due date March 20, 2012 "Modernism and the Circus" panel for Modernist Studies Association Oct 18-20, 2012 Las Vegas

full name / name of organization: 
Patricia E. Chu University at Albany-SUNY
contact email: 

MSA14 "Modernism and Spectacle"
October 18-20, 2012 Las Vegas

"Modernism and the Circus"
In keeping with the MSA 14 theme, this is a CFP for a panel on the significance of the circus to modernism. The circus has become almost synonymous with empty spectacle, disorganized activity, sensational distortions of human and animal form and popular amusement. At the same time the transport and organization required for moving a circus from town to town also seems to exemplify modernity's capacities for rationalization and its penetration of provincial regionalisms. The massive 3-ring American form emerged roughly in the late 1880s and peaked in the mid-1920s. In England and Europe, the development of the modern circus emerged from smaller and different traditions around the same time. The circus is referenced across the modernist arts, but to what end? How is the form or content of the circus spectacle part of modernism's modernity? Issues might include but are not limited to:
-the combination of modern performance technologies with older arts from vaudeville or music hall
-the combination of abstraction and specificity in the circus
-artificiality and performance; "freaks" and fake science
-"high" and "low" culture
-the circus in modernist visual arts and literatures
-circus in relation to rise of cinema
-animal and human forms and behaviors
-construction of the ethnic, racial and colonial

Please send *detailed* proposals with contact information by March 20, 2012 to pchu@albany.edu
Patricia E. Chu
University at Albany-SUNY