CFP: [20th] Upcoming Special Issue: Reconceiving Regional Modernism

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Modern Fiction Studies
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Reconceiving Regional Modernism

Guest Editor: Scott Herring

Deadline for Submission: 1 July 2008


Over the last decade, there has been a decided turn to critical globality
in new modernist studies. Key words and phrases such as
“transnationalism,” “diaspora,” “cosmopolitanism,” “geomodernism,” and “the
global city” now direct much influential work in this burgeoning field.
Significantly less has been written, however, about what could be called
“regional modernism.” Regionalism has often been cast as an outdated and
effeminized literary mode that deracinated metropolitan modernisms defined
themselves against. When scholars have considered the role of regionalism
in twentieth-century literature, they often relegate it to isolated
geographies removed from larger global impulses. (In this regard Willa
Cather, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, and the Southern Agrarians
immediately come to mind.) Such a view paints a highly restricted picture
that neglects the vital interconnections of modernist queer regionalisms,
racial/ethnic regional modernisms, and the importance of “locality” to
modern literary thought.

This special issue invites contributions that rethink the relationship
between regionalist authors and modernist studies at global and local
levels. To do this work, essays might 1) explore tensions between the
supposed sophistication of metropolitan High Modernism and the “rusticity”
of the regional; 2) trouble the gendered relationship between
late-nineteenth-century regionalism and twentieth-century modernism; 3)
investigate the urban as a modern site of local color (or the regional as a
supreme site of global cosmopolitanism); 4) consider themes of soil, root,
metronormativity, nativism, antiurbanism, geo-assimilation, and locality;
5) address both the antinational or subnational potential of the regional
as well as its imperialist tendencies; 6) interrogate Afro-regionalism,
proletariat regionalism, or the suburbs as versions of regional modernity;
or 7) examine the afterlives of regional modernism in contemporary works of
fiction. This issue also invites fresh approaches to the canonical authors
mentioned above as it looks to expand the geographies of regional modernism
beyond the imaginaries of the US South, the Southwest, and the “heartland.”
 These possible topics are not meant to be exhaustive, and any novel
perspective on regionalism and modernism is welcome.

Essays should range from 20 to 30 pages in length (including notes) and
should follow the current edition of the MLA Style Manual. Please submit
two copies of the essay along with a cover sheet that lists author's name,
essay title, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Submissions
should be mailed to the Editors, MFS, Department of English, Purdue
University, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038. Queries should
be directed to Scott Herring (

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Received on Wed Oct 03 2007 - 14:05:47 EDT