Modernist Legacies and Futures:

Modernist Studies Ireland inaugural conference

Friday 17th May 2019

National University of Ireland Galway

Plenary Speaker: Dr Ben Levitas, Goldsmiths University of London


In many ways, Modernism’s future is now. We are still grappling with modernism’s aftermath, afterlives, and its perpetual relevance. The new textualities and ephemera available to scholars today make it increasingly important to reconsider how creative figures conceived and constructed their future both within their work and in the material cultures they occupied.

The increasing digitisation of cultural materials is reshaping how we interact and understand modernist practice. Archives, newspapers, periodicals, and digital critical editions are allowing scholars to read, see, or listen to the cultural atmospheres of modernity, whilst reading texts anew with digital analysis technologies. Modernism was a movement marked by a dynamic play with concepts of time and temporality. This forged both a sense of periodicity and a moment of crisis in expressing the present and perceiving the future. The study of plural, reterritorialised modernisms and the growing body of available materials opens up new avenues for understanding how and why modernism came into being through artists, publishers, academics, and institutions. The corpus of modernist studies is expanding rapidly and this expansion includes materials that we also create. The aesthetic politics of neomodernism and protomodernism continues to pose questions regarding the remaking and influence modernist practice has today.

The inaugural conference of Modernist Studies Ireland, ‘Modernist Legacies and Futures’ seeks to bring together Irish and international scholars to initiate an exchange and review of current research, trends, and findings in modernist studies. We ask scholars to consider how modernists created or negated the future in their work? Did modernist artists conceive of the future as a prerequisite of the work itself and, if so, how did they attempt to secure their legacy? What does the digital landscape achieve for modernism studies? What future does modernist studies have? If modernism was a radical attempt to reshape culture and art did it succeed and how can we as scholars perpetuate this radicalism? Do current attempts to democratise the study of literature and unsettle canonicity impact future research? What modernisms are missing from the field of modernist study? What does modernism mean to minority languages, cultures, and to a non-western canon?

We invite contributions for 20-minute papers on themes such as, but not limited to:

  • Modernist aesthetics and futurity
  • Time and temporality
  • Age, ageing, and youth
  • Vision and revision
  • Collaborative acts and interdisciplinary practice
  • Modernist editing and the legacy of ‘the work’
  • Periodical and print networks
  • Minor’ literatures or non-Anglophone modernisms Modernism in the digital humanities
  • Gendered and queer modernisms
  • Metamodernism and neomodernism
  • Historicising or geo-politicising modernisms and modernities
  • Space and representation
  • Modernism in and of media
  • Transnational and global modernisms
  • Modernist afterlives and futures
  • Modernist (im-)possibilities, utopias, dystopias
  • Pedagogy and modernist studies
  • Archives, databases, and digital collections
  • Editing and publishing histories
  • Canon formation and redefinition


Deadline for abstract submission: 5pm, Feb 28th 2019

For further information please contact:

Modernist Studies Ireland (MSI) is a new organisation that aims to facilitate the sharing of interests, research, and pedagogical approaches to modernism and modernity in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Modernist Studies Ireland provides a network to communicate our new research, publications, and archival holdings to a local and global audience.

Further information on the initiative can be found here:

Twitter: @Mod_Ireland