MSA 17, Seminar CFP

Modernist Studies Association Annual Meeting 
Boston, MA :: 19-22 November 2015
Seminar: Catastrophe and the Limits of Genre
Co-chairs: Karen Elizabeth Bishop (Rutgers) and David Sherman (Brandeis)

Catastrophe and the Limits of Genre
This seminar will examine the effects of catastrophic experience, or the experience of radical subversion of established orders, on modern literary genres. Members of the seminar will approach the emergence and evolution of twentieth-century genres as responses to social, economic, military and ecological catastrophes. The seminar will consider genre analysis as a way into a phenomenology of catastrophe, as dynamic description of how catastrophic experience affects the organization of self before self, other, and state. And it will address the possibility that literary genres can themselves both suffer catastrophic damage and innervate catastrophes of reading and writing in modernizing cultures.

Additional Seminar Information
This seminar is intended to demonstrate the capacity of genre theory to help scholars make theoretical claims about the nature of catastrophe. And it is intended to help scholars develop theories of particular genres by attending to catastrophic experience. Participants will be invited to present work on a wide range of literary genres and catastrophes. Please direct questions about the seminar to Karen Bishop at