Editing Global Modernism: A Roundtable

Alys Moody's picture
October 23, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Languages, World History / Studies

Editing Global Modernism: A Roundtable
with Harsha Ram, Kaitlin Staudt, Camilla Sutherland, Alys Moody, and Stephen J. Ross

Friday, October 23, 2020
1:30-3:00pm EST / 10:30am-12:00pm PST / 6:30-8:00pm BST / 7:30-9:00pm CEST

Modernist studies has been transformed in recent years by the claim that modernism is a global phenomenon. Alongside work linking British, Irish, North American, and European modernists to the rest of the world, we have seen controversial claims for modernism’s flourishing in non-Western locations, from Japan to Africa, from Turkey to the Caucasus, and from South-East Asia to Latin America. This uncoupling of modernism from a strictly Western teleology remains under-theorised, and under-sourced. How do we study modernism on a global scale? What implications for modernist scholarship does this disciplinary transformation bring, especially in relation to collaborative work? And what new ways of seeing and understanding modernism arise from adopting a global perspective?

This roundtable showcases the methods and findings of Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020), a new anthology of source texts for global modernism. The book gathers texts by practitioners (writers, artists, critics, etc.) that reflect on the theory and practice of modernism around the world. In addition to celebrating (belatedly!) the publication of this volume last January, we will be discussing the collaborative nature of global modernist research and our “inductive” method of assembling and theorizing the anthology’s texts.

The roundtable brings together five editors of the anthology: experts in Russian and Georgian modernism (Harsha Ram), Turkish modernism (Kaitlin Staudt), and Latin American modernism (Camilla Sutherland) with the volume’s general editors, who will speak to modernism in sub-Saharan Africa (Alys Moody), and the Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora (Stephen Ross). We will discuss how global modernism troubles existing assumptions of modernist studies, and what the project of translating, editing, and circulating primary sources can contribute to this conversation. Following short position statements by each speaker, the roundtable will focus on discussion among presenters and with audience members.

This conversation, held under the shared auspices of the Literature Program at Bard College and Concordia University’s Centre for Expanded Poetics, is the first of a three-part series exploring global modernism, in celebration of the anthology. It will be followed by a discussion with poet-translators associated with the anthology on Thursday, 12 November, 6-7:30pm EST; and a workshop on pedagogy and global modernism on Friday, 4 December, 1:30-4:30pm EST.

To receive the Zoom invitation for this event, please email amoody@bard.edu. Invitations will be sent out on the morning of the event.


Alys Moody is Assistant Professor of Literature at Bard College. She is the author of The Art of Hunger: Aesthetic Autonomy and the Afterlives of Modernism (OUP, 2018) and is currently working on a second book, provisionally entitled, The Literature of World Hunger: Poverty, Global Modernism, and the Emergence of a World Literary System. She is one of the general editors of Global Modernists on Modernism, and section editor or co-editor of the sections on modernism in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Arab world, Japan, and the South Pacific.

Harsha Ram is an Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley. He is the author of The Imperial Sublime: A Russian Poetics of Empire, and is currently completing his second book, The Scale of Culture: City, Nation, Empire and the Russian-Georgian Encounter. Harsha edited the section on modernism in the Caucasus.

Stephen J. Ross is Assistant Professor of English at Concordia University. He is the author of Invisible Terrain: John Ashbery and the Aesthetics of Nature (OUP, 2017). He is one of the general editors of the anthology, and was section editor or co-editor of the sections on modernism in the Caribbean, the Arab world, and greater China.

Kaitlin Staudt is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Auburn. She has published article in venues such as Feminist Modernist Studies and Middle Eastern Literatures, and is currently completing her first monograph, Move Forward and Ascend!: Temporality and The Politics of Form in the Turkish Modernist Novel and editing a cluster of essays on “Global Modernism’s Other Empires.” She edited the Turkish modernism section of this anthology.

Camilla Sutherland is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. She is a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Global Modernist Magazines and is currently working on a monograph entitled The Space of Latin American Women Modernists. Camilla edited the Latin American section of this anthology.

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