GSA Conference, October 8-11, 2009, Washington D.C.
A common trope posits the aesthetic developments of modernism as a complex amalgam of a reaction against and an embrace of modernity. In other words, the avant-garde revolutions in painting, music, dance, architecture, and film derive from the artists’ engagement with their cultural, political, and social environment. Increased population density and subsequent urban development, popular culture, Fordism, advertisement and news media saturation, post-war anxieties, interests in socialism and fascism, unprecedented speed in communication and transportation all drive the modernist obsession with the ever-new in form and content and its rejection of a bourgeois aesthetic. To sum, despite a continued hesitancy to positively define either term, modernism or modernity, a general—if implicit—consensus in scholarship seems to place the two concepts in a linear and consequential relationship to one another. Modernity happened, and the modernists reacted.
This panel, however, would like to revisit German and Austrian modernism from a cultural studies approach, considering in particular how the developments described above might not only be modern but also modernist. This panel wishes to inquire, among others, how popular culture at the beginning of the twentieth century could be a reaction against a nineteenth-century bourgeois aesthetic, how urban development is a co-participant in modernist architecture, or how advertisement and media saturation create a culture of the ever-new. In other words, to what extent is modernism, not excepting those trends that wished to undercut the modern, merely another facet of modernity?
Please send 250-word abstracts by February 5, 2009, to Sarah McGaughey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gwyneth E. Cliver (email@example.com).
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