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MSA 13: The Global Reach of Modernism and the "British World" (Buffalo, NY; 6-9 October, 2011)
full name / name of organization:
Modernist Studies Association
Recent landmark works in imperial historiography by such noteworthy scholars as John Darwin, James Belich, and Simon Potter have noted how conceptions of the British Empire began to change over the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Where before overseas migration to the colonies had born an innate stigma, the development of faster communication technologies, the expansion of international finance capital, and the emergence of a cultural sense of pan-Britishness all contributed to a reevaluation of the role of settler colonies within the British Empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this respect, this panel proposes to interrogate the role that new ideas about a dispersed “British world” played in the formation and institutionalization of modernism as a distinct cultural movement. To what extent did modernist-era notions of cultural difference and/or universalism rely on an imagined global space that was dependent upon, in dialogue with, or contaminated by notions of a decentered “British world”? How did ideas of a “British world” intersect with or diverge from other aspiring global movements, such as communism, pan-Africanism, and cosmopolitanism? How did the formal properties of modernist works engage with the peculiarities of semiperipheral dominions like South Africa, Australia, and Canada? And how does an attention to “British world” space impact upon our histories and geographies of modernism?
By placing modernism within an emerging “British world” space, this panel seeks to investigate both the commonalities and the divergences between historical scholarship on the “British world” and the “global” turn in modernist studies. Potential paper topics include (but are not limited to):
• Communications technologies and global space
Interested persons should submit a 300-word abstract and a brief CV to Matt Eatough (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 12, 2011.