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Call for paper: "Modernisms and Big Magazines—On the Streets and in the Pages" Modernist Society Conference, Brooklyn, NYC, 22 - 25 October 2020,


Anne Reynes-Delobel
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 8
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During the rise of periodical studies, little magazines garnered perhaps an inordinate amount of attention and credit as the incubators and promulgators of modernism. More recent scholarship, however, is correcting and enlarging our understanding of the connections between modernist practices and a print culture that was, in fact, dominated by mass-circulation periodicals. Not only did major figures of American modernism looked to high-profile, mass-circulation periodicals as venues for their work as well as opportunities for “economic patronage” but such magazines also became major points of dissemination of the names, attributes, and debates of modernism. Big magazines are multivalent and multi-leveled, and they often embed modernism into larger cultural contexts, which can create productive dialogues and surprising relationships. This seminar will focus on American “big” magazines and their roles and relationships to modernity and modernism.

We are particularly interested in exploring how our understanding of modernism as a predominantly urban and metropolitan phenomenon has been shaped in and though magazines. As an agora reverberating all the triumphs and tragedies of modern life, mainstream magazines were a crucial site of inspiration and critical reflection for modernist art and criticism. By tracing their collaboration to the mainstream periodical press, we are interested in exploring the circulation and transformation of social conditions—such as anonymity, impersonality and community—into cultural phenomena and artistic or theoretical representations.

We encourage a broad range of approaches to this topic, including discussions of: previously overlooked mass-circulation magazines; innovations in methodologies; connections between American modernism and print culture; material practices in the production, sale, and distribution of magazines; connections between print culture and developments in “other” modernisms; contestations between liberation and/or resistance movements and mass culture; how such magazines trouble the traditional idea of coterie modernism; the ways in which mass-circulation magazines present modernisms in new and under-scrutinized ways; the relationships between “big magazines” and regional modernisms; etc.

  • Adam McKible (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) [email protected] 
  • David Earle (University of West Florida)