1922 Turned Upside Down: AAL Conference

Australasian Association for Literature (AAL) 2022 Conference

2-3 June 2022 | Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus

The Australasian Association for Literature warmly welcomes proposals for its 2022 conference on the theme ‘1922 Turned Upside Down’.

The year 1922 has long been celebrated as an annus mirabilis of literary and, more broadly, of cultural production, the high-water mark of “high modernism”. One hundred years on, this conference seeks to reconsider this established view. Beyond the literary works usually cited as defining 1922 – James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room – what other significant works appeared that year in literature, film, music, architecture, and the visual arts? What did 1922 mean for the arts in places, cultures, and languages beyond those of the Anglophone North Atlantic? And how does expanding our scope in these ways challenge our understanding of that famous year?

At the same time, this conference aims to assess the value of choosing a single calendar year as a historical and critical category. How, for instance, might attention to marginalised forms of cultural production across the globe change how we think about time and history with regards to modernism?

In this way, we seek papers which think again about the inherited historical narratives which have celebrated 1922 as modernism’s defining year. In particular we invite proposals for papers (20 minutes) and organised panels of three or four presenters. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • papers which move beyond established canons to address Australasian, Pacific and any other form of ‘Global’ modernism;
  • papers which consider instances of popular culture, from genre fiction through fashion to magazines;
  • papers which critique the theoretical assumptions that underwrite critical attention to a single calendar year or, by extension, to modernism itself as a period category;
  • papers which reflect on the legacies of modernism, regarding formal experimentation, concepts of innovation, and the models of creativity conventionally aligned with modernism;
  • papers which consider the perhaps belated and oblique influence of modernist works across different times and places;
  • papers which return to canonical works to consider the effects they continue to have in 2022 and how they might be re-read now;
  • papers which compare particular aspects of the cultural contexts of 1922 to cultural contexts of the globalised world(s) of 2022.

Please send 250-word proposals along with presenter contact details and a brief biographical note to [email protected] by 18 March 2022.

Conference Organising Committee: Dr Jumana Bayeh (Macquarie University), Associate Professor Mark Byron (University of Sydney), Dr Lorraine Sim (Western Sydney University), Professor Anthony Uhlmann (University of Western Sydney).