After Modernism: Women, Gender, Race - Workshop 3

• Louise Hardwick (University of Birmingham, UK)

• Cyraina Johnson-Roullier (University of Notre Dame, USA)

• Suzan Meryem Rosita Kalayci (Faculty of History, University of Oxford, UK)

• Jean Wyatt (Occidental College, USA)


The workshops will explore questions such as these:

• Women modernists after postmodernism, poststructuralism, postcolonial, critical race, feminist, queer and trans theory: how do these fields – and the practices, concepts, figures and narratives they have developed – contribute to a refiguring of women’s modernism? “Women” is taken in its most open and inclusive sense.

• If “1922” signals the annus mirabilis of modernism – and we are celebrating its centenary in 2022 – what does “1922” signal outside the European metropoles of London and Paris (in Harlem, the Eastern Mediterranean or Brazil, for example)? We focus on women, modernism and modernity outside of the Western European, Anglo-American and Euro-American canon.

• Women modernists have been claimed as ancestors by subsequent generations of artists and writers – for example, the African-American generation of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, etc., who in turn have been claimed by younger generations – for example, black British writers Jackie Kay and Helen Oyeyemi. How might we now theorize intertextuality, literary/art history and temporality in this context?

• How have women modernists been canonized (within the canon or canons) and what are the limits of canonization?

• How might we theorize “empty shelves” (Woolf), gaps in the archive, silences (e.g. see M. NourbeSe Philip, Saidiya Hartman)?

• Women modernists have influenced or resonate with contemporary theoretical discussion: from queer temporality to New Materialist feminisms to postcolonial/decolonial concepts of racial melancholia and disidentification. How might we amplify this dialogue?

• Modernism has been undergoing a spatial and temporal revision: centering the margins and decentering the centre; critiques of belatedness, secondariness, derivativeness; critiques of the distinctions: original/copy, originality/derivativeness, major/minor; a complex and nuanced account of intertextuality and intersubjectivity. Where are we now and what next?

• How can we best highlight the geopolitical diversity; histories of elective migration, forced migration and persecution; transnational networks; and multimodality of women’s modernisms: literature, performance, dance, music, painting, sculpture, photography, film, radio, design, architecture, fashion, journalism, editorship, curatorship, travel writing, life-writing?

• How have women modernists engaged with historical events, characters and narratives? How did they participate in the construction or deconstruction of imagined communities through their reinterpretation of the connection between fiction and history? How have they contributed to, disrupted or subverted the historical novel as a genre?

• How does modernism travel? What happens to it when it does, in the company of women? How have writers and artists been connecting across borders and distant locations? We focus on modernism in its networks or echoes across languages and ecologies.

*The workshops will be followed by an edited collection (2022, double Special Issue of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities and Routledge hardback), edited by Pelagia Goulimari.