Mapping Mina Loy Studies in 2023

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Loughborough University / European University Institute / Leipzig University

Intro

In recent years, there has been a flurry of new interest in the work of Mina Loy (1882-1966) resulting in a steady output of monographs, new translations, and republications that present Loy from increasingly diverse perspectives. As Sarah Hayden writes in the introduction to the republication of Insel (2014) ‘there have been many Loys; more are emerging’.

In 2023 – 100 years after the initial publication of the Lunar Baedeker – it is time to survey the field and reflect on the past, present, and future of Loy scholarship. This symposium offers a space to connect and build community with other researchers of Loy, documenting the currents and trends that are emerging in the field. We hope to generate discussion and collaboration, finding possibilities for synthesis between different approaches and methods.

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Context:

Editorial and critical efforts of the 1980s and 1990s established the foundations of the field. Roger L. Conover’s expanded selections of the Lunar Baedeker (1982, 1996), Carolyn Burke’s biography (1996), and the first collection of scholarly essays edited by Maeera Shreiba and Keith Tuma (1998) all served to recover Loy from critical oblivion. What began as a project of feminist rediscovery has developed into a flourishing field in modernist studies, with a plethora of new publications emerging in the new millennium. These works covered a wide spectrum of issues such as avant-garde aesthetics and ideologies, feminism, transcultural exchange, intermediality, modernist selfhood, fashion and design. In the award-winning digital humanities project Mina Loy: Navigating the Avant-Garde, Suzanne W. Churchill, Linda Kinnahan, and Susan Rosenbaum have offered a particularly dynamic medium suitable for hosting work on Loy’s multimedia, collaborative, and networked oeuvre. 

This extension of scope was made possible by the increasing availability of previously neglected archival material. In 2011, Sara Crangle’s Stories and Essays of Mina Loy for the first time made many unpublished and (in some cases) unfinished texts accessible to a wider audience. In 2017, the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library digitised the Mina Loy Papers (YCAL MSS 6) in their entirety. Many of these texts played a key role in highlighting that Loy, who once declared she ‘never was a poet’, was indeed much more: a novelist, essayist, dramatist, painter, theorist, designer, and entrepreneur. 

With the increasing access to Loy’s artworks, through their reproduction in scholarly publications, her identity as an artist is beginning to receive more attention. The inclusion of her late assemblage ‘Househunting’ in the 2022 Venice Biennale, The Milk of Dreams curated by Cecilia Alemani, marked a significant occasion in which she was recognised amidst her avant-gardist peers. Momentum now develops towards the first retrospective, Mina Loy: Strangeness is Inevitable curated by Jennifer R. Gross at Bowdoin College’s Museum of Art (April – September 2023), which signals a shift towards her inclusion within art historical studies. Given the wealth and complexity of these new directions, Loy studies are now at a critical juncture. 

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About the symposium:

As an online symposium, this event seeks to reflect on current work in Loy studies. We invite short position papers (10 minutes) to be presented in a roundtable format. We hope this platform will establish connections between established dialogues and recent approaches, create a sense of community, and offer a platform for new projects.  

We are excited to announce that the event will end with a keynote roundtable with the team behind Navigating the Avant-Garde – Professor Suzanne W. Churchill, Professor Linda Kinnahan, and Professor Susan Rosenbaum – who will discuss the project and lead us in a collaborative, creative discussion to end the day on.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Editing and/or translating Loy, 
  • Loy in the archives
  • Intermediality, intertextuality, interdisciplinarity
  • Fashion and fashioning
  • Science and technology
  • Feminism, politics, ideology
  • The body and embodiment
  • Collaboration, confrontation
  • Transversal approaches to fin-de-siècle Victorianism, avant-gardism, transatlantic modernism
  • Metaphysics, philosophy, religion, spirituality 
  • Loy as an artist, entrepreneur, theorist

Please send a short abstract of c.250 words and c.100 bio to LoySymposium2023@gmail.com by 31st March 2023 [extended deadline]. Please also include your preferred time zone and any accessibility requirements. The online symposium will be held on Zoom, on the 4th August 2023.