[Msa-discuss] CFP for MSA 18, 17-20 November 2016, in Pasadena, California

Valentina Montero-Roman vmontero at umich.edu
Thu Apr 7 13:12:58 EDT 2016

CFP for MSA 18, 17-20 November 2016, in Pasadena, California

Intersectional Multi-Ethnic Modernisms and the Politics of Negotiating Identities

In “Negotiating Caribbean Identities,” Stuart Hall writes about the centrality of language, narrative, and artistic creation to the development of a cultural identity that is also “a political quest.” In writing about Caribbean cultural identities, he says that even when “so-called political independence” occurred for the British Caribbean islands, “the cultural revolution of identity did not” because that revolution required “a whole people symbolically re-engag[ing] with an experience which enabled them to find a language in which they could re-tell and appropriate their own histories.” In his work, Hall references the influences of the Harlem Renaissance on this kind of negotiation of identity, and his comments describe a productive tension at the heart of black modernist literature. “One of the important things that the movement of the Harlem Renaissance did,” he argued, “was on the one hand to speak about the importance and the distinctiveness, the cultural and aesthetic distinctiveness of the black American contribution to American culture” but on the other hand to “stake a claim for American blacks in the centre and at the heart of modernism itself.”  Hall’s writing suggests that part of the powerful impact of the literature of the Harlem Renaissance was the ways in which it reflected the navigation and negotiation of a complex and fraught cultural identity politics. More specifically, his work urges us to understand the kind of cultural revolution that occurs through the writing, re-telling, and appropriating of (his)tories.  
This kind of search for a cultural identity that is also a political quest was happening in multiple communities and multiple transnational literatures at the beginning of the 20th century, and, increasingly, modernist scholars have taken up interest in deepening critical discussions of these multi-ethnic and comparative modernisms. This panel aims to build on this work by creating a space for critical conversations about intersectional multi-ethnic modernisms. In discussions about “culture industries,” this panel will explore how multi-ethnic modernist writing reflects the tension between staking a claim for alterity at the center of modernism at the same time that it pushes back against the fetishism that so often surrounded the publication and reception of multi-ethnic modernist writing at the beginning of the 20th century.

The papers in this panel might ask questions like the following:

-       What kinds of texts or methodologies could the term intersectional multi-ethnic modernisms open up for discussion? Or, is it already a term that needs revision?

-       How does modernist literature construct, reflect, or negotiate intersectional identities?  In what ways are the politics of negotiating identity made manifest in linguistic or narrative experimentation?

-       What are the critical or scholarly stakes of talking about the politics of negotiating identity in intersectional, multi-ethnic modernisms?

-       What kinds of alliance building can we see in intersectional multiethnic modernisms?  Or, what are the challenges to alliance building or cultural decolonization visible in the study of intersectional multiethnic modernisms?  


Please send a short statement describing the proposed paper and a brief bio statement

to Valentina Montero-Roman (vmontero at umich.edu) <mailto:vmontero at umich.edu)>. The deadline for proposals is 4/14.  (Note: this is a special session and not a guaranteed session).


For more information about MSA 2016 in Pasadena, here is the conference


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