[Msa-discuss] CFP: Modernist Setting

Hannah Freed-Thall hannah_freed-thall at brown.edu
Mon Sep 5 13:37:00 EDT 2016


*Call for Papers: “Modernist Setting”*

*Prospective cluster for the Modernism/modernity Print Plus platform*

*Edited by Hannah Freed-Thall and Dora Zhang*

*Proposed titles/abstracts: October 31, 2016*

*Brief essays due March 15, 2017*




This cluster of conference-length, theoretically-adventurous essays will
explore the concept of “setting” in the modernist context. Encompassing
physical space and geographical location as well as atmosphere, mood,
weather, tone, and other ambient phenomena of everyday life, setting has
tended to fade into the critical background. What happens if we approach
setting not as a secondary category, or mere inert backdrop, but as a
primary shaping force of literary and visual form?



Modernism reconfigures literary geography by venturing into a variety of
previously unrepresented spaces, from an outhouse in Dublin to a golf
course in Yoknapatawpha County to a plantation settlement village in
colonial Barbados. What is the relation between the formal concept of
“setting” and the geographical idea of “place”? And how is this relation
affected by the location of textual production itself, e.g. Western Europe,
Latin America, or the Pacific Rim?



The early twentieth century bore witness to theories of setting that are
now largely forgotten, including Hellpach on environmental psychology,
Ebeling on “space as membrane,” and Uexküll on “Umwelt.” How did these and
other such ideas bear on the cultural production of the period?



How do different media attune readers, spectators, or listeners to the mood
of a room, the humidity of a season, the quality of a light, or the
acoustic texture of a landscape? And how does the recent ecological turn in
criticism affect our understanding of literary space, enabling us for the
first time to perceive a climate, or even a geological epoch, as setting?



Papers should be balanced toward the inventive and the provocative, along
the lines of a virtual roundtable talk (2000-3000 word limit). Contributors
are especially encouraged to draw on the unique possibilities afforded by
the digital platform. Please send titles and 500-word abstracts to
dyzhang at berkeley.edu and *hannah_freed-thall at brown.edu
<hannah_freed-thall at brown.edu>* by October 31, 2016. 6-8 contributors will
be invited to submit essays by March 15, 2017, after which the entire
cluster will be sent out for peer review.
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