, Europe, and the United States – and so-called ‘peripheries’. These may take the form of a 20-minute presentation/10-minute question format or a team-led 90 minute roundtable discussion or workshop format.

Risk may be interpreted in relation to:

●   Creative experimentation and the avant-garde

●   Cultural and gender norms

●   Sexuality

●   Reputation

●   Failure

●   Personal motivation

●   Finance/business

●   Danger – personal, political, social

●   Political struggle

Please send 250-word proposals for papers, roundtables or workshops, along with a 50-word bio to l.mayhew@griffith.edu.au by 31 January 2018. Responses will be distributed in early February.

Event organisers: Dr Baylee Brits (UNSW), Dr Louise R Mayhew (Griffith University) & Dr Helen Rydstrand (UNSW).

Keynote: A/Prof Natalya Lusty (The University of Sydney)