Call for Papers: Modernism Today 2017

By DOCOMOMO Belgium / December, 7, 2016 / 0 comments

Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference, Amsterdam, August
10 – 13, 2017
Deadline: Jan 13, 2017

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.

CFP for the Modernist Studies Association’s Annual Conference
MSA 19 “Modernism Today”


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

Seminar and Workshop Proposals: 16 December 2016
Panel, Roundtable, and Digital Exhibition Proposals: 13 January 2017

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, or to the Chair of
Interdisciplinary Approaches, Scott 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: