7th biennial conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies
Notions of crisis have long charged the study of the European avant-garde and modernism. Throughout their history, avant-gardists and modernists have faced crises, be they economic or political, scientific or technological, aesthetic or philosophical, collective or individual, local or global, short or perennial. Modernists and avant-gardists have in turn continually stood accused of instigating crises, whether artistic or cultural, sensorial or conceptual, incidental or intentional, far-reaching or negligible, representational or other. The very concepts of ‘avant-garde’ and ‘modernism’ are time and again subject—or subjected—to conceptual crises, leaving modernism and avant-garde studies as a field on the perpetual brink of a self-effacing theoretical crisis.
The 7th biennial conference of the EAM intends to tackle the ways in which the avant-garde and modernism in Europe relate to crisi/es. Although we welcome panel, roundtable and paper proposals on any aspect of this relationship, we are particularly interested in new research on three topics.
First, we want to explore the theoretical complexity of the notion of crisis. For what is a crisis, really? The term is defined very loosely at times in modernism and avant-garde studies, and a quick survey illustrates that we seldom talk about crises of the same scale, import or impact. By clarifying what exactly counts as a crisis, surely we can gain a better understanding of the European avant-gardes and modernism. So what precisely do we mean by ‘crisis’? Is crisis above all a narrative device? Is there ever no crisis? Are there types of crisis, artistic or otherwise, that we have thus far neglected in our study of the avant-garde or modernism? And what (other) view(s) of crisis do avant-gardists and modernists themselves project?
Second, we are interested in proposals that touch upon the crises-laden historical trajectory of the avant-gardes and modernism. For while we often claim that a notion of crisis is key to a proper understanding of (late) modernity, the European avant-gardes and modernists faced different historical crises throughout their development. To what extent do all these crises, which span several centuries, share common denominators? What role do national and regional differences play over time? Does the project of the avant-garde and modernism, along with their critique of crisis, change fundamentally over time or not? Proposals touching upon a historical case study or submissions comparing several historical cases from different times or regions in Europe are therefore particularly welcome.
Third and finally, we wholeheartedly encourage proposals that look at the practical side of things, across all areas of avant-garde and modernist activity: art, literature, music, architecture, film, artistic and social movements, lifestyle, television, fashion, drama, performance, activism, curatorial practice, design and technology. How do European avant-gardists and modernists give aesthetic shape to crises? What representational strategies and tactics do they use in their practices? What affective (and other) experiences of crisis does their work allow for? What crises do their experimental practices yield—in fact, do the avant-gardes and modernism create types or modes of crisis of their own?