MSA 16: The Other Senses of Modernism

full name / name of organization: 
Yaron Aronowicz/ Princeton University
contact email: 
yaronowi@princeton.edu

While there has been increasing attention to the senses more generally and to the ‘lower’ senses of smell, taste, and touch in recent years, it is pretty clear that most scholarship on modernism that focuses on sensation is visually (and to a lesser extent aurally) oriented. Attention to the visual in modernist scholarship has allowed us to ask important questions about surface and glamour, affect and image, the urban landscape and the commodity, race and sexuality. But our largely visual version of modernism has also, perhaps, not allowed us to conceptualize and encounter the other senses of modernism.

This panel seeks to open up new questions about literature and culture in the first half of the 20th century through attention to stimuli that isn’t, or isn’t only, visual. How might race feel different if we focused on representations of its tactile dimensions? How would we re-think modernist aesthetics through the glamour of perfume? What does cosmopolitanism taste like? By asking questions about representations of the other senses, this panel would seek to think of modernism differently - as, for example, engaging and even producing new forms of intimacy and sensation. Papers with a different of methodological commitments and concerns are very welcome, including theoretical work (engaging folks like Merleau-Ponty and Serres); archival work on material culture or marginalized texts; and work on modernism’s most canonical poetry and prose.

Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief bio to Yaron Aronowicz yaronowi@princeton.edu by May 2nd.

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
modernist studies
poetry
popular_culture
postcolonial
theatre
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond