Scholars of Modernism and the Avant-Garde in literature, art, film, drama, architecture, and other aspects of modern culture may be interested in this CFP for next year's Modernist Studies Association conference, MSA 19 - Modernism Today. For the first time taking place in Continental Europe, this event will host between 500 and 600 participants from both sides of the Atlantic and provide a great opportunity to meet and exchange ideas within a very atmospheric setting - our venue itself is a Modernist artefact.

Hosts: University of Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, University of Louisville, Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, Onderzoekschool Literatuurwetenschap, The English Department at Florida State University

MSA 19 will not only take place on the centenary of one of Modernism's many anni mirabiles, it will also be located in the city renowned for Rembrandt and Spinoza as well as De Stijl and the Amsterdamse School, a city well-known for its daring and usually successful blending of the historical and the modern. We will use this occasion to tackle head-on Modernism's relation to our present. What does Modernism mean to us today – to us as cultural consumers, as scholarly observers, and as active participants in its projects? Modernism's own explicit self-identification with the ever-shifting present – "il faut être absolument moderne", "make it new", etc. – has always tugged at its historical moorings and resisted standard attempts at periodization. It has challenged us repeatedly to redefine and reconsider the meaning of the term "modernism," as well as to engage in endless debates about its scope, its internal coherence, and its purview.

The setting of Amsterdam will provide us with an opportunity to exercise our Eliotic "historical sense," "a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence," and to think about the responsibilities and demands the modernist past – and our own present – place upon us. As consumers of Modernist culture, as scholars pressured to "always historicize" and yet make history useful for life, as Modernism-inspired producers of culture, we must ask ourselves: How does Modernism interact, blend in, or jar with our – and its – present-day environment?

Depending on the emphasis and tone with which 'Modernism Today' is given voice, it can be understood as descriptive or imperative in a variety of ways. Accordingly, topics for papers on our theme may range widely and include, for example, the following:

  • Modernist chronologies
  • conceptions of the present in Modernism
  • Modernism and new media
  • canonization processes
  • Modernism and recent developments in critical theory
  • the historiography of Modernism
  • Modernism and globalization
  • current trends in Modernism research
  • Modernism in the light of eco-criticism
  • the persistence of Modernism
  • Modernism in contemporary literature and art
  • periodical research and Modernism
  • Modernism in the light of geo-criticism
  • interdisciplinary Modernism
  • Modernist Avant-Gardes today

Streams: As well as the general call, in order to encourage interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches and to draw upon the special opportunities presented by our European location, the Amsterdam organizers will be considering panels run under two special streams: "Pre- and Postwar Art Movements," which will examine post-1945 avant-garde movements such as Fluxus, Situationism, and allied arts movements; and "Human Rights, Borders, and Displacements," which will consider the historical importance of refugee, immigrant, and displaced populations in modernism. If you are interested in proposing a panel linked to either of these streams, please make this clear in your proposal. You may direct questions about streams to the Program Chair, Lisi Schoenbach, at aschoenb[at], or to the Chair of Interdisciplinary Approaches, Scott Klein, at klein[at]

The conference organizers invite proposals for seminars and pre-conference workshops (due December 16, 2016), panels, roundtables, poster sessions, multimedia/digital exhibitions (due January 13, 2017). We gently encourage proposals relevant to the conference theme and the topics listed above, but welcome panel, seminar, and roundtable proposals on all topics related to modernism. The primary criterion for selection will be the quality of the proposal, not its relevance to the conference theme. We ask that proposals provide complete panels and roundtables. Individuals seeking to create or to participate in a panel or roundtable are encouraged to visit the MSA CFP page below or the MSA 19 Facebook page for guidelines to develop and opportunities to promote a panel or roundtable. All proposals requiring A/V equipment must specify those needs. All queries should be directed to: MSA19Amsterdam[at]

Link to CfP (with details about different format requirements)1

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