Roundtable: Periodization, Modernism(s), and Caribbean Literature (MSA 2019, Toronto)

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Modernist Studies Association
contact email: 

Call for Proposals
Roundtable: Rethinking Periodization, Modernism(s), and Caribbean Literature

Modernist Studies Association Conference
October 17-20, 2019
Toronto, ON

(Conference Theme: “Upheaval and Reconstruction”)

An expanding modernist studies has traced intersections between modernism/modernity and Caribbean literatures, as in Simon Gikandi’s Writing in Limbo (1992) and Mary Lou Emery’s Modernism, the Visual, and Caribbean Literature (2007). At the same time, scholarship in Caribbean studies has also rethought periodization and canonization, as in Alison Donnell’s Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature (2006) and Leah Rosenberg and J. Dillon Brown's Beyond Windrush collection (2015). As modernist studies continues to grapple with histories of modernity/coloniality, and as Caribbean studies increasingly turns to literature produced before World War II, this roundtable seeks to debate where, how, and why the intersection of these two fields becomes most fraught or productive, generating upheavals and reconstructions in either one. 

The roundtable format calls for position statements (rather than full papers) followed by discussion. The goal of this session is to generate a conversation about disciplinary categories, periodization, and methodology that also remains grounded in textual examples. Contributions that look beyond Caribbean writers that appear most often in modernist studies (such as Jean Rhys and Claude McKay) are of particular interest.

Contributions might address, but are not limited to:

  • Given modernist studies’ frequent emphasis on British, European, and US-American metropoles, how might Caribbean-centered texts across a variety of forms and genres offer a different portrait of literary experimentation in the early twentieth century?

  • How might understudied Caribbean literature of this period add to or complicate modernist studies approaches to modernity/coloniality, race, and/or diasporic internationalisms? Add to or complicate either field’s shifting, at-times competing notions of “modernism” as a period or aesthetic?

  • Institutional and disciplinary histories in both fields, aesthetic hierarchies in both fields, or political/ethical questions about how foundational concepts or practices in one field can or cannot apply to the other. 

Please email a 200-word description of your proposed contribution to the roundtable, as well as a short bio, to by February 15.