CFP: The Masks of Modernity: Un/covering Global Modernisms

Proposal deadline: May 15, 2011.

The success of Modernist studies is attributable in part to its early recognition of its global scope and ambitions. However, despite laudable attempts to engage cultural difference and cultural studies texts within the discipline, a disconnect remains between transatlantic Modernist studies and global modernisms properfrom Hispanic and Brazilian Modernismos to Asian Modernisms to African Modernist works. In the history of Modernism/Modernity, for example, only one article has ever addressed the Spanish American modernist tradition. Very few have included examples of Asian or African modernisms. Our proposed collection seeks to begin a conversation about global modernisms in the broadest and most comparative sense.

The theme of masks serves as a common ground for various global modernisms. From Japanese Kabuki masks, African spiritual masks, Mexican pre-Columbian masks, to the masks of Greek Theater, masks have played a prominent role in Modernist literary, cultural, and artistic discourses. We think of masks not only as a search for identity through connection with the past and incorporated into various works of the Modernist period, but also as a universal construct of modern existence, a simulacrum, representing that which we must be to survive, that which we aspire to be in our dreams, or that which we fear we truly are. In this sense, we might understand masks as a metaphor, a faade that serves to reveal, veil, or underscore the truth, to describe the tensions and contradictions of Modernism in a given cultural context.

The proposed anthology will be produced in English, and seeks to explore representations of masks in Modernist texts in all of their varieties. Imaginative, interdisciplinary and cultural studies approaches are encouraged. Please email 300-500-word proposals and a brief biography by May 15 to Andrew Reynolds, or Bonnie Roos, Please forward as appropriate.

Possible topics might include (but are in no way limited to) the following:

*  Masks in art, literature, cinema, dance, architecture, cultural
studies, etc.
*  The Masking of Eurocentrism through foreign experience and exoticized
* The use of fashion, kitsch and the everyday to mask artistic and
literary intentionality
*  The theme of masks and play as a Modernist trope
*  Western vs. Non-Western masks during Modernism
*  Modernism masking colonialist and imperialist regimes
*  Masks as a part of ritual and performance in Modernist art and
*  Masks and the intersection of art and the body during Modernism
*  Visual and literary abstraction vs. realism through the use of masks
*  Masking gender roles during Modernism
*  The use of masks in folk traditions as represented in Modernism
*  Psychoanalysis as a method of seeing behind the mask
*  Robotics, Prosthesis or Cybernetics as masks of self
*  Passing as a form of Modernist mask
*  The mask as an iteration of the posthuman, decentered subject
*  Masking as a representation/precursor of the collective mind
*  Using masks to produce virtual and artificial spaces
*  Costuming, cosmetics and design

For more information contact:
Andrew Reynolds & Bonnie Roos,


Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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