Reading Modernism in the Sixth Extinction: Call for papers for prospective Modernism/modernity Print Plus cluster

Reading Modernism in the Sixth Extinction

Prospective Modernism/modernity Print Plus cluster

Edited by Caroline Hovanec (Tampa) and Rachel Murray (Loughborough)

Abstracts due by 31 January, 2020

Call for Papers

We are living through the sixth mass extinction – a period of geological history in which species are dying out at up to 1000 times the normal rate. A 2019 UN report warned that as many as one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, and recent studies have reported staggering declines in biodiversity over the past fifty years. The causes are anthropogenic – human activities have led to habitat loss, global warming, introduced species, and other pressures on nonhuman species populations. News headlines abound with terms like ‘biological annihilation’ and ‘apocalypse’. The scale of these crises is difficult to capture in ordinary language, driving theorists to develop a new critical vocabulary which includes terms such as ‘ecocide’, ‘petroculture’, ‘Anthropocene’, ‘Capitalocene’, and ‘Plantationcene’. New academic disciplines – such as ‘Extinction Studies’ and ‘Anthropocene Studies’ – have sprung up in response, urging us to think about how the effects of environmental degradation are experienced, narrated, and resisted across a variety of cultural forms, and asking important questions about our place in, and obligations to, a more-than-human world (Bird Rose, van Dooren, Chrulew, 2017).

We seek papers for a cluster that would examine what it means to read modernism in these troubling times. How do modernist texts help us think about nonhuman species, animal vulnerability, geological scales, and more-than-human ethics? What might be gained from reading modernist texts through the lens of present environmental concerns? Submissions are invited to consider, but are not limited to:

  • Human-animal relations; non-human ethics; multispecies encounters
  • Invasive species; living things that are seen as unwelcome or out-of-place
  • Ideas of abundance and excess (too much life)
  • Representations of endangered or extinct species
  • Animal remains; specimens; fossils
  • The language of extinction; extinction as a linguistic phenomenon
  • Representations of invisible or newly visible lives
  • Modernist forms and techniques as a means of conceptualising extinction
  • The exploitation of animals and habitats; precursors to extinction
  • Reading extinction in a local, national, transnational, or global context
  • Ideas of scale, perspective, and deep time in relation to extinction
  • Narratives of decline, degeneration, or apocalypse
  • Narratives of resistance, resilience, or recovery
  • Extinction, technology and new media
  • Teaching modernism in the sixth extinction; the pedagogy of extinction

Please send a titled, 300-word abstract and a brief biography to and by 31 January, 2020. 6 to 8 contributors will be invited to submit essays of up to 5000 words, after which the entire cluster will be sent out for peer review.


Caroline Hovanec is Assistant Professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa. She is the author of Animal Subjects: Literature, Zoology, and British Modernism (Cambridge UP, 2018), as well as various essays on animal studies and environmental humanities.

Rachel Murray is a postdoctoral research fellow at Loughborough University. Her book, The Modernist Exoskeleton: Insects, War, Literary Form, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press.

MSA Brooklyn 2020

MSA Annual Conference: “Streets”

Hosted by the Modernist Studies Association

22-25 October 2020 | Brooklyn, New York

New York City has long been a stage for what Marshall Berman called “modernism in the streets,” a modernism that encompasses not only the speed and scale of modernity at large, but also the democratic energies of diasporas, migrant communities, and social movements that stake their claims at street level. MSA 2020 will consider the modernist street as a site of movement where the demand for new worlds has become legible in countless creative ways.

MSA 2020 will be held in downtown Brooklyn, at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, itself an inspiration for the painter Joseph Stella, photographer Walker Evans, and poets ranging from Hart Crane and Marianne Moore to Vladimir Mayakovsky and Federico García Lorca. A separate city until 1898, Brooklyn’s relations with the other four New York boroughs invite renewed reflection on questions of development at street level. In particular, Brooklyn, whose “ample hills” Walt Whitman extolled, has undergone a dramatic population shift in the new millennium. Though people of color still make up the majority of Brooklyn’s residents, gentrification has not only made parts of the borough financially out of reach for many, it has also turned a borough famous for its working class and ethnic neighborhoods into an international brand.

“Streets” is a capacious rubric, inviting new perspectives on modernist cultural production at a local and global scale. Streets can be imagined as a way of thinking; as sites of overlapping temporalities; as networks; and as material, populated places.

As part of the MSA’s initiative to promote a more diverse Association, the 2020 conference will feature five streams of interrelated interdisciplinary panels, more than any previous MSA conference. Each stream solicits proposals for individual papers and aims to draw speakers and audience members from constituencies historically underrepresented within MSA.

Keynote events will include a presentation by novelist Zadie Smith and a plenary roundtable on “The New York Sound,” featuring Daphne Brooks (Yale), Brent Edwards (Columbia), Sara Marcus (USC), and Elena Martinez (Bronx Music Heritage Center).

Proposal deadlines:

Individual Paper Proposals: due 20 March, 2020.

Seminar Proposals: due 7 February, 2020.

Workshop Proposals: due 24 April, 2020.

Panel Proposals: due 20 March, 2020.

Roundtable Proposals: due 20 March, 2020.

Digital Exhibits and Posters: due 24 April, 2020.

Full information: MSA Brooklyn 2020

MSA Research Travel Grant

The MSA is pleased to announce its 2019-20 Research Travel Grant program. These grants aim to help scholars of modernism conduct their research through visits to archives, collections, and other pertinent sites. Applications will be selected on the basis of the merit of the proposed research and demonstration of need. As this grant is supplementary to other sources of support, applicants should also apply for any available support from their home institutions and the target archives.

Purpose: The funding is designed to supplement other existing sources of support, enabling scholars to travel to archives or other pertinent sites to conduct original research. Scholars may apply for up to $1,000 in funding.

Eligibility: All scholars are eligible, regardless of stage of career, employment status, institutional affiliation, or lack thereof. However, preference will be given to members of the MSA, early career researchers, scholars in contingent academic positions, and those who have sought other sources of support for the proposed research. MSA Board members are not eligible to apply. Applicants may apply more than once, but preference will be given to those who have not been awarded a previous grant. All applicants must be members of the MSA before they can receive research travel grant funds.

Deadline: January 1, 2020

How to Apply: Submit a two-page CV and the application form (including 500-word research statement and short budget) to by January 1, 2020. The subject line of your email must read “MSA Travel Grant Application 2020.”

Applications will be judged by a committee comprised of three members of the MSA Board. Grants will be announced in early spring. All applicants will be notified.

Successful applicants will be asked to spend their funds within the 2020 calendar year and will be required to provide a 500-word research report for publication on the MSA website within one month of completing the research trip.

Full information and contact details: MSA Research Travel Grants

‘Beyond Time: Reading Eleanor Dark in 2020’ CFP

Hosted by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature

1-2 May 2020 | Sydney and Blue Mountains (NSW, Australia) 

Given Eleanor Dark’s signature experiment with temporality in the mid- century Australian novel, it is tempting to cite the timeliness of this call to address her rich body of work. However, this invitation is not merely timely, it is overdue. Overtime, urgent, arriving beyond and in excess of the appointed or expected time, we are more than ready for an expression of sustained and specialised work on Eleanor Dark.

Although Dark enjoyed critical and popular success in her lifetime, her key purchase in public memory has been anchored to her historical trilogy, which commenced with The Timeless Land in 1941. Her more recent critical profile has been generated in relation to assessments of her engagement with modernist aesthetics, and this has had the effect of securing her position as one of the pre-eminent Australian modernist novelists. Now, new critical frameworks offer exciting possibilities for reading Dark, so we invite participants to draw on a range of perspectives to rethink Dark’s body of work: its modernist mappings of place, time, body and/or self; its negotiations of literary value and readerships; its avant garde engagement; its mapping of gender and politics; its settler-colonial vision; its potential for decolonial thought; or the futurity of its archival re-imaginings. Critical frameworks may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • new modernisms;
  • transnational literary studies;
  • ecocritical studies;
  • decolonial methodologies;
  • literary, book and cultural history;
  • literary feminisms

Conference details
The first day of the symposium will be held at UNSW (Kensington) and will include papers on Eleanor Dark’s work. This will be followed by an optional day in the Blue Mountains on Saturday 2 May, when interested participants can choose to partake in visits and walks related to the Darks, assisted by scholars and archivists and including a visit to Varuna (details to be confirmed).

Submission of abstracts
We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers exploring key aspects of Dark’s work. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and accompanied by a biographical note. Please send your abstract to Dr Fiona Morrison (, including DARK at the start of the email title, by January 31, 2020.

Conference organisers
Dr Fiona Morrison (ASAL President), UNSW; Dr Brigid Rooney, University of Sydney; Dr Melinda Cooper, University of Sydney; Dr Meg Brayshaw, University of Sydney.

The Modernist Studies in Asia Network: Call for essays for Modernism/modernity Print Plus

Global Modernisms’ Other Empires

The Modernist Studies in Asia Network, Modernism/modernity Print Plus

The Modernist Studies in Asia Network seeks proposals for short, persuasive essays addressing “Global Modernisms’ Other Empires” for a prospective peer-reviewed cluster on Modernism/modernity’s Print Plus platform. While the New Modernist Studies has productively expanded the locations and timelines of modernism, many figures, literary works, and images central to this expansion continue to be drawn from the British and French Empires. Yet, some of the strongest and most contested sites of imperialism in the modernist period involved locations and imperial aspirations beyond Europe’s core empires. This cluster invites papers which consider how literary modernism records the entangled imperial legacies of these empires or investigate how inter-imperial entanglements contribute the uneven or unequal effects of modernity on modernism’s global emergence.

This cluster aims to expand understanding of the relationship between modernism, imperialism and the global by reconceptualizing how modernism engaged with entangled colonial networks in which Europe is influential, but not the sole player. Individual essays might focus on how the study of imperial modernisms engage postcolonial criticism to better understand literary modernism’s relation to the nexus of asymmetrical and multidirectional global power relations, or how the vestigial imperial ambitions of empires such as Japan, China, Ottoman Turkey, Russia, and the Portuguese register aesthetically. While we particularly welcome contributions that focus on modernisms with connections to the Asian continent, proposed papers need not be explicitly connected to Asia to be considered.

Papers should be in the spirit of a conference roundtable (2000-3000 words). We particularly welcome submissions that draw on the unique possibilities afforded by the digital setting of the Print Plus platform. For more on the platform see:

Please send a titled, 300-word abstract and a brief biography to by 1 December 2019. Contributors will be invited to submit essays, after which the entire cluster will be sent out for peer review.

For full information: The Modernist Studies in Asia Network CFPs

BAMS Essay Prize 2019

BAMS Essay Prize 2019

The British Association for Modernist Studies

The British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS) invites submissions for its annual essay prize for early career scholars. The winning essay will be published in Modernist Cultures, and the winner will also receive £250 of books.

The BAMS Essay Prize is open to any member of the British Association for Modernist Studies who is studying for a doctoral degree, or is within five years of receiving their doctoral award. You can join BAMS by following the link on our membership pages:

Essays are to be 7-9,000 wordsinclusive of footnotes and references.

The closing date for entries is 31 December 2019. The winner will be announced in early March 2020.

Essays can be on any subject in modernist studies (including anthropology, art history, cultural studies, ethnography, film studies, history, literature, musicology, philosophy, sociology, urban studies, and visual culture). Please see the editorial statement of Modernist Cultures for further information:

In the event that, in the judges’ opinion, the material submitted is not of a suitable standard for publication, no prize will be awarded.

Instructions to Entrants

Entries must be submitted electronically in Word or rtf format to and conform to the MHRA style guide.

Entrants should include a title page detailing their name, affiliation, e-mail address, and their doctoral status/ date of award; they should also make clear that the essay is a submission for the BAMS Essay Prize.

It is the responsibility of the entrant to secure permission for the reproduction of illustrations and quotation from copyrighted material.

Essays must not be under consideration elsewhere.

Enquiries about the prize may be directed to Tim Armstrong, Chair of the British Association for Modernist Studies, at

Full information: BAMS Essay Prize

Out Now: AMSN3 book – Modernist Work

We are pleased to announce the publication of a volume of essays drawn from 2016’s AMSN3 conference:

Modernist Work: Labor, Aesthetics, and the Work of Art

Edited by John Attridge & Helen Rydstrand

Through a wide-ranging selection of essays representing a variety of different media, national contexts and critical approaches, this volume provides a broad overview of the idea of work in modernism, considered in its aesthetic, theoretical, historical and political dimensions.

Several individual chapters discuss canonical figures, including Richard Strauss, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka and Gertrude Stein, but Modernist Work also addresses contexts that are chronologically and geographically foreign to the main stream of modernist studies, such as Swedish proletarian writing, Haitian nationalism and South African inheritors of Dada. Prominent historical themes include the ideas of class, revolution and the changing nature of women’s work, while more conceptual chapters explore topics including autonomy, inheritance, intention, failure and intimacy.

Modernist Work investigates an important but relatively neglected topic in modernist studies, demonstrating the central relevance of the concept of “work” to a diverse selection of writers and artists and opening up pathways for future research.


Table of contents

An Introduction to Modernist Work
John Attridge, University of New South Wales, Australia

I The Work of Art

1. The Absolute and the Impossible Work: Franz Kafka’s “The Burrow”
Robert Buch, University of New South Wales, Australia

2. Autonomy, Difficulty, and the Work of Literature in Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr and André Gide’s The Counterfeiters
Emmett Stinson, University of Newcastle, Australia

3. Mimesis and the Task of the Writer for Lawrence and Woolf
Helen Rydstrand, University of New South Wales, Australia 

II Artistic Labor

4. Richard Strauss at Work in His Works
David Larkin, University of Sydney, Australia

5. Stein’s Immaterial Labors
Kristin Grogan, St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, UK

6. Trace and Facture: Legacies of the “Ready-made” in Contemporary South African Art
Alison Kearney, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

III Representing Work and Workers 

7. Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo: Work, Inheritance, and Desert in the Modernist Novel
Evelyn Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong 

8. Magic, Modernity, and Women at Work
Caroline Webb, University of Newcastle, Australia 

9. The Disclosure of Work in the Poetry of Ron Silliman
Christopher Oakey, University of New South Wales, Australia 

IV Class Identity and Class Conflict 

10. Swedish Social Modernism: The Inward and Outward Turn in Eyvind Johnson’s Stad i ljus
Niklas Salmose, Linnaeus University, Sweden 

11. Percussion and Repercussion: The Haitian Revolution as Worker Uprising in Guy Endore’s Babouk (1934) and C. L. R. James’s Black Jacobins (1938)
Sascha Morrell, Monash University, Australia 

12. Domestic Holocaust: Michael Haneke’s Intractable Class War
Paul Sheehan, Macquarie University, Australia

Afterword: Work, Modernism, and Thinking Through the Aesthetic
Morag Shiach, Queen Mary University of London, UK



“Building on a productive pun on the concept of ‘work,’ Modernist Work explores the intersection between the changing organization of labor practices at the turn of the 20th century and shifts in the conception of the modernist work of art. This stimulating and wide-ranging collection makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the social and material transformations of work that underpin, enter into, and are contested by modernist aesthetic practice.” –  John Frow, Professor of English, University of Sydney, Australia

Modernist Work does what its title promises and puts the issue of labor back at the center of modernism studies. This enticing and stimulating collection of essays, bookended by a thorough introduction by John Attridge and a provocative afterword by Morag Shiach, tackles artistic labor and the work of art, but it also studies the modernist representation of labor(ers) and modernism’s vexed relation to class. This book will be invaluable reading to all those interested in the work, and play, of modernism.” –  Sascha Bru, Associate Professor of General and Comparative Literature, University of Leuven, Belgium

Modernist Work provides an important, incisive, and theoretically engaging corrective to the narrow periodization and post-critical hoopla afoot in modernist studies. The collection shows that work–in all its different senses, across many disciplines, engaged from a range of perspectives–is a key word for unlocking and understanding modernism’s riddled aesthetic legacies.” –  Aaron Jaffe, Frances Cushing Ervin Professor of English, Florida State University, USA

Symposium: INNER WORLDS: Gail Jones’ Fiction

Friday 21 June 2019, 9:30AM – 4:30PM

Female Orphan School, Room EZ.G.23, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University

Featuring papers by: Tony Hughes D’Aeth, Tanya Dalziell, Louise D’Arcens, James Gourley, Lou Jillett, Elizabeth McMahon, Fiona Morrison, Brigid Rooney, Meg Samuelson, Anthony Uhlmann.

For more info, visit the Other Worlds: Forms of World Literature website.

Bookings essential:

Alix Beeston: seminar at Western Sydney University, ‘Frozen in the Glassy, Bluestreaked Air: John Dos Passos’s Photographic Metropolis’

Frozen in the Glassy, Bluestreaked Air: John Dos Passos’s Photographic Metropolis

The experimental form of John Dos Passos’s first major novel, the episodic, multilinear Manhattan Transfer (1925), has long been understood in connection with the montage techniques of avant-garde cinema. But Dos Passos’s notes and drafts for the book reveal the ahistoricity of this analogy even as they offer up other spectatorial contexts for understanding its experimental form. I draw on new archival work in this paper, which interprets Manhattan Transfer’s serialised mode of narration and characterisation in line with the figuring of female bodies through the photographic apparatus of advertisement and celebrity ancillary to early-twentieth-century Broadway entertainments. By unpacking the image of Dos Passos’s central character, Ellen Thatcher, as a photograph, “frozen into a single gesture”, I account for Dos Passos’s critique of the dominations of the male gaze and the complicity of photographic technologies as mechanisms of social control in the modern city.

ALIX BEESTON is Lecturer in English at Cardiff University. This paper is drawn from her first book, In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen, which was published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. Her work appears or is forthcoming in PMLA, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Modernism/modernity, Arizona Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is also the author of Object Women, a digital art history project developed in partnership with the George Eastman Museum:

DATE: Friday 26 April

TIME: 11.00am – 12.30pm

LOCATION: Female Orphan School, conference room 1 (EZ.G.23), Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University

CHAIR: Lorraine Sim (WSRC)

All welcome. RSVP/info

New Zealand Modernist Studies Consortium 18 May 2019

The next meeting of the Modernist Studies Consortium will be hosted at Waikato. The meeting will take place Saturday 18 May 2019, in rooms N103 and N104. (These are in the Law Building on Hillcrest Rd.; maps will be sent out closer to the date.)

We’ll meet from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, with an hour for lunch. As usual, we welcome submissions for both short written works-in-progress that will be circulated in advance, and conference-style oral presentations. Please send confirmation of attendance, as well as proposals for submissions, to both:

Maebh Long ( and

Erin Carlston (