[Msa-discuss] CFP MSA 19 Amsterdam (Extended Deadline Feb 2): Teaching Modernism in the Age of Brexit and Trump

Anthony Dotterman dotterman at adelphi.edu
Mon Jan 30 11:14:53 EST 2017


Apologies for the multiple emails.  I could still use an abstract or two
for the following roundtable at MSA 19 in Amsterdam.  If you are
interesting in participating, please email me your abstract no later than
February 2nd.



As Peter Gay explains in *Modernism: The Lure of Heresy*, “Fascists came
into power legally . . . They freely resorted to naked physical assaults on
politically inconvenient opponents; they labored to erase all traces of
modern feminism and trade unionism; they put the making of a new, higher
type of humanity on their program; they made increasingly exigent demands
on ordinary citizens, invading their privacy whether it involved sports or
music lessons, theatrical performances or art exhibitions” (Gay 433).
Indeed, modernity’s increasingly cosmopolitan societies, which cultivated
new ways of understanding the human condition, concurrently  produced
fascist governments elected in part by a fear of change—whether that change
was located in immigration, women’s roles, sexuality, etc.--and a growing
nostalgia and nationalism in response to this change.  In short, the
elements of fascism are a backlash against the more liberal tenets of
modernity.


While comparisons between historical fascism and contemporary political
issues are ideologically fraught affairs, often argued too hastily and
unreflectively, the tensions in contemporary society regarding progress and
nostalgia, truth and propaganda provide a rich opportunity for using
modernist texts in the classroom.  Additionally, recent controversies
regarding efforts by elite art and artists to critique the results of
democratic elections in Britain and the United States, and the sporadic
attempts to censor these critiques, remind modernist scholars of the prior
tensions between “mass cultural consumers [who] were seen to demonstrate
passive consumptive habits” and “defenders of high culture,” who equated
their aesthetic attitudes with “ethical culture, as they saw it” (Pease
168).


The following roundtable, then, invites modernist scholars to analyze
pedagogical intersections between themes of modernist texts and the
tensions produced by modernity. How does the present political and
rhetorical climate in the United States and Great Britain provide teachers
and scholars with fresh opportunities to utilize modernist texts? How might
the historical and aesthetic distance provided by modernist texts foster
classroom dialogue regarding the issues above rather than enabling its own
type of implicit academic censorship? Papers which examine intersections
between fascism and immigration, technology, sexuality, disability and
censorship are particularly welcome. Please email abstracts, along with
short bio, to Anthony Dotterman (Dotterman at Adelphi.edu) by

Anthony Dotterman, Ph.D
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