The Masks of Modernity: Un/covering Global Modernisms (Proposals due May 15)

full name / name of organization: 
Andrew Reynolds & Bonnie Roos

The Masks of Modernity: Un/covering Global Modernisms

Proposal deadline: May 15, 2011.

The success of Modernist studies is attributable in part to its early recognition of its global scope and ambitions. However, despite laudable attempts to engage cultural difference and cultural studies texts within the discipline, a disconnect remains between transatlantic Modernist studies and global modernisms proper—from Hispanic and Brazilian "Modernismos" to Asian Modernisms to African Modernist works. In the history of Modernism/Modernity, for example, only one article has ever addressed the Spanish American modernist tradition. Very few have included examples of Asian or African modernisms. Our proposed collection seeks to begin a conversation about global modernisms in the broadest and most comparative sense.

The theme of masks serves as a common ground for various global modernisms. From Japanese Kabuki masks, African spiritual masks, Mexican pre-Columbian masks, to the masks of Greek Theater, masks have played a prominent role in Modernist literary, cultural, and artistic discourses. We think of masks not only as a search for identity through connection with the past and incorporated into various works of the Modernist period, but also as a universal construct of modern existence, a simulacrum, representing that which we must be to survive, that which we aspire to be in our dreams, or that which we fear we truly are. In this sense, we might understand masks as a metaphor, a façade that serves to reveal, veil, or underscore the "truth," to describe the tensions and contradictions of Modernism in a given cultural context.

The proposed anthology will be produced in English, and seeks to explore representations of masks in Modernist texts in all of their varieties. Imaginative, interdisciplinary and cultural studies approaches are encouraged. Please email 300-500-word proposals and a brief biography by May 15 to Andrew Reynolds, or Bonnie Roos, Please forward as appropriate.

Possible topics might include (but are in no way limited to) the following:

• Masks in art, literature, cinema, dance, architecture, cultural studies, etc.
• The "Masking" of Eurocentrism through foreign experience and exoticized representations
• The use of fashion, kitsch and the everyday to "mask" artistic and literary intentionality
• The theme of masks and play as a Modernist trope
• Western vs. Non-Western masks during Modernism
• Modernism "masking" colonialist and imperialist regimes
• Masks as a part of ritual and performance in Modernist art and literature
• Masks and the intersection of art and the body during Modernism
• Visual and literary abstraction vs. realism through the use of masks
• "Masking" gender roles during Modernism
• The use of masks in folk traditions as represented in Modernism
• Psychoanalysis as a method of seeing behind the mask
• Robotics, Prosthesis or Cybernetics as masks of self
• "Passing" as a form of Modernist mask
• The mask as an iteration of the posthuman, decentered subject
• Masking as a representation/precursor of the collective mind
• Using masks to produce virtual and artificial spaces
• Costuming, cosmetics and design