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 [email protected]

Third issue of Feminist Modernist Studies now available

The third issue of Feminist Modernist Studies (Routledge) has now been published! Check out the editor’s and Amanda Golden’s co-edited free access introduction to the special cluster on “feminist modernist digital humanities.” See Table of Contents and free access link below.

Feminist Modernist Studies
Volume 1 Number 3 October 2018

Special Cluster: Feminist Modernist Digital Humanities, edited by Amanda Golden

“Introduction: Feminist Modernist Digital Humanities,” Amanda Golden and Cassandra Laity Free Access:

“Toward a Feminist Modernist Digital Humanities,” Shawna Ross

“Storm Clouds on the Horizon: Feminist Ontologies and the Problem of Gender,” Pamela L. Caughie, Emily Datskou and Rebecca Parker

“Feminist Designs: Modernist Digital Humanities &Mina Loy: Navigating the Avant-Garde,” Suzanne W. Churchill, Linda A. Kinnahan and Susan Rosenbaum

“The Marianne Moore Digital Archive and Feminist Modernist Digital Humanities,” Cristanne Miller

“Visualizing the Uplift: Digitizing Poetry by African American Women, 1900-1922,” Amardeep Singh

“Talking Women/Women Talking: The Feminist Potential of Podcasting for Modernist Studies,” Sean Richardson and H. Green

“Prototyping Mina Loy’s Alphabet,” Margaret Konkol

‘“Another armored animal”: Modernist Prosthesis and Marianne Moore’s Posthumanist Animales,’ Dancy Mason

Out of the Archives, edited by Urmila Seshagiri
‘“Making Flowers”: The first English Translation of a Short Story by Dutch Modernist Carry van Bruggen,’ translated and introduced by Ruth Clemens

Reduced subscription rate to Feminist Modernist Studies for AMSN members

The AMSN is very pleased to announce that members receive a discounted subscription rate of AUD$55 to the exciting new journal Feminist Modernist Studies. This reduced rate includes both print copies and online access. To subscribe at this rate AMSN members need to telephone +44 (0) 20 7017 5543 or email [email protected], quote this deal, and provide evidence of their current AMSN membership (e.g. a copy of their tax receipt upon registering as a member of the AMSN).

We thank Routledge for this generous offer and encourage all AMSN members to subscribe to this important new journal in the field!

New Journal! Feminist Modernist Studies

An exciting new journal in the field has recently been established: Feminist Modernist Studies, founded by Cassandra Laity and published by Routledge. Find out more about the journal here:

For the CFP for the journal’s special launching double-issue go to:

Upcoming Session: New Zealand Modernist Studies Consortium

Dear colleagues,

The next session of the New Zealand Modernist Studies Consortium will take place on Friday 26 August at the University of Auckland. We’ll be joined this year by Associate Professor Marian Eide (Texas A & M) who will be workshopping a piece on “Modernist Magdalenes and Spinster Sisters.” If you would like to workshop a piece of your own work-in-progress at this session, please get in touch with me or with Jacob Edmond as soon as possible.

Details for our next bi-annual session:

University of Auckland
Room 206-710
Friday 26 August 2015
10:30 am to 4:30 pm
Lunch will be provided.

The NZMSC is open to academics and independent scholars (post-PhD only) working on any aspect of modernism, broadly defined. To register for this session, contact one of the co-organisers or register at

Erin G. Carlston
[email protected]
English, Writing Studies, and Drama
University of Auckland

Jacob Edmond
[email protected]
Department of English and Linguistics
University of Otago


Modernist Networks, a federation of digital projects in the field of modernist literary and cultural studies, was officially launched at the 2015 MSA conference in Boston. ModNets provides a vetting community for digital modernist scholarship and a technological infrastructure to support access to scholarship on modernist literature and culture. Please check out the site at!


We are now actively seeking digital projects to join our federation. For information on our editorial board, our peer review process, and the kinds of projects we are looking for, see, or contact our project manager, Nikolaus Wasmoen, at [email protected].


Pamela Caughie and David Chinitz, Directors​

Postgraduate bursaries for AMSN3

Postgraduate bursaries for AMSN3


The Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia 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 attending the conference. Bursary applications will be invited following acceptance of paper proposals. Abstracts due: 1 October 2015. Conference details: