Conference: The Shadows of Modernism

Moore Institute seminar room

Date & Time
12th May, 2011 @ 10:00:00

THE SHADOWS OF MODERNISM, THURSDAY MAY 12th, 2011, The Moore Institute Seminar Room
As part of the research project "1916 and After", the Moore Institute, the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and Italian Studies are pleased to announce the one-day workshop The Shadows of Modernism.

The workshop will be led by Margaret Higonnet (University of Connecticut), and Mario Perniola (University of Rome, Tor Vergata), and will interrogate aspects and issues of modernism which have been neglected or are still unthought in the context of the rapid transformation of aesthetic and social phenomena.

The workshop will have a master-class format. There will be ample space for discussion and interaction. This project is sponsored by a NUI, Galway Research Support Fund.

10 -10.30: Welcome Professor Nicholas Canny

10.30- 12.30: Professor Margaret Higonnet

"Breaking Down and Building Up: Women, War and Modernism"
A number of feminist critics have contested the absence of women from British modernism and noted the anxieties about gender that mark the masculine "high modernist" canon. This comparative study builds on their work to suggest that the politicization of European women around suffrage and the costs of World War I triggered the creation of stunning experimental works of literature and art. Today many of these avant-garde artists and writers have begun to gain a reputation, joining the ranks of Woolf and Stein. But the radicalism of their work still remains in a troubled relationship to modernism. Their absence from the cultural history of modernism reflects a reception filtered through gendered assumptions about proprieties in style, conduct, and social attitudes. To recognize women's ironic play with traditional beliefs and forms such as the love poem or the elegy is the first step toward a reassessment of their contribution to the ruptures wrought by modernism.

12.30- 2.00 Lunch

2.00- 4.00: Professor Mario Perniola

"The Stalling of Western Aesthetics and the Rising of Oriental Thought"
While several non-European cultures are producing novel aesthetic conceptualizations autonomous from the Western tradition (starting though from a profound knowledge and engagement with it), Western thought has undergone a paradigmatic shift which has dramatically altered the essential relation between society and aesthetics.
It appears as if the continuation of the process of modern development started in the XVIII Century with Illuminism was brought to a halt by the two tragic catastrophes of the First and Second World War. The society that emerged in the second part of the twentieth century found it impossible to resume the civic progress commenced in the previous centuries. Aesthetics, intended here not so much as an academic discipline as a collective mode of being, had been jettisoned. What we confront today is a hiatus between the people and the heirs of modernity. While the former have been gradually subjugated by the culture of the mass-media, the logic of profit, and the hope of wealth heralded and introduced by technology, the latter have lost purchase on imagination and emotion. Attention is now drawn to the modernization underway in Oriental thought, which as opposed to the Western one has not severed the links with its tradition.

4.00- 4.30 Break

4.30- 5.30 General discussion with Margaret Higonnet and Mario Perniola

Margaret Higonnet, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut, has taught at George Washington University and the Universities of Munich and Santiago de Compostela. A past President of the American Conference on Romanticism and of the American Comparative Literature Association, she cochairs the Study Group on Gender, Society, and Politics at Harvard's Center for European Studies. She also created the Gender Studies Committee of the ICLA and is now President of the ICLA committee that publishes a major series of comparative literary histories. Her theoretical interests have ranged from the romantic roots of modern literary theories (Bachelard and Benjamin) to the intersection of feminist theory and comparative literature, as in the volumes Borderwork (1995), Gender in Literary History, CCS 6.2 (2009), and Comparatively Queer (2010). Her work on gender issues in the nineteenth century is represented by British Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (1996) and The Sense of Sex: Feminist Perspectives on Hardy (1992), as well as Penguin and Oxford editions of two Thomas Hardy novels. Much of her recent scholarship has been devoted to the literature of World War I, in articles and in Behind the Lines (1987), Lines of Fire (1999), Nurses at the Front (2001), and Margaret Hall's Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country,1918 - 1919 (forthcoming). She has taught courses as well on "Word and Image," suicide, and children's literature; she edited the journal Children's Literature for seven years.

Mario Perniola:
is full professor of Aesthetics, director of the Centro Studi e Documentazione "Linguaggio e pensiero" (CELP) and former director of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" (Italy).Visiting Professor in many universities and research centres in France, Denmark, Brazil, Japan, Canada, USA and Australia, is author of several books translated into many languages. He has directed the journals «Agaragar» (1971-3) «Clinamen» (1988-92) «Estetica News» (1988-95) and «Ágalma. Rivista di studi culturali e di estetica» (since 2000)

Books translated into English
Enigmas, London-New York, Verso, 1995.
Ritual Thinking. Sexuality, Death, World, Amherst (USA), Humanity Books
The Sex appeal of the Inorganic , Continuum, London-New York 2004.
The Art and its Shadow Continuum, London-New York 2004.
Contemporary Aesthetics , Continuum, forthcoming.
Other Texts in English in the Webpage:

Books in Italian:
Il metaromanzo, Milano, Silva, 1966.
L'alienazione artistica, Milano, Mursia, 1971.
I situazionisti, numero 4 monografico della rivista "Agaragar", 1972; nuova edizione in volume Roma, Castelvecchi, 1998,2005.
Georges Bataille e il negativo, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1977; nuova edizione accresciuta col titolo Philosophia sexualis. Scritti su Georges Bataille, Verona, Ombre Corte, 1998.
La società dei simulacri, Bologna, Cappelli, 1980. Nuova edizione Milano, Mimesis 2011.
Dopo Heidegger. Filosofia ed organizzazione della cultura, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1982.
Transiti. Come si va dallo stesso allo stesso,Bologna, Cappelli, 1985, 1989; terza edizione col titolo Transiti. Filosofia e perversione, Roma, Castelvecchi 1998.
Presa diretta. Estetica e politica, Venezia, Cluva, 1986.
Enigmi. Il momento egizio nella società e nell'arte,Genova, Costa & Nolan, 1990.
Del sentire, Torino, Einaudi, 1991 ried. 2002
Più che sacro, più che profano, Milano,Mimesis, 1992, 2010.
Il sex appeal dell'inorganico, Torino, Einaudi, 1994, 2004, 2010.
Estetica del Novecento, Bologna,il Mulino, 1997.
Disgusti.Nuove tendenze estetiche, Milano, Costa e Nolan,1998, 1999
L'arte e la sua ombra, Torino, Einaudi, 2000.
Del sentire cattolico. La forma culturale di una religione universale, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2001.
Contro la comunicazione, Torino, Einaudi, 2004.
Miracoli e traumi della comunicazione, Torino, Einaudi, 2009.
Strategie del conflitto. Strategie del bello Quarant'anni di estetica italiana (1968-2008) Mimesis Editore, Milano, 2010.