[Msa-discuss] MSA 2019 CFP: How Red Is Modernism?

Matthew Gannon matthew.gannon at bc.edu
Sat Feb 23 17:00:07 EST 2019

Conference: MSA 2019, Toronto (October 17 – 20)
Panel Title: How Red Is Modernism?
Organizers: Matthew Gannon and Tavid Mulder

The perennial issue of the politics of modernism is in season once again.
We might now finally be in a position to leave behind the intransigent Cold
War opposition of political realism and apolitical modernism, opening the
possibility of reevaluating modernist politics. Mark Steven's recent book *Red
Modernism*, for instance, makes concrete historical connections between
leftist social and political events and the practices and theories of
literary modernism. Rather than avoid confronting modernism's right
wing—and even fascist—commitments, *Red Modernism* actively engages and
subverts modernism's reactionary tendencies with the aim, as Steven puts
it, "to plant a gigantic red flag atop modernism’s literary monuments."

Contemporary interpretations of T. S. Eliot are emblematic of this emergent
tendency to reframe the politics of modernism. Recent critics—including
Robert S. Lehman and Jewel Spears Brooker—have convincingly argued that
Eliot, despite his royalism and avowed conservatism, was a subtle
dialectical thinker attuned to history, and C. D. Blanton has gone so far
as to identify what he calls an "Eliotic Marxism." These critics, in
effect, uncover an affinity between the formal commitments of modernism and
critical theory's attention to the aesthetic as a privileged conceptual
medium for disclosing the contradictions of capitalism.

We invite papers that take up anew the old debate of modernism's politics,
or else respond to or intervene in the critical perspectives of today's
theorists of modernism's politics. Papers might also ask how these politics
assume different forms outside the metropolis. Panelists may also consider
how modernist politics acquire different valences before or after the
interwar moment. Modernism, politics, and aesthetics may be broadly
conceived in this panel.

Topics considered might be:
- Autonomy
- Commodification and fetishization
- The politics of time and temporality
- The ideology of the aesthetic and the ideology of modernism
- Historical connections between modernists and their political movements
- The politics of peripheral modernism
- Realism vs. modernism
- Proletarian modernism

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and a brief bio to Matthew Gannon (
matthew.gannon at bc.edu) and Tavid Mulder (tavid_mulder at brown.edu) by March
4, 2019.
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