Modernist Writing and the Challenge of New Media (Modernist Studies Association Conference, October 6-9, 2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Justin Parks / University at Buffalo
contact email: 

This is a proposed panel for the 2011 Modernist Studies Association Conference. A complex network of complicities and parallelisms between writing and emerging media—photography, film, sound recording, and the like—have been associated with modernism, a period roughly analogous with Walter Benjamin's paradigmatic "age of mechanical reproduction" (or "technological reproducibility"). Modernist poets and novelists—Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Guillaume Apollinaire, Louis Zukofsky, H. D., Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, James Agee, John Dos Passos, and Richard Wright, just to name a few—often refer to and draw upon such media in formulating their own representational strategies. How do these media provide the technical, social, and aesthetic context within which modernist innovation takes place? How do such media confound distinctions within the arts between subjectivity and objectivity, between perception and language? How are they employed in representing racialized or gendered bodies? This panel seeks papers that trace, problematize, and generally scrutinize the uneasy alliance of writing with new, mechanized modes of inscription such as photography, film, and sound recording.

Please send 300-word abstracts to Justin Parks at by April 1, 2011. Presenters must be MSA members. Information about the conference can be found at: