Call for Papers
GRAAT one-day conference
May 16, 2008
Modernity and Modernism in fin-de-siecle Britain
Universite Francois Rabelais - Tours, France
The term modernity is used to describe a particular set of historical, cultural, economic and political conditions, and promotes – in opposition to tradition or community – a linear model of time and the abstract apparatus of the State. Modernism refers to the literary and aesthetic representations of, and responses to, those same historical conditions. Modernity is therefore the historical and cultural condition which makes modernism both necessary and possible. The synergy between the two concepts, however, is often resolved into a contradiction. Modernism often sits, that is, in a highly ambivalent, critical, subversive, relationship to the process of modernization: except when, through an enduring commitment to innovation, modernity shades back towards – in a new contradiction – the tradition of the modern, or indulges in a scientific or utopian discourse on the future revolution. And here, certain saesforms of progressive radicalism appear almost indistinguishable from elitist nostalgia.
The organisers invite proposals for twenty-minute papers on aspects of late-Victorian/Edwardian society
which foreground and explore these tensions. The aim is to encourage an interdisciplinary approach linking social and intellectual history with music,
architecture, the visual arts, and literature. Colleagues who work on British civilisation may want to consider the many confrontations between the forces of radicalism and reaction, the ambiguous positions taken up by some intellectuals in the development and reform of the British State and constitution, the
sometimes paradoxically conservative implications of
popular protest and emerging gender politics; or the many tensions and contradictions inherent in the status of Britain’s empire at this time, expanding, yet fragile, at once an instrument of social policy innovation and the locus of pride in the favoured
race. For colleagues working in literary studies the aesthetic movement and end-of-century “decadence” also provided a variety of opportunities to theorise ambivalence and subversion, contradiction and paradox.
The theme also allows those who may wish to bring together the historical and the literary, to explore modernity/modernism through a cultural approach.
Please send abstracts by February 2, 2008 to
Trevor Harris (email@example.com)
AND Stephanie Prevost (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AND Sebastien Salbayre
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