CFP: Modernism Now! (UK 6/14)

Modernism Now!
BAMS International Conference
26–28 June 2014
Institute of English Studies
Senate House

Keynote Speakers:

Tyrus Miller (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Jacqueline Rose (Queen Mary, London)

Modernism Now! is a three-day international, interdisciplinary conference organised by the
British Association for Modernist Studies, designed to explore ‘modernism’ today. The
conference thus aims to discuss not only the past achievements of modernism but also to
consider its possible futures. In Modernism and Theory, Neil Levi has recently suggested that in
thinking about modernism we consider ‘the idea of a contemporary perpetuation of artistic
modernism’ and that we see ‘modernist works as events whose implications demand
continued investigation.’

Modernism Now! will explore these issues in two distinct ways:

* The conference aims to represent and reflect on the diversity of modernist studies today, and calls for papers assessing modernist writers, artists, texts and performances from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, methodological standpoints, and theoretical perspectives.
* Modernism Now! also wishes to explore the ongoing use of ‘modernism’ as a cultural, philosophical, and artistic category, analysing how and where modernism functions as a continuing aesthetic in the twenty-first century, across multiple disciplines, geographies, and traditions.

Topics might include (but are not restricted to):

* The idea of a contemporary modernism
* Modernist futures and legacies
* Past and previous modernisms
* Modernism as a continuing event
* Current debates in world literature and global modernist studies that stretch the historical/geographical framework of modernism
* The ‘nowness’ (Jetztzeit) of modernism; the new and the now
* Assessments of individual writers, artists, performers, texts, works of art that explore their status and relevance today
* Historical assessments of the term ‘modernism’
* New trends in modernist studies e.g. periodical studies
* Anachronism
* Disciplinary borders and boundaries around modernism today
* ‘Early’ and ‘late’ modernisms; periodising modernism
* Current theorisations of modernism as a social/cultural/philosophical/political category
* How modernism informs the practice of contemporary artists/writers/performers
* Modernism and the tradition of the avant-garde
*  Singular and plural modernism(s)

Proposals are welcomed for 20min papers, panels of 3-4 speakers, and focused round-tables
on particular topics. Proposals should be no longer than 250 words per individual paper and
should include a short biography for each speaker, including contact details.

Delegates must be members of BAMS in order to register. To become a member, go to

Proposals should be emailed to by January 31st 2014.

Conference Organising Committee

Dr Suzanne Hobson (Queen Mary, University of London)
Chris Mourant (King’s College London)
Dr Cathryn Setz (University of Oxford)
Professor Andrew Thacker (Nottingham Trent University)

Download pirated versions of Ulysses little late with the announcement that the Modernist Versions Project has released the first installment of the “pirated” version of Ulysses published in Two Worlds Monthly. Discovered in the archives of the University of Victoria library by J. Matthew Hucalak, the magazine published installments of Joyce’s novel in the US while its publication was still banned.  This digitization makes a significant contribution to Joyce studies and to periodical studies.

CFP: African American Expression in Print and Digital Culture (9/14 Madison, WI)

Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture: 2014 Conference
Call For Papers
African American Expression in Print and Digital Culture
September 19-21, 2014
Madison, WI

Recent scholarship has brought attention to the possibilities of disciplinary intersections of print and digital culture with African American studies. For example, Leon Jackson has suggested numerous “advantages to be gained from an alliance between book historians and scholars of African American cultures of print” (Book History 13, 2010). Recent edited collections like Cohen & Stein’s 2012 Early African American Print Culture and Hutchinson & Young’s 2013 Publishing Blackness are strong evidence in support of Jackson’s claim and the richness of the work to be done in this field. Continue reading

Modernist Magazines Research Seminar (10/10, London)

The Institute of English Studies in London begins an exciting new seminar series this month. The first session of the Modernist Magazines Research Seminar will be held Thursday 10 October at 6pm at Senate House, Room 234.

The meeting features Andrew Thacker (Nottingham Trent University) who will be leading the session on ‘Rhythm’. Attendees are encouraged to read the third issue of ‘Rhythm’, available online at the Modernist Journals Project website.

For more information about the seminar series, and to sign-up for its mailing list, please email: modernist.magazines.ies at

For full program details, please visit the seminar site.

Program for Remeditating the Avant-Garde

Here is the program for what looks to be a great conference at Princeton next month.

Remediating the Avant-Garde: Magazines and Digital Archives
Princeton University
October 25-26, 2013

This interdisciplinary conference will explore the conceptual and practical ground where traditional area studies, art history, periodical studies, digital humanities, computer science, and library and information science converge. We are interested in how these fields inform each other and challenge us to think in new ways, both as builders of digital resources and as scholars and teachers of avant-garde periodicals. Continue reading

Great digital collection of US ads on WWII, hygiene, & more

screenshot_01Duke University Libraries haa a great site for anyone interested in advertising in American magazines.  The image above is from the site.  Here’s their description:

The Ad*Access Project, funded by the Duke Endowment “Library 2000” Fund, presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Ad*Access concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II, providing a coherent view of a number of major campaigns and companies through images preserved in one particular advertising collection available at Duke University. The advertisements are from the J. Walter Thompson Company Competitive Advertisements Collection of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Nothing’s Shocking: The Importance of Digitized Newspapers and the Stupidity of Jonah Lehrer

Mag Mods tends to spend a lot of time on magazines, but it’s important to remember just how valuable a resource newspapers are for historical research into modernism (and, I guess, other stuff).  A couple of years ago, I was teaching a freshman seminar on taste.  We read a chapter out of Jonah Lehrer’s Proust Was a Neuroscientist one week, in which Lehrer basically argues that the reason there was a riot at the premiere of Le Sacre du printemps on May 29, 1913, was that the neurons of the brains of audience members could not process the music and, as a result, released large amounts of dopamine to quell their–the neurons’–anxiety, which ended up creating a kind of schizophrenic state in the audience.  In a nutshell, Lehrer’s argument was that Stravinsky’s modernist masterpiece literally drove the Paris audience mad.  For an audio version of this tale, complete with plenty of bullshit and errors, listen to it on Radiolab.

Lehrer, of course, was revealed this past year to be a bullshit journalist.  This seems to have been a big shock in some quarters, but anyone who read his past work, with its simplistic use of science to explain culture, with a modicum of skepticism would  have been ready for the revelations.  My freshman quickly picked up on the implausibility of his claims in the Stravinsky essay, and less than an hour of research in the digital archive of the London Times confirmed their skepticism.  Lehrer attributes the riot at the premier of the Rite to the formal qualities of the music.  If he’s right, then the music should have the same effect on any audience unprepared to listen to it.  However, as I discuss in a recent piece, the London premiere of Le Sacre went off with virtually no disturbance.  This was an audience who could not have been prepared for the performance by recordings, and yet, their neurons dwelt with the piece just fine.

So, what’s this have to do with newspapers?  If Lehrer and the many other critics who have celebrated the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring by nostalgically lamenting the glory days of modernism, when art could still shock, if they had just done a quick search of newspapers, they would have realized that the riot was basically a manufactured event, driven more by cultural and social tensions as well as marketing than by the so-called difficulty of Le Sacre.