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CfP: Inaugural Literatures of Modernity Symposium, Ryerson University, March 29, 2010

“I am inclined to think that we want new forms, as well as thoughts. The old gods are dethroned,” the British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in a letter in 1845, while less than a century later, American poet Ezra Pound’s “Make it New” became the motto for Anglo-American Modernism. There are numerous historical entry points into studying literatures of modernity, just as theories of modernity are manifold. For example, does modernity constitute a breakage with the past that results from unprecedented migration patterns? Or does modernity constitute a revision of past cultural trends, or the rise of new forms of media and audience? This conference invites proposals on any aspect of modernity as expressed in literature and culture. In addition to academic proposals, the committee welcomes proposals for creative projects including creative writing, art installations, audio/video projects, or performance pieces.

Topics may include but are not limited to

  • modernity and the city;
  • technology and media;
  • gender, sexuality, race, class, and modern subjectivity;
  • ecology and spirituality;
  • post-humanism and the hybrid body;
  • modernity and sports;
  • rhetoric of modernity;
  • war and crisis;
  • immigration and modernity;
  • nationalism, regionalism and globalization;
  • literary and cultural institutions of modernity.

Submission Guidelines: Please include the following as a single Word document: an abstract of 500 words, MLA formatted Works Cited, and a brief author’s biography. For creative submissions, include low-resolution images and/or electronic links. For all queries and submissions:


FEBRUARY 20, 2010.

Early submissions are encouraged.

This symposium is sponsored by the Ryerson English Department, the Literatures of Modernity Graduate Program, the Modern Literature and Culture Research Center, and the Faculty of Arts. The symposium is organized by the graduate students in LM8912: Modernity as a Public Event. For more information:

“Modernity is the transient, the floating, the contingent; it is one half art, the other being the eternal and the immovable” – Baudelaire

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