The Long Durée in Afro-Modernist Cinema and Literature

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MLA 2015 Panel Proposal

We solicit papers on afro-modernist literature and film that reveal the usefulness and limits of the long durée as an analytical tool. How do African American and other Black diasporic texts engage the dialectic between modernist aesthetics and philosophical concerns with history? Does this engagement allow to move beyond both the imperative of the present and the idea of origins? Some examples of how the temporal expansion is elaborated by modernist projects are Ralph Ellison's strategy of "diggin' in" the temporal layers of the architecture of Rome, the epic poems by Melvin Tolson, the diasporic cartography of Haile Gerima's films. How does this approach to the workings of history produce an alternative language to discuss the epistemologies of afro-modernism? Do these epistemologies foreground forms of historical agency and aesthetic innovation that resist the devouring inclusiveness of imperial centers? Send a 250-word abstract by March 15 to Sara Marzioli - and Cedric Tolliver -