[UPDATE] DEADLINE EXTENDED: CFP: "Exile on Main Street: Fascism, Emigration, and the European Imagination in America"

full name / name of organization: 
The University of Chicago
contact email: 

Call for Papers:

Fascism, Emigration, and the European Imagination in America
Sixth Annual English Graduate Conference, University of Chicago
A joint conference between English Language & Literature and Art History
November 10-11, 2011

The rise of fascism in the 1930s fractured European modernist projects
across nations, schools, disciplines, and movements. While much work
has been done to recount this devastation through the trope of erasure
and loss, the narrative must also be understood as one of
resettlement. Fascist politics forced a generation of practitioners
into exile, transforming the artistic, literary, and intellectual
landscape of the western hemisphere.

As European thinkers and artists immigrated to America, they
encountered – willingly or not – a landscape that had previously
formed a key, mythical trope by which an emerging modernity was
imagined. The predominance of mass culture, a radically different
social topography, and a relative absence of an American avant-garde
tradition produced new forms of transmission and practice. This
conference will explore the dynamics of the encounter between European
modernism and an American cultural, economic, and geographic
modernity. It has long been evident that European émigrés informed
American cultural production, disciplinary and institutional
structure, and radical and conservative politics. How did this
material and intellectual collision preserve the modernist
imagination, while also transforming it?

We welcome 350 word abstracts on any topics bearing on the encounter
between European modernism and America in the wake of fascism.
Submissions should be sent via email to
exileonmainstreetconference@gmail.com in MS Word format by NEW

Possible topics include—

Art, Design, & Architecture
-Modernist formalism and American advertising (László Moholy-Nagy and
the Container
Corporation of America, Herbert Bayer and the Aspen project, Josef
Binder and the American war effort, Frederick Kiesler and store
-How New York stole the idea of modern art (abstract expressionism and legacies
of surrealism; Peggy Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and the
avant-garde in exhibition; Dada, Duchamp, and the neo-avant-garde)
-Reorganizing arts education in America (Walter Gropius at Harvard,
Josef Albers,
Josef Breitenbach, and Xanti Schawinski at Black Mountain College,
László Moholy-Nagy and György Kepes at the New Bauhaus/School of
Design, Eliel Saarinen at Cranbrook, Hans Hoffman at the Art Students
League in New York)
-Modernistic form (Art Deco and the International Style, Mies in
America, Richard Neutra
and Rudolph Schindler's California modern)
-Photography and photojournalism (Magnum, Life magazine)

-Popular fronts: European socialism and the American radical tradition
(Bertolt Brecht,
Heinrich Mann, Andre Breton)
-The crisis of modernism in California (Thomas Mann, Alfred Dublin,
Franz Werfel)
-Literary and artistic exile coteries in the U.S.; cross-fertilization
(NYC, L.A., Chicago)

Theater & Film
-Foreign directors and the golden age of Hollywood; rise of melodrama,
noir, and genre
film (Douglas Sirk, Fritz Lang, Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder)
-Method acting and epic theater; theater as political force (The
Dramatic Workshop at The
New School; Erwin Piscator, Carl Zuckmayer, Marlon Brando, Tennessee Williams)
-Expanded cinema in Hollywood (Oskar Fischinger's Allegreto, Salvador
Dali's work on

-Academicization of classical music (Second Viennese Circle; Milhaud)
-Radical cabaret meets jazz; film music (Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler,
George Gershwin)
-Avant-garde and the popular; jazz, atonality, post-impressionism, and
American minimalism
(Adorno, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud; Steve Reich, John
Cage, Philip Glass, Leon Kirchner)

-Reconstructing Jewish identity (Marc Chagall and Jacques Lipchitz)
-The rise of neo-orthodoxy (Reinhold Neibur and dialectical theology)

Critical Theory & Psychoanalysis
-The Frankfurt School and the dialectics of exile (Theodor Adorno, Max
Horkheimer, Ernst
Bloch, Leo Lowenthal, Berkeley Research Projects)
-Freudianism, ego psychology, and the history of psychoanalysis in America
(Eric Fromm, Erik Erikson, Wilhelm Reich, Ernst Kris)
-European intellectuals and the transition from Old Left to New Left
(Herbert Marcuse,
Hans Gerth, Surrealist Politics, SDS, Yippies)
-Radio sociology and birth of the state social science (Paul
Lazarsfeld, Kurt Lewin,
Hans Spier)

Academic Disciplinarity
-The New School for Social Research; critical theory and structuralism
in the U.S.
humanities and social sciences (University in Exile / École Libre Des
Hautes Études / Dramatic Workshop)
-Black Mountain College; European origins of American avant-garde
(Josef and Anni
Albers, Merce Cunningham, John Cage)
-The new shape of politics; politics and academia (Hannah Arendt, Hans
Morgantheu, Leo
Strauss, Neoconservatism)
-The rise of iconology and formalism in art history (Erwin Panofsky at
Princeton, Edgar
Wind at the University of Chicago H.W. Jansen, Richard Krautheimer,
Rudolf Wittkower)