Cosmological Confluences in the 20th Century/MSA 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Margaret Greaves and Sumita Chakraborty/Emory University
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Cosmological Confluences in the 20th Century
Modernist Studies Association: November 6-9, 2014
Conference Theme: Confluence & Division
Pittsburgh, PA USA

We are interested in exploring astronomy in the twentieth century as a compelling framework for conceptualizing œ"imaginary homelands," to borrow Rushdie's phrase, or, to borrow Heaney's phrase, negotiating the sense of being "lost, / Unhappy and at home." Astronomical metaphors frequently appear in modernist and contemporary texts concerned with ideas of "home." Writers turn to astronomy to work through critical themes of the century: the universal versus the particular, temporal and cultural relativity, the overlap between the familiar and the frightening, and more. Ultimately, to connect our proposal to the conference theme, we see the discourse of astronomy as a way for authors to explore earthly divisions from the vantage point of astronomical divergence, with the goal of arriving at new forms of convergence. All critical perspectives welcome. Please email a 250-word abstract with a 1-page CV to Margaret Greaves at and Sumita Chakraborty at by 20 April 2014.