Regional Literary Cultures: Modernism and After, One-day Postgraduate Conference, University of Nottingham 14-15 April 2011

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Centre for Regional Literature and Culture, University of Nottingham
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Call for Papers: One-day Postgraduate Conference
Regional Literary Cultures: Modernism and After
University of Nottingham, 14-15 April 2011

Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Prof. Luke Gibbons (NUI Maynooth)
Prof. Dominic Head (University of Nottingham)

Paper submissions of 20 minutes are invited for this one-day postgraduate conference hosted by the Centre for Regional Literature and Culture at the University of Nottingham on 14 April 2011. The event will be followed by a one-day symposium of invited speakers, including Prof. Patrick McGuinness (University of Oxford), Prof. Andrew Thacker (De Montfort University), and Dr Nadine Holdsworth (University of Warwick).

Recent critical work on regionalism in literature has sought to reassess both its scope and its continuing importance over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For instance, Scott Herring has recently emphasised ‘the importance of locality to modernism’s world-imaginary’, echoing Raymond Williams’s call for the equation between modernism and the metropolitan to be reassessed.

This collocation of locality and modernity can be seen in the fictions of, among others, D.H. Lawrence, Storm Jameson, George Moore, Caradoc Evans, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Even James Joyce’s Ulysses derives its cosmological universalism from a microscopic attention to the local details of its provincial urban setting. In the post-war period, the currency of regional themes in British fiction is apparent in novels by writers like Alan Sillitoe, Muriel Spark, Raymond Williams, Graham Swift, Pat Barker, and Jim Crace.

A similar richness of interests in ideas of place and intra-national identities can be found in the late modernist poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid, David Jones, and Basil Bunting, and Patrick Kavanagh’s advocacy of the ‘poetry of the parish’ has also had a wide and lasting influence. Regional themes, settings, and dialects strongly colour the work of Ted Hughes, R.S. Thomas, George Mackay Brown, Paul Muldoon, Gillian Clarke, and Roy Fisher, amongst many others. In the work of a younger generation of poets and novelists there is a striking convergence between local experience and the pressure of international contexts and relations.

British and Irish drama saw a resurgence of local pride at the start of the twentieth century. From 1904, the acting and play-writing energies of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre were emulated by a number of other regional repertory theatres in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast. And in recent years, companies including Theatre Workshop, Druid, Kneehigh, and Field Day have attempted to stage work that speaks to audiences away from the usual centres of theatrical power and influence.

It will be the purpose of this symposium to explore the variety and diversity of expressions given to regionalism in British and Irish literature and culture during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular emphasis upon modernism and its after-effects. Contributors are also encouraged to consider the intersections and conversations that occur between regionalism, nationalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism.

We would therefore welcome papers on a wide variety of themes and topics, such as:
• The locations of modernism
• Regional literary geographies
• Regionalism, form, and language
• Archipelagic relations and the cultures of the ‘Four Nations’
• Gender and regional identity
• Writing, reading, and the poetics of place
• Regionalism and globalisation
• The politics of regional cultures
• Critical genealogies of ‘regionalism’
• Mapping and cultural cartographies
• The phenomenology of the ‘local’
• ‘Parochialism’ and ‘provincialism’ in contemporary writing

Please submit an abstract of 300 words to by 28th January 2011, ensuring that you include the following details: your name; your affiliation; your email address; the title of your paper.

We are also able to offer one bursary of £100 towards the costs of fees, travel, and accommodation for the conference. If you wish to apply for this bursary, please also submit a statement of 500 words explaining how your current research engages with the themes of the conference. This should also arrive no later than 28th January 2011.

The conference fee will be £50 for both days. Please note that this does not include accommodation.

Conference organisers: Dr Neal Alexander and Dr James Moran

cfp categories: 
modernist studies