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Networks of Modernism MSA 16 Pittsburgh Nov 6-9 [UPDATE]
full name / name of organization:
Matthew N. Hannah / University of Oregon
In his essay “What is a City?” (1937) Lewis Mumford describes the metropolis as “a related collection of primary groups and purposive associations” (93). His account of the city parallels twentieth-century conceptions of modernity as a vast grid of interconnected individuals. As the nineteenth century transitioned to the twentieth, populations increasingly congregated in massive metropolitan hubs that organized disparate individuals into a loosely constructed unity. For many, the city began to exemplify this vision of individual collectivity, all lines joining to a hub. Drawing on such a conception of urban life, Mabel Dodge described her perception of the new possibilities for collaboration in the twentieth century: “Looking back on it now, it seems as though everywhere, in that year of 1913, barriers went down and people reached other who had never been in touch before; there were all sorts of new ways to communicate, as well as new communications (39).
Attending to these connections provides a different avenue for approaching modernism. In the 2012 special issue of Modernism/Modernity “Mediamorphoses: Print Culture and Transatlantic/Transnational Public Sphere(s),” Ann Ardis outlines the approaches to modernism that many contemporary critics are taking: “The contributors to this special issue deepen our knowledge of transatlantic and transnational interactions and networks among writers, publishers, editors, artists, typographers, and craftsmen engaged in the production of print artifacts” (v-vi). In keeping with the conference theme of “Confluence and Division,” this panel seeks papers that address the collaborations and connections that characterized the networks of modernism. We will also consider how the network metaphor can open up productive new ways to approach modernism critically. Papers should approach modernism from the standpoint of multiplicity rather than focus on single authors, books, visual artists, or periodicals. Special attention will be given to post-doctoral applicants. Please send an abstract (250 words) with a short CV by April 21st to Matthew N. Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.