[Msa-discuss] CFP: Modernism’s Contemporary Affects

Alex Christie achris at uvic.ca
Thu Mar 10 18:46:26 EST 2016

Please see the following CFP from David James

Proposed Cluster for Modernism/modernity Print-Plus Platform

“Modernism’s Contemporary Affects”

David James, editor


Call for Abstracts

Modernism today seems more mobile than ever. Multiple moments have displaced accounts of modernism as a historically localizable set of movements. The field has radically expanded the spatial and temporal coordinates of what “modernist” production means on a global scale. But this will-to-expand modernism’s geohistorical portfolio, to liberate it from the perceived straightjackets of periodization, speaks to certain disciplinary desires that have received less critical reflection than the very concept to which they’re so passionately attached. For what might the longevity of modernism – reaching as it now does into the late twentieth and twenty-first century – reveal about the field’s current feelings about itself? Are there certain affective impulses behind the perpetuation of modernism as both an evaluative and interpretive rubric for reading contemporary culture, and what do those impulses say about our field’s own metacritical passion for sustaining modernism’s presence in times, places, and practices that have traditionally succeeded it? By the same token, how can modernism’s contemporary continuities be understood in relation to the affects it inspires or enables? At a time when debates about current tendencies in fiction, for instance, revolve around new conjunctions between affect and form – the so-called neuro-novel (Will Self; Ian McEwan); varieties of the “new sincerity” (Jennifer Egan; David Foster Wallace); the transcription of ethical perception into narrative style (Zadie Smith; J. M. Coetzee); the prominence of trauma at both domestic and world-historical scales as a motive for audacious experimentation (David Grossman; Eimear McBride) – what are the methodological risks and opportunities of placing these emergent modes in conversation with modernism? What are the critical stakes, in short, of soliciting modernism as a frame for these affectively dynamic and often devastating contemporaries?

Modernist studies has done far more to embrace than to inspect the interpretive and literary-historical inter-animation of modernism and the contemporary. This raises the question of whether modernism itself – thanks to its double-act today as a weakly periodized moment and a strongly evaluative term – can remain critically profitable when it becomes so historically portable. To what extent does this collective affection for modernism’s persistence actually forestall critical discourse on contemporary culture? This Modernism/modernity Print-Plus Platform will bring together a cluster of 6–8 short articles (approx. 3,000 words), and contributors are invited to propose essays that engage with the constellation of issues surrounding modernism’s temporal expansion as an affectively charged phenomenon: both in terms of why we might want to care about modernism’s chronological durability; and in terms of the evocatively affecting forms of contemporary artistic production that attract modernism as a category of aesthetic elevation and prestige. Contributions from all sectors of the field are welcome, with the view to initiating a multidisciplinary dialogue.


Submission Timelines

Please send abstracts for proposed essays to David James (Queen Mary, University of London) by 30 June 2016: d.james at qmul.ac.uk <mailto:d.james at qmul.ac.uk> 

Final essays (c.3,000 words) will be due by 1 December 2016


Dr. David James
Reader in Modern and Contemporary Literature
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary, University of London
www.sed.qmul.ac.uk/staff/jamesd.html <http://www.sed.qmul.ac.uk/staff/jamesd.html>

Now out: The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction since 1945 
www.cambridge.org/9781107562714 <http://www.cambridge.org/9781107562714> 

Series co-editor: Literature Now, Columbia University Press
http://cup.columbia.edu/series/literature-now <http://cup.columbia.edu/series/literature-now>
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