Principal Conference Organiser:
In recent years an increasing number of attempts have been made to widen the traditional modernist canon. Work on women, LGBT and black modernists, as well as marketplace, magazine and middlebrow studies, have expanded the canon, and yet such 'alternative' modernisms are often studied and discussed in isolation, leading to a splintering of the field. This fragmented approach to modernist studies is in danger of not reflecting – or taking into account – the wider cultural and public sphere which modernisms existed in and engaged with. Furthermore, many modernisms, in particular national and regional forms and movements in Europe, still remain largely uncharted.
This conference attempts to provide a common forum for the exchange of ideas and examples across fields, disciplines and nationalities. It will give scholars an opportunity to explore both underexplored modern(ist) forms, mediums, texts, writers and artists, and the relationships between them, working towards a more holistic conception of how ‘alternative’ modernisms operated.
Indeed, the conference will consider the extent to which all modernisms can be viewed as part of a network of alternatives – to tradition, realism, representation, mass culture or even to each other. As such, the conference hopes to reassess – and problematize – modernisms’s approaches to the past, to modernity (or ‘modernities’), to other modernisms, and their position within modern culture, exploring new theories and approaches for studying modernisms.
Considering that Welsh modernism in particular still resides on the margins of British modernism – geographically and intellectually – Cardiff is the perfect place for such a reassessment. The conference will also host the inaugural meeting of the Welsh Network of Modernist Studies, a new umbrella organisation which will organise and promote interdisciplinary events that foster links between modernist scholars in Wales.