[Msa-discuss] CFP for MSA 18: Regional Modernism Beyond the Nation

Jace Gatzemeyer jpg224 at psu.edu
Tue Feb 9 21:12:26 EST 2016


CFP for MSA 18: Regional Modernism Beyond the Nation


This panel seeks papers on the convergence of 20th-century American
regionalism and modernism, especially in a transnational sense, for the MSA
18 conference, 17-20 November 2016, in Pasadena, California (
https://msa.press.jhu.edu/conferences/msa18/).

In his essay for The Cambridge Companion to American Modernism entitled
"Regionalism in American Modernism," John N. Duvall concedes that efforts
“to link regionalism to American modernism may seem, at first blush, a
perverse enterprise” (242). Indeed, modernist studies scholars have
commonly considered "modernist" and "regionalist" contradictory terms. Even
as important efforts have been made recently to mediate these terms,
including a special issue of Modern Fiction Studies devoted to "Regional
Modernism," scholarly work that brings the discourses of modernism and
regionalism into closer conversation remains urgent. This panel seeks
attempts to map out a space for early-20th-century American regionalist
fiction within modernist studies while exploring the transnational
possibilities of "regional modernism." More than just the quaint
local-color fiction of a previous generation, the regional modernist
fiction of the early 20th century might be understood, like the more
celebrated globe-trotting international modernism, as an attempt to reject
the nation-state as the normative organizational unit for American
community.

In the recent "spatial turn," with its transnational aspirations, modernist
studies have at times idealized the trans- without fully considering the
national. Modernist fiction, as Jon Hegglund asserts, does not simply
transcend this national attachment in the 20th century, rather it
continually mediates the scale of the national. Instead of putting forward
another spatial scale that outflanks the nation-state, what might be gained
by turning to modernist writing that negotiates national attachment and
seeks to think transnationally through the sub-national scale of the
region? Can we understand "regional modernism" as an attempt to imagine
America beyond the territorial nation-state, not through the globe-trotting
internationalism more commonly associated with modernism, but according to
its intra-national and sub-national distinctiveness? How might such a
regional modernism connect local communities beyond national boundaries to
non-US "American" spaces like those of the Caribbean, or Central and South
America?


Please send abstracts of 500 words or less and a brief bio statement by
March 15 to Jace Gatzemeyer (jpg224 at psu.edu). (Note: this is a special
session and not a guaranteed session).

Keywords: regional modernism, American regionalism, American modernism,
transnationalism
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