"Modernism and the Folk: Beyond Primitivism," Graduate Student Conference, Rutgers – New Brunswick on March 23, 2012.

full name / name of organization: 
Mark DiGiacomo / Rutgers Modernist Studies Group
contact email: 

The Rutgers University Modernist Studies Group and the Americanist Colloquium announce "Modernism and the Folk: Beyond Primitivism," a transatlantic and interdisciplinary graduate student conference. This day-long event will take place at Rutgers – New Brunswick on March 23, 2012. Christopher Reed, Professor of English and Visual Studies at Penn State, will deliver the keynote lecture, "Bachelor Japanists."

We invite papers from across disciplines that examine the intersection of literary and artistic modernism and the seemingly opposed discourse of the folk. As modernism is increasingly subdivided into "many modernisms," is a similar subdivision happening with its folk or primitivist offshoots? How does a changing definition of modernism or an expanded canon alter our definition of such categories as the folk, the "primitive," and the avant-garde? How does it alter or expand our view of modernism and its others?

While we envision the conference as centering on the early twentieth century, we welcome proposals that challenge or expand the temporal boundaries of modernism. We also welcome papers that consider work written in languages other than English.

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

* The folk/avant-garde dialectic in literature, art, performance, and music
* Primtivism in its relationship to colonialism and imperialism
* Primitivism in an American context
* Theories of creole degeneracy and the "New World primitive"
* "Inner primitivism" and the "thin veneer" of civilization
* The power or potential of the folk
* The folk and the modernist project of renewal or revitalization
* The circulation of images, books, periodicals, films, radio
* The postcolonial critique of "primitivist" appropriation and problems with this critique
* The relationship between animism, vitalism, and "the new materialism"
* Fascism and the folk
* Ethnography, auto-ethnography, counter-ethnography
* Folklore and alternative histories
* The history of anthropology and folklore studies

Please submit a 250-word abstract to modernistfolk@gmail.com by Wednesday, November 30.

Sponsored by the Rutgers Modernism and Globalization Seminar Series, the Rutgers Graduate Student Association, the Rutgers Americanist Colloquium and the Rutgers Modernist Studies Group.