CFP: Moses and Modernism (5/1/07; MSA, 11/1/07-11/4/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Eliza Slavet
contact email:

-Call for Papers for Proposed Panel-

Modernist Studies Association
Annual Meeting, November 1-4, 2007 (Long Beach, CA)

At least since the first century C.E., authors and artists have
invested the figure of Moses with extraordinary power and complexity.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Moses emerged as
a figure of modernity, hovering between history and memory, between
cultural purity and hybridity, and between linguistic expression and
its limits. In the works of Sigmund Freud, Zora Neale Hurston, Arnold
Schoenberg, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ahad Ha’Am and others, the biblical
story of Moses is re-imagined in order to explore some of the most
pressing questions at the heart of modernism: What are the
relationships between the categories of race, culture and religion? How
do “new” traditions of expression maintain memories of their
origins? What are the distinctions between speechlessness and
inexpressibility, and new forms of speech and expression? Can a culture
(or cultural product) be “authentic” if it rejects purity and instead
embraces hybridity? Is it possible for the powerless to become powerful
without recapitulating the mistakes of their oppressors? Is it possible
to recognize a shared hybridity and brokenness, or is this universal
multiplicity a modernist myth constructed to counter-act the fictions
of purity and wholeness? Finally, in keeping with the MSA 9 theme of
“geographies,” how does the “passage” out of Egypt get refigured as a
process of liberation, artistic expression and political enunciation?

Papers may focus on a single author/work or develop a comparative
approach to the subject of “Moses and Modernism.” 

*Please send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper to Eliza Slavet
(eslavet AT before May 1, 2007.

*In your email, please be sure to include the following: name, paper
title, institutional affiliations, disciplines, positions or titles,
and contact information. Please also include a brief (2-3 sentence)
scholarly biography. Thank you!

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Received on Sun Apr 22 2007 - 14:50:34 EDT

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