Call for Papers for Proposed Panel:
MOSES AND MODERNISM
Modernist Studies Association
Annual Meeting, 1-4 November 2007 (Long Beach, CA)
At least since the first century C.E., authors and artists have invested the figure of Moses with extraordinary power and complexity. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Moses emerged as a figure of modernity, hovering between history and memory, between cultural purity and hybridity, and between linguistic expression and its limits. In the works of Sigmund Freud, Zora Neale Hurston, Arnold Schoenberg, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ahad Ha’Am and others, the biblical story of Moses is re-imagined in order to explore some of the most pressing questions at the heart of modernism: What are the relationships between the categories of race, culture and religion? How do “new” traditions of expression maintain memories of their origins? What are the distinctions between speechlessness and inexpressibility, and new forms of speech and expression? Can a culture (or cultural product) be “authentic” if it rejects purity and instead embraces hybridity? Is it possible for the powerless to become powerful without recapitulating the mistakes of their oppressors? Is it possible to recognize a shared hybridity and brokenness, or is this universal multiplicity a modernist myth constructed to counter-act the fictions of purity and wholeness? Finally, in keeping with the MSA 9 theme of “geographies,” how does the “passage” out of Egypt get refigured as a process of liberation, artistic expression and political enunciation?
Papers may focus on a single author/work or develop a comparative approach to the subject of “Moses and Modernism.”
*Please send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper to firstname.lastname@example.org before May 1, 2007.
*In your email, please be sure to include the following: name, paper title, institutional affiliations, disciplines, positions or titles, and contact information. Please also include a brief (2-3 sentence) scholarly biography. Thank you!
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