BAMS conference 2019

The BAMS conference 2019 ran successfully from 20-22 June 2019.  We will be back with another conference in 2021!

Troublesome_Modernisms_Title PINK

20–22 June 2019

Due to the ongoing Boycott at Senate House, the location for this event has relocated to the central London venues King’s College London and the St Bride Foundation. Further information about these locations to follow.

The CfP for the conference is now closed.   You can register for the conference here:

There is a separate registration page for A Modernist Review, an evening of music, dance and poetry in the glorious 19th century Chapel of King’s College London.  This costs £10 and is open to non-attendees:

The most recent version of the conference programme can be found here:

Keynote speakers:

Douglas Mao (Johns Hopkins), ‘Troubled’

Isabel Waidner (Roehampton), ‘We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff: Class, Queers, and the Avant-garde’

Douglas Mao is Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production (Princeton, 1998) and Fateful Beauty: Aesthetic Environments, Juvenile Development, and Literature 1860–1960 (Princeton, 2008). He is also the co-editor, with Rebecca Walkowitz, of Bad Modernisms (Duke, 2006) and the editor of the Longman Cultural Edition of E. M. Forster’s Howards End (2009). A former president of the Modernist Studies Association, he currently serves as Series Editor of Hopkins Studies in Modernism, as Senior Editor of ELH, and as a member of the editorial boards of Modernism/modernityTextual PracticeEnglish: the Journal of the English Association, and The Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies. His current projects – a study of utopia and justice and a collection on modernist studies – should see print in 2020.

Dr Isabel Waidner is a writer and critical theorist. Their books include We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff (2019), Gaudy Bauble (2017) and Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature (ed., 2018), published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe. Waidner’s articles, essays and short fictions have appeared in international journals including 3:AM, Cambridge Literary Review, Configurations, Gorse, The Happy Hypocrite, Tank Magazine and Tripwire. They are the co-curator of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Art (with Richard Porter), and a lecturer at University of Roehampton, London.



‘What effects of synergy or friction result when the many, sometimes contradictory, criteria of high modernism are tested against less evidently experimental texts by principal figures; against principal works by less well known or non-European artists; against texts that seem neither to be art or about art?’
– Douglas Mao and Rebecca Walkowitz

In troubled times, the BAMS International Conference 2019 proposes the theme of ‘Troublesome Modernisms’. The conference aims to take a fresh look at modernism’s capacity to, and for, trouble, to examine anew the multiple modes of modernist argumentation, contestation and dissent. What can we draw for the present from modernism’s troubled relationship with its own pasts, presents and futures, and how might we address our troubles with those aspects of the modernist project that sit uncomfortably with us today?

Inevitably this will include the troubling or scrutiny of the field of modernism from within. In particular, the conference is eager to mark and reflect on the reverberations of Douglas Mao’s and Rebecca Walkowitz’s groundbreaking Bad Modernisms (2006), a volume that questioned the limits of modernist studies, illuminating new avenues of critique by pressuring us to consider what and when we believe modernity to be, and whose creative and critical disruption continues to energise our field.

‘Troublesome Modernisms’ is interested in the notion of disorder, so central to our conceptions of modernity, but also in art that troubles our idea of modernism itself. The conference seeks to spark debate about how modernisms might have troubled contemporary writers, political thinkers, philosophers, artists and consumers; about how modernisms might not fit with themes or ideals prescribed by modernist studies; and about how works not immediately identifiable as modernist might afford new analyses of the relationship between art, culture and modernity. In all, ‘Troublesome Modernisms’ invites discussion of the ways in which modernisms might embody negativity, disorder, commotion, interruption, intrusion, insurgency and difficulty. How does modernism, in and through the lens of modernist studies, continue both to address trouble and to behave badly?

Attendance and fees
The conference is open to anyone, in any discipline, working on modernism. Prices for the conference, and details of how to pay, will appear shortly.

There is a reduced registration rate for BAMS members.

Current annual membership rates, which include a subscription to Modernist Cultures, are £50 standard; £40 student and unwaged; online-only standard £35; online-only student and unwaged £30.

For more information about BAMS membership, see:

We will be offering some bursaries to enable postgraduate members of BAMS to attend the conference.

Conference events
More news on events around the conference coming soon, but we are delighted to confirm details of a ‘Modernist Revue’ taking place on Friday 21 June, 6.308.30 pm:

Join us in the glorious 19th century Chapel of King’s College London for an evening of music, dance and poetry. This ‘Modernist Revue’ will include the premiere of live artist Deborah Pearson’s rendition of Hope Mirrlees’s 1919 ‘Paris: A Poem’, music from suffragette opera, Rhondda Rips it Up!, performed by Welsh National Opera singers Anna Dennis and Madeleine Shaw, a response to the Ballets Russes performed by Isabella McGuire Mayes and music by Germaine Tailleferre and Claude Debussy from the Virginia Woolf & Music project.   

Tickets are £10 and will be booked separately: details to follow.

The Revue will be followed by a drinks reception generously funded by the Department of English, King’s College London.

Organised by Clara Jones (KCL), Natasha Periyan (Kent) and Anna Snaith (KCL).