I’m putting together a panel proposal for this year’s Modernist Studies Association conference, which Boston University is co-hosting under the coordination of Carrie Preston.
The CFP, also posted at the MSA website, is copied below:
Wyndham Lewis’s Blast is perhaps the most famous modernist declaration of civil war: “We set Humour at Humour’s throat. / Stir up Civil War among peaceful apes.” Lewis himself was named after an eccentric English mercenary who fought in the U.S. Civil War (by his American father, a veteran of the same war), and he returns to the trope in his 1937 autobiography, Blasting and Bombardiering: “You will be astonished to find how like art is to war, I mean ‘modernist’ art…I have set out to show how war, art, civil war, strikes and coup d’état dovetail into each other.”
This panel proposes extending recent interest in the Spanish Civil War to a comparative, structural, and intertextual analysis of internecine modernism. How does sectional conflict reframe our understanding of nationalism and world war? Papers could return to well-known national narratives, identify less familiar histories of schism, or develop new transnational or inter-historical approaches.
Topics and approaches might include:
- global perspectives on southern modernism and the U.S. Civil War (what Winston Churchill described as the “least avoidable” conflict in history): reconsideration of Paul Giles’s 2003 statement that “returning so obsessively to the trauma of the Civil War indirectly asserts the primacy of traditional American ideals of federal unity and freedom”
- comparative perspectives on interwar schism: pro-fascist writing on the Spanish Civil War, or conflict in Finland (1918), Ireland (1922), Ecuador (1923), Nicaragua (1926), Mexico (1926), China (1927), Brazil (1932), Austria (1934)
- revisionary perspectives: civil war as precursor, corollary, or consequence of world war; World War I writing as literature of European Civil War
- competing narratives: civil war as revolution, insurrection, slave revolt, independence movement, pan-nationalism, regionalism
- new national allegories: partition, apartheid, secession, annexation, devolution, insurgency
- modernist factions: networks, coteries, clubs, troupes, unions, conferences, societies, federations
- modernism and transatlantic schism: the black Atlantic and double consciousness, Atlantic sectionalism, legacies of the English Civil Wars
- interdisciplinary frameworks: economic and imperial history; political science and international relations
- civil war in theory: Derrida’s “Declarations of Independence”; Nancy’s The Inoperative Community or Being Singular Plural; Agamben’s State of Exception; Butler on precarity, dispossession, gender trouble
Contact Ryan Weberling (email@example.com) to discuss possibilities for the panel, or send a 300-word paper proposal by April 10.