CFPs: Conferences

New Australian Modernities: Antigone Kefala and Australian Migrant Aesthetics

ASAL 2019 mini-conference, 15 March 2019, UNSW

This symposium works from the premise that a key Australian literary and aesthetic modernity begins at the mid-twentieth century with the arrival of refugees from the Displaced Persons camps of post-war Europe, and continues through the many subsequent waves of arrivals. It aims to provoke consideration of the wider significance of what were termed “New Australian” arrivals to the intellectual and cultural life of the nation from the mid-century, as an alternative reading of the Australian modernist project in terms of Sneja Gunew’s 1983 designation of migrant writing as a Derridean “dangerous supplement” to Australian literature.

Within this configuration of New Australian Modernities, the symposium invites contributors to examine the important work of Antigone Kefala. Kefala is a significant Australian author who has produced more than a dozen acclaimed works including novels, novellas and poetry. Her significance was acknowledged by the award in 2017 of the Judith Wright Calanthe Poetry Award for her most recent collection Fragments (Giramondo) in the Queensland Literary Awards. A collection of critical writing about her work over four decades was published in 2009 in Antigone Kefala: A Writers Journey (Owl Publishing). This collection brought the range and significance of Kefala’s work back into public view. A decade later, this symposium invites new consideration of Kefala’s work. Contributors are invited to approach her writing in terms of the history of writing by non-Anglo writers in Australia, and also in the context of the recent upsurge of interest in writers from diverse backgrounds. We also invite contributors to explore the milieus within which Kefala worked, and the networks of other artists and writers with whom she was connected.

Convenors: Brigitta Olubas and Elizabeth McMahon
Keynote Speaker: Sneja Gunew

Please send abstracts by 30 September 2018 to: Brigitta Olubas with the subject line: ASAL19KEFALA.


‘Literature, Law and Psychoanalysis, 1890–1950’

11–13 April 2019 | University of Sheffield

Keynote speakers: Ravit Reichman (Brown University) | Lizzie Seal (Sussex) | Victoria Stewart (Leicester)

The twentieth-century was a period of worldwide literary experiment, of scientific developments and of worldwide conflict. These changes demanded a rethinking not merely of psychological subjectivity, but also of what it meant to be subject to the law and to punishment. This two-day conference aims to explore relationships between literature, law and psychoanalysis during the period 1890-1950, allowing productive mixing of canonical and popular literature and also encouraging interdisciplinary conversations between different fields of study.

The period examined by the conference included: developments in Freudian psychoanalysis and its branching in other directions; the founding of criminology; continuing campaigns and reforms around the death penalty; landmark modernist publications; the ‘Golden Age’ of detective fiction; and multiple sensational trials (Wilde, Crippen, Casement, Leopold and Loeb, to name but a few). Freud’s followers, like Theodor Reik and Hans Sachs, would publish work on criminal law and the death penalty; psychoanalysts were sought after as expert witnesses; novelists like Elizabeth Bowen would serve on a Royal Commission investigating capital punishment; while Gladys Mitchell invented the character of Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley as a literary detective-psychoanalyst.

We therefore hope to consider areas including literature’s connection with historical debates around crime and punishment; literature and authors on trial and/or on the ‘psychiatrist’s couch’; and literature’s effect on debates about human rights. The event is linked to and partly supported by an AHRC project on literature, psychoanalysis and the death penalty, but the aim of this conference is much wider. Interdisciplinary approaches, especially from fields such as psychoanalysis, philosophy, law or the visual arts, are particularly encouraged. We also welcome papers on international legal systems and texts. All responses are welcome and the scope of our interdisciplinary interests is flexible, with room in the planned programme for strands of work that might be more or less literary.

For more info see:

Please send 250 word paper proposals or 300 word proposals for fully formed panels to organiser, Katherine Ebury by 28 November 2018.


Modernism in the Home

1–2 July 2019 | University of Birmingham

Keynote speakers: Professor Morag Shiach (Queen Mary University) | Professor Barbara Penner (The Bartlett School of Architecture)

Studies of modernism and the home are wide-ranging; this international conference will reflect the broad scope of research, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue between literary, arts and cultural sectors. The conference invites scholars to interrogate the historical, theoretical and thematic intersections occurring in the domestic sphere in the early twentieth century. Panellists are invited to reconsider and discuss the aesthetic, social, political, technological, artistic, scientific, cultural and textual relationship between modernism and the home, in a global context.

Classic anti-domestic rhetorics of modernity have often aligned the domestic with the private, designating it a lesser to the democratic, masculine and thoroughly ‘modern’ public sphere. With its cries of ‘Make it New!’, modernism staged a bold protest against the constraints of Victorian domesticity. Yet as contemporary re-evaluations by scholars such as Chiara Briganti, Barbara Penner, Morag Shiach, Kathy Mezei, Clair Wills and Victoria Rosner suggest, the home remains a crucial space for the interrogation of our cultural relationships with technology, class, race, sexuality, and gender. The early years of the twentieth century saw this ubiquitous space evolve. No longer an emblem of Victorian patriarchy, the house became a more boundless entity whose shifting boundaries and notions of propriety were tied up with the rapidly changing cultures of consumerism and technology.

Modernism in the Home invites discussion that critiques, questions, and offers new readings of the home, challenging stereotypes surrounding the historical binary that posits the domestic realm as private, feminine, and anti-modern. We want to explore the symbiosis between architecture and literature, public and private, the house and the novel. By engaging with artists, architects and authors whose work intersects with the domestic, we hope to examine the evolving nature of the home and its inhabitants in the early twentieth century.

Papers should be fifteen minutes in length. We also encourage scholars who wish to present in other creative ways to apply. To apply, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as a brief biography of 200 words, to by 14 December 2018

Full details:


MSIA2: ‘Modernism and Multiple Temporalities’

The Second Annual International Conference of the Modernist Studies in Asia Network (MSIA)

12-14 September 2019 | Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Laura Marcus (Oxford) | Prof. Douglas Mao (Johns Hopkins) | Prof. Aaron Gerow (Yale)

Following its highly successful inaugural conference held in June 2018, the Modernist Studies in Asia Network (MSIA) calls for abstracts for its second annual international conference on the subject of ‘Modernism and Multiple Temporalities’.

The concept of psychological time has long been a central theme of modernist studies, particularly with reference to textual features such as the stream of consciousness and narrative fragmentation. In recent years, however, increasing attention has been paid to the ways in which the ‘politics of time’ (Peter Osborne’s term) has defined the very experience of modernity and generated a variety of modernist innovations such as the avant-garde rhetoric of rupture or attention to the communal rhythm of the everyday. Starting with Karl Marx’s observation on capitalism’s ‘annihilation of space by time,’ many critics have examined how the dominant versions of time (such as Walter Benjamin’s ‘homogenous, empty time’, or what E. P. Thompson called ‘time discipline’) colluded with capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism; meanwhile, they have also observed the ways in which the dominant ideologies were often contested through the multiplicity of temporality in various locations.

Building on these observations, we might revise the agenda of ‘New Modernist Studies’ formulated by Douglas Mao and Rebecca Walkowitz ten years ago—the agenda to expand modernism temporally, spatially, and vertically. While we continue to pursue the vertical expansion of modernism to include a variety of popular genres, we might now consider the temporal and the spatial in conjunction and note how the spatial expansion of modernism urges us to confront the multiplicity of experiential time across the world. We might also explore how the expanded field of global modernism is itself constituted by competing or conflicting temporalities that were lived or generated in the specific locations of modernity.

In this spirit, we invite papers that engage with multiple temporalities in the texts of modernism (literature, art, cinema, music, and other cultural products). How do they represent, reproduce, or reconfigure the experiences of time in modernity? How does the modernist obsession with innovation contain the utopian desire for the future while also being charged by a nostalgic longing for the past? How do the multiple temporalities of modernism challenge, contest, or sometimes conform to the dominant versions of time? Or how do the texts of modernism themselves travel across time and space, through the specific temporalities of transmission, reception, and translation? We welcome papers that tackle these questions with reference to modernism in its global as well as local—European, American, African, Oceanian, Asian, or elsewhere—manifestations.

Please send 200-word abstracts for 20-minutes papers along with a short bio to by 25 December 2018.

Full details:


Short Fiction as Humble Fiction

17–19 October 2019 | Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France

An international conference organised by EMMA (Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone) with ENSFR (European Network for Short Fiction Research)

Keynote speakers: Elke D’hoker, K.U. Leuven, Belgium | Ann-Marie Einhaus, Northumbria University, UK

The title of this conference may sound like a provocative statement. It may suggest a definition of the genre as a minor one, as has too often been the case in the history of the short story. Yet the conference has another purpose altogether. We would like to shift the perspective and claim short fiction not exactly as a minor genre, but as a humble one. As such, what can short fiction do that the novel cannot? What can it better convey?

We suggest to use the concept of the ‘humble’ as a critical tool that may help reframe and redefine short fiction, a notoriously elusive genre. How do short story writers deal with humble subjects – humble beings (the poor, the marginal, the outcasts, the disabled, etc.) and the non-human (animals, plants, objects), the ordinary, the everyday, the domestic, the mundane, the prosaic? How do they draw attention to what tends to be disregarded, neglected or socially invisible (Le Blanc) and how do they play with attention and inattention (Gardiner)? How do they contribute to an ethics and a politics of consideration (Pelluchon)? What rhetorical and stylistic devices do they use? What happens when they broach humble topics with humble tools, a bare, minimal style, for instance? How does the humble form of the short story – its brevity – fit humble topics? Does it paradoxically enhance them? Does the conjunction of the two give the short story a minor status or can it be empowering? In other words, should the humble be regarded as a synonym of ‘minor’ or as a quality and a capability (Nussbaum)?

Asking such questions will open a rich debate. How does the humble nature of short fiction connect with the epiphany, the moment of being, the event? If along with Camille Dumoulié we consider that the ethical dimension of short fiction stems from its being ‘a genre of the event’, could a humble genre also be considered an ethical genre? If there is an ethics of short fiction as a humble genre, where can it be located? Since the term ‘humble’, from the Latin humilis, ‘low, lowly,’ itself from humus ‘ground’’ – is often used as a euphemism for ‘the poor’, we can consider its representation of humble characters (as in Joyce’s Dubliners or Eudora Welty’s short stories) as well as the way this genre handles the theme of poverty, of extreme hardship and constructed deprivation (as in Dalit short fiction) or its representations of and reflections on the earth and all that relates to the environment. The theme of the humble is also manifest in its very inclusiveness and openness to the reader, or in the very precarious nature of the genre, in its openness to other genres. Dealing with short fiction as a humble genre will thus lead contributors to take into account its interactions with humble arts and media: the art of engraving, sketching or photography used in the illustrations of the volumes or magazines in which many modernist short stories were initially published; the radio that broadcast so many short stories, sometimes read by the short story writers themselves, as occurred on BBC4 with, for instance, Frank O’Connor; the web today, with flash fiction online, micro fiction or video performances of short fiction. How do these various art forms and media shape each other and how do these interactions construct short fiction as a humble genre? In other words, how does the motif of the humble morph into an ‘experiential category’ (Locatelli) or a poetics of the humble?

Reframing the humble as an aesthetic category will help reread short fiction and better capture its elusive contours, focusing either on well-known short fiction by famous writers that will be approached from a different angle or retrieving some unfairly neglected texts from oblivion, as, for example, Ann-Marie Einhaus, has started doing in her work on The Short Story and the First World War. Or again, Elke D’hoker’s current work on short fiction and popular magazines.

This conference means to cross national borders and disciplinary boundaries, especially those separating literature and the visual arts or literature and philosophy. The questions asked can be broached through short fiction in English by writers of various nationalities over the 19th and 20th centuries until nowadays. The suggested acceptations of the term ‘humble’ are not limitative but indicative.

Proposals of about 300 words together with a short biographical note (50 words) should be sent to Christine Reynier ( and Jean-Michel Ganteau ( by 15 January 2019.

A selection of peer-reviewed articles will be published in The Journal of the Short Story in English and Short Fiction in Theory & Practice.


BAMS Conference 2019: Troublesome Modernisms

20–22 June 2019 | Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London

Confirmed keynote speaker: Douglas Mao (Johns Hopkins) (Second keynote speaker to be confirmed)

‘What effects of synergy or friction result when the many, sometimes contradictory, criteria of high modernism are tested against less evidently experimental texts by principal figures; against principal works by less well known or non-European artists; against texts that seem neither to be art or about art?’
– Douglas Mao and Rebecca Walkowitz

In troubled times, the BAMS International Conference 2019 proposes the theme of ‘Troublesome Modernisms’. The conference aims to take a fresh look at modernism’s capacity to, and for, trouble, to examine anew the multiple modes of modernist argumentation, contestation and dissent. What can we draw for the present from modernism’s troubled relationship with its own pasts, presents and futures, and how might we address our troubles with those aspects of the modernist project that sit uncomfortably with us today?

Proposals are invited for individual 20-minute papers, panels (3–4 speakers), roundtables, dialogues or other discussions on the broad theme of ‘Troublesome Modernisms’. These will be drawn from a range of disciplinary fields.

Abstracts for individual papers should be no more than 250 words. Abstracts for other proposed formats should be no more than 500 words, and should include abstracts of proposed contributions and brief details of their organisers and contributors. We aim to showcase the work not only of individuals but of groups, societies, institutions and research projects, so strongly encourage proposals from, for example, author societies, research projects and departmental research centres. All proposals should be sent to by:

Deadline for individual paper proposals: 31 January 2019

Deadline for other format proposals: 28 February 2019

Decisions on proposals will be communicated within 4 weeks of the later deadline (28 February).

Full details:


Modernist Legacies and Futures: Modernist Studies Ireland Inaugural Conference

Friday, 17 May 2019 | National University of Ireland, Galway

Plenary Speaker: Dr Ben Levitas, Goldsmiths, University of London

The Inaugural Conference of Modernist Studies Ireland, ‘Modernist Legacies and Futures’ seeks to bring together Irish and international scholars to initiate an exchange and review of current research, trends, and findings in modernist studies. We ask scholars to consider how modernists created or negated the future in their work. Did modernist artists conceive of the future as a prerequisite of the work itself and, if so, how did they attempt to secure their legacy? What does the digital landscape achieve for modernism studies? What future does modernist studies have? If modernism was a radical attempt to reshape culture and art did it succeed and how can we as scholars perpetuate this radicalism? Do current attempts to democratise the study of literature and unsettle canonicity impact future research? What modernisms are missing from the field of modernist study? What does modernism mean to minority languages, cultures, and to a non-western canon?

Full details:

Abstracts due: 5pm (GMT+1) on 28 February 2019

For further information please contact:

Modernist Studies Ireland (MSI) is a new organisation that aims to facilitate the sharing of interests, research, and pedagogical approaches to modernism and modernity in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Modernist Studies Ireland provides a network to communicate our new research, publications, and archival holdings to a local and global audience.

Twitter: @Mod_Ireland