UPDATE: Modernist Manhattan
New York Institute of Technology's 8th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference:
March 2, 2012
NYIT's Manhattan Campus
16 W. 61st St. (12th Floor Auditorium)
The confirmed plenary speaker for this conference will be Marshall Berman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY.
Bryan Waterman, Associate Professor of English at New York University, will give an introductory presentation for the conference.
This interdisciplinary conference will look back on New York City of roughly 100 years ago, emphasizing the city's relation to concepts of modernism and modernity --considered broadly. We invite participants from all fields of study to focus on New York as (perhaps) a principal site of modernist visual art, literature, society, and politics, and to propose ways that the cultural life of the early twentieth century continues to influence the metropolis today.
New York experienced an eruption of technological and cultural change during the early decades of the 1900s. Movements ranging from the artistic to the avowedly political (unionism, cubism, communism, anarchism, imagism, capitalism, etc…) embraced, participated in, and reacted against the complex forces that converged in those years. New York City was the setting of cultural touchstones ranging from the 1913 Armory Show to the 1919 victory parade of the African American 369th Battalion, from Margaret Sanger's birth-control clinic (opened 1923) to the Depression-era Hoovervilles in Central Park, from anarchist rallies in Union Square to the 1929 Wall Street crash. This conference will examine such instances and developments, asking whether modernist New York should be considered a participant in an Anglo-European transatlantic cultural sea-change or whether the New York version of modernism should be articulated with a new set of coordinates and definitions (e.g., emergent globalisms and transatlanticisms, the impact of the Great Migration, the expanding consumer culture, the rise of the Harlem Renaissance).
Speakers, panelists, performers, and exhibitions from a variety of disciplines will address questions such as: What was "modernist" about New York City 100 years ago? What does "modernism" mean now? Does it still reverberate, and if so, how so? How did New York create or contribute to paradigms about modernism, or how does looking at New York undermine and challenge those paradigms?
Call for Papers
We welcome proposals for panels, individual papers, and other presentations and invite scholars to consider the following sub-topics:
• New critical readings of modernist-era works (literary, visual, architectural, etc.) for how they represent New York.
• European versus U.S. modernisms
• Modernism as a brand/New York as a brand
• Urban studies/urbanization/urban planning/real estate/city planning
• The widely varying disciplinary understandings of "modernism," "modernismo," "modernity," etc.
• The role of Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance in 1920s New York
• Narratives of immigration and ethnicity, especially those not associated with early 1900s New York
• The rise and fall of political movements such as socialism and anarchism, and their legacy in today's New York
• Visions of the future in modernist New York
• Multilingual culture
• Women's suffrage and the 19th Amendment
• Images and text in Depression and post-Depression realities
• The legacy of the 1929 Wall St. crash
• Freak shows in urban (and specifically Coney Island) culture
• New York as location for jazz, dance and pop music
• Modernism and its discontents/resistant texts and authors
• Comparative approaches to NYC and its environs, or to NYC and other major metropolises
• NYC neighborhoods in history and in transition
• Queer/LGBT modernisms of NYC
• Suburban and commuter culture
Papers will be 15-20 minutes and should be delivered in English.
Please send abstracts of 200-300 words and a 1-page vita by October 1st to
Proposals may be submitted individually or as complete panels.