Old Left, New Modernisms

Call for Papers
Special issue of Canadian Literature
Guest editor: Dean Irvine, Dalhousie University

By bringing together a multidisciplinary cast of scholars who work at the intersection of leftist and modernist studies, this special issue of Canadian Literature will negotiate between competing cultural discourses, allowing their coextensive narratives to engage in dialectical exchange and reanimating debates between leftists and modernists of the early to mid-twentieth century. This dialectical approach seeks to address the conjunctures and contradictions of modernist and leftist cultural formations in interwar, wartime, and Cold War Canada, a dialectic that recognizes the anti-modernism and social-political radicalism of the old left as mediating discourses in the formation of modernist aesthetic practices. Whatever the storied antagonisms between modernists and leftists, and however distorted the retellings by critics and historians of the late twentieth century, new scholarship on literature, theatre, and visual art in early to mid-twentieth-century Canada has shifted over the past decade toward more complex conceptions of the leftist social and political orientations of modernist cultural production.

Contributors to this special issue are invited to submit papers that address a wide dispersion of disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests related to modernisms in Canadian literature. Essays are welcome on the relationship between modernisms in Canadian literature and the social, political, economic, intellectual, and cultural histories of the left. Of particular interest are essays that address, but are not limited to, the following topics in the context of modernist literatures in Canada:

Modernisms and Modernities

  • antimodernism, transmodernism, and alternative modernisms
  • Anglo-American modernism and other national literatures
  • modernisms in other arts

Cultural Formations, Institutions, and Practices

  • avant gardes and après gardes
  • realisms (social, socialist, proletarian, psychological, documentary)
  • romanticisms (revolutionary, radical)
  • reportage and journalism
  • propaganda and agtiprop
  • mass media and new media
  • mass, popular, and people’s cultures
  • theatres (workers, little, amateur, professional)
  • materialist politics of the book
  • radical print cultures

Modernism and Radicalism

  • Marxism, post-Marxism, and neo-Marxism
  • socialism, communism, and anarchism
  • anticommunism
  • labour movements and unions
  • the Popular Front
  • the New Left
  • Stalinism, Trotskyism, anti
  • Stalinism
  • fascism and anti-fascism
  • pacifism and antiwar movements

Locations, Translocations, and Dislocations of Modernism

  • geomodernisms
  • nationalism and transnationalism
  • colonialism, anti-colonialism, and postcolonialism
  • diasporas and migrations
  • expatriates, exile(s), and expatriation
  • globalization and global modernities
  • cosmopolitanism and new cosmopolitanisms
  • cities, suburbia, and (sub)urbanization
  • materialist and human geographies

Modernism and Radical Subjectivities

  • multitudes and masses
  • classes and class struggles
  • races and racisms
  • indigeneity and indigenization
  • feminisms and masculinities
  • New Men, New Women
  • sexualities

Essays should follow the submission guidelines of the journal: http://www.canlit.ca/submissions.php. Cover letters should indicate that the article is to be considered for the Old Left, New Modernisms special issue.

Submission deadline: June 1, 2010.

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