Call for Papers



AMSN3: Modernist Work


The Third Biennial Conference of the Australasian Modernist Studies Network




Date: 29-31 March 2016

Venue: University of New South Wales, Sydney


Abstracts due: 1 October 2015

Notification of acceptance: 1 November 2015


This conference aims to explore the manifold intersections of modernist culture and the concept of “work”. Modernism emerged during a moment of rapid transformation in the conditions and meaning of labour. New jobs and professions proliferated with dizzying speed in the wake of the second industrial revolution, along with new techniques of “scientific management”. Under the influence of these and other changes, the kinds of work available to women changed markedly during the modernist period, while legal gender restrictions were abolished in a growing number of professions. At the same time, many strands of modernist culture involved a rethinking of the concept of “work” in literary and aesthetic domains, in often contradictory ways. Modernist writers and artists repeatedly interrogated the nature and function of an artistic career in an age of mass culture, and radical critiques of the notion of the art “work” itself—as organic, as self-contained, as a product of artistic skill—were launched from various sectors of the avant-garde. Numerous subsequent interventions in critical and aesthetic theory can be placed in the lineage of this initial modernist questioning of the work itself.


We are seeking papers on the relationship between modernism and work in any of its myriad configurations—formal, historical, empirical, theoretical, literal, metaphorical, textual, contextual, material and everything in between. We also welcome papers that test the boundaries of the concept of modernism itself, whether by extending its chronological scope, rethinking its traditional canon or questioning its privileged media.


Postgraduate travel bursaries


The Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia (UNSW) together with the Australasian Modernist Studies Network will offer a small number of bursaries of up to $500 each for Australian and international graduate students. Bursary applications will be invited following acceptance of paper proposals.


Confirmed keynote speakers:


Professor Christopher Nealon (Johns Hopkins University)

Professor Morag Shiach (Queen Mary University of London)

Professor Susan Best (Griffith University)


Proposals are invited for 20 minute papers or panels of three papers examining any aspect of the conference theme. Proposals from postgraduate students are especially encouraged.


Please send 300 word abstracts and a brief biographical note to [email protected] by Thursday 1 October 2015.


You can download a PDF version of this CFP here: CFP Modernist Work