Global Modernism and Simultaneity

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
The University of Tokyo

Global Modernism and Simultaneity

The University of Tokyo

September 14-15




Josephine Park (UPenn)

Christopher Bush (Northwestern)


With a special talk by Peter D. McDonald (Oxford)


Simultaneity has long been an issue for modernist studies. For Fredric Jameson, for example, the spread of capitalism entails that every region of the world was gradually becoming part of a shared modernity; at the same time, the continuation of pre-modern understandings of time and social structures especially in rural areas meant that writers such as Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce were preoccupied by the non-simultaneity of the modern and the pre-modern. In East Asian Studies, the persistence of indigenous chronologies and intra-Asian genres into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continue to frustrate attempts to determine when modernity began in East Asia, and whether modernity in East Asia is more “Asian” or “Western.” Critics such as Antoine Compagnon and Harry Harootunian have noted that attempts to negate or overcome modernity by denying simultaneity are themselves quintessentially modern gestures in the West and East Asia alike, with the ideal of a timeless antimodernity functioning as modernity’s necessary other. 

Global modernism’s rise has put simultaneity to greater use. Global modernism has encouraged scholars to look beyond the familiar canon of Anglophone modernists and discover what was happening outside of North America and Western Europe from the end of the nineteenth century to the Second World War. This focus on simultaneity has brought greater attention to movements such as modanizumu,modernismo, Xin Wenhua Yundong, and Russian Symbolism, and to writers like Sagawa Chika, José Marti, Zhou Zuoren, and Andrei Bely. Simultaneity has also promised to provide a more robust understanding of modernism as a global movement and of each national modernist movement by placing even the most canonical texts in new, unexpected contexts.  

While these methods promise fresh perspectives on modernism in English and beyond, they also risk sacrificing specificity in the pursuit of the global as an open-ended and ultimately unknowable ideal, stretching “modernism” to accommodate anything and everything related to the “modern.” The outward expansion of modernist studies further hazards claiming as “modernist” those writers and groups who would be more productively described by unique, non-English terms and handled with more local methods. 

 We invite papers that address topics related to simultaneity, temporality, and the limits of the global in relation to modernist texts. What is the value of simultaneity for criticizing modern(ist) texts? How can simultaneity promote new ways of understanding not only modernist texts but the concept of modernism itself? What are the dangers and possibilities of global modernism, both for Western modernism(s) and for texts from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and South America? What role does translation play in reinforcing or weakening the sense of simultaneity between writers from different languages and regions? We welcome papers that address these questions in relation to modernist and modern literature at global and local scales. 


Topics may include but are not limited to: 


Comparative histories of modernism and modernity 

Simultaneity and non-simultaneity

Inter-Asian modernisms 

Alternative and Anti-modernities

Translation and simultaneity

Narrative time

Relay translations 

Simultaneity and imperialism

Simultaneity and war

Transnational media and contemporaneity

Multiple chronologies

Modernism and belatedness 


Please send proposals of approximately 200-250 words to by 31 March 2024. Participants will be notified in May 2024.


Conference Organizers


Ryan Johnson・Kazuki Inoue・Akiko Kawasumi・Kunio Shin


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