[Msa-discuss] CFP: Race, Perception, and Modernist Spectacle (MSA 14)

Joshua Lam lam1jd at gmail.com
Fri Mar 16 19:38:11 EDT 2012

Proposed Panel on "Race, Perception, and Modernist Spectacle":

Gertrude Stein once wrote, “I believe in reality as Cezanne or Caliban
believe in it.” While scholars have exhaustively analyzed the relationship
between modernist literature and modern painting, they have been more
reluctant to take up the second reference. How does the modernist
enterprise exploit Caliban’s fraught and subjugated relation to reality?
How, in turn, do sexually threatening, “primitive,” and racialized figures
inform modernism’s preoccupations with perception and spectacle? This
proposed panel seeks papers that examine the intersections of race,
perception, and modernism. From W.E.B. DuBois’s “double consciousness” and
the primitivism of Stein, Picasso, and Carl Van Vechten to the spectacular
entertainments of the Harlem Renaissance and the “cinematic” modernisms of
Claude McKay and Jean Toomer, modernists frequently represent race and
perception as intertwined phenomena. How do philosophical, psychological,
and scientific modernisms instrumentalize or neglect race in their
discussions of mind and body? For what uses—questionable, laudable,
ideological—do modernists mobilize racial spectacles in their art? This
panel seeks papers dealing with any aspect of race, psychology, and
perception in the modernist era.

Please send 300-word abstracts to Joshua Lam at jdlam at buffalo.edu by April
1, 2012. This is a proposed panel, pending acceptance by the MSA. Please
visit the MSA website for more details about the 2012 conference (October
18-21, Las Vegas):

Joshua Lam

PhD Candidate, Department of English
Staff Editor, GSA Editorial Assistance
University at Buffalo (SUNY)
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