Call for Papers – Modernity Conference

Modernities in the Americas (1910-1970)

Université de Bourgogne (Dijon, France)

18-20 novembre 2015

Second Biennial Symposium of the Institut des Amériques (Pôle Nord-Est)

Plenary Speakers

Smaro Kamboureli (University of Toronto, Canada)

Bill Mohr (California State University, Long Beach, USA)

Claudio Cledson Novaes (Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Brazil)

Erica Segre (Trinity College, Cambridge, UK)

Call for papers —  Readdressing the question of modernity today, whether from the perspective of its literary, artistic, social or political inscriptions, amounts to using a plural designation and along with it a specific chronology. What modernity implies is that the concept of the modern be not limited to the diverse and often ambiguous meanings of the term modernism. “Modernity is not a movement, such as dada or imagism. If literary history decides that some movement, English or Spanish, is to be called modernism, the term immediately takes on a technical sense. It becomes stabilized. Its participation in modernity becomes merely fragmentary” (Meschonnic, p. 26).

The aim of this symposium will be to re-evaluate a multi-faceted and multilingual phenomenon across the whole cultural spectrum of the Americas, in constant interaction with Europe and with other regions of the world. Our concern will be neither to provide an entirely exhaustive nor specifically objective study, but to draw out the key features of the modern and the anti-modern in particular, either individually or in opposition to one another. “In the name of artistic radicalism and the concept of rupture” we “have set aside or chosen not to highlight a number of individual or collective expressions deemed hybrid, local, late or anti-modern” (Grenier, p. 16), and the same is true in areas other than art. In literature in particular, « only what is ancient has a chance at being modern or announcing modernity » (Casanova, p. 137). From this has stemmed the systematic search for ancestors of the modern in places as far removed as so-called « primitive » or indigenous societies. What is deemed « barbaric » or crude often appears more modern than civilization, as long as we refrain from folklore. A certain kind of realism is sometimes more modern than a form of anti-realism or « magic realism » that have been declared avant-garde. There is also the classicism of the modern , the product of its own repetiton » (Meschonnic, 82).

The undeniable differences but also coincidences between the Americas, whether anglophone, francophone, hispanophone or lusophone will undoubtedly bring to light the specific and common characteristics of each cultural area as well as their inner contradictory aesthetic and cultural decisions during the period stretching from 1910 to 1970, namely after Art Nouveau and after the invention of the « postmodern condition » (Lyotard). Lines of inquiry such as those concentrating on « exchanges between high culture and popular culture, the center and the periphery, formal research and social relevancy » (Gauthier, p. 33) should allow for a thorough mapping of modernity along continental scales.

Abstracts are welcome in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese. Deadline for abstracts : May 1, 2015.

Please send a 300-word abstract, along with a short biography, to all four members of the organizing committee.

Organizing Committee

Hélène Aji, Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La Défense, helene.aji@u-paris10.fr

Maria Graciete Bessemaria-graciete.besse@paris-sorbonne.fr

Paul-Henri Giraud, Université de Lille 3 Sciences humaines et sociales, paul-henri.giraud@univ-lille3.fr

Fiona McMahon, Université de Bourgogne, Fiona.McMahon@u-bourgogne.fr

Posted by University of Pennsylvania  February 20, 2015