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Generation M: Resetting Modernist Time
full name / name of organization:
Generation M Group
Are Modernists aware of themselves as Modernists? Certainly, there is consciousness of shared enterprise – taking part in a “grrrreat littttterary period,” as one of Pound's memorable eruptions has it. Yet, even before period or style, comes the inevitable frame of shared generation. Before the “simultaneous order” of “the whole of literature of Europe from Homer,” as Eliot has it, the talented author must feel “his own generation in his bones.” The concept of generation – in the bones, beneath the skin, consumed and digested – serves to provide modernism with a vital undercarriage drawn from the human lifespan that continues to shape not least our own scholarly conceptions of “the movement,” and hence merits detailed examination.
To this end, our international two-day conference to be held at the University of Amsterdam is concerned with exploring, firstly, how exactly and why the generational note is struck by the writers and artists it helps to identify. Secondly and in contrast to recent trends away from Modernism as a qualitatively distinct cultural mode, we are interested in how the concept of “generation” can either help or hinder Modernist Studies. Thus we welcome not only case studies of individual texts or artifacts that deal with Modernism in generational terms, but also theoretical papers concerned with the role of generational (periodizing, temporal) thinking in modernist studies and historiography. We are interested in both big and small M modernism - that is the brand "Modernism" and the expanded version "modernity" in all its interdisciplinary, transnational, critical dimensions. We thus hope to bridge generation with periodicity and time as well as elicit the attention of those working in the fields of philosophy and critical theory.
As outcomes of the conference we envisage the establishment of an international transatlantic network called “Generation M” and the publication of selected contributions. While our thematic focus is obviously very much on the modernist period (including its periodization and time theories), we still also aim to link up, wherever possible, with already existing collaborations on the generation topic more broadly. In practical terms, the mini-conference format will be designed, above all, to foster in-depth critical dialogue and open, collaborative discussion. This means there will be no parallel sessions and presentation times will be 15-20 minutes with plenty of time for exchanges between presenters and attendees. To facilitate this interaction, we will ask participants for updated abstracts and handouts for pre-conference circulation a few weeks before the event.
Proposal deadline: December 15, 2011
Organizers: Rudolph Glitz (U of Amsterdam), Lois Cucullu (U of Minnesota), and Aaron Jaffe (U of Louisville)