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Literature Compass Special Issue:
“The Histories and Practices of Modernist Studies in Asia”

April 15, 2021

Submission deadline:

April 15, 2021

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For a prospective peer-reviewed special issue of Literature Compass, we invite submissions that reflect on the past, present and future of modernist studies in various locations of Asia. How has “modernism” been historically conceived and studied in Asia? What institutions have shaped and are shaping the fortunes of modernist studies in Asia? How are the histories and practices of modernist studies mediated by translation among various languages used in this part of the world?

We particularly welcome essays that address the above questions in dialogue with recent reflections on the new modernist studies. For instance, the global turn in modernist studies raises what Paul Saint-Amour has called “the question of expansionism.” How to balance, in Saint-Amour’s words, “the obligation to broaden narrow canons” and “the dangers of overreach and appropriation,” not only concerns the development of Anglo-American studies of modernism but has bearings on the practice of modernist studies in other regions. Negotiating the question of the modernist canon, for instance, can have diverging implications, pedagogically, politically, and practically, in different cultural contexts. While reshaping teaching and research trajectories, it may also bring about structural changes that tend to redefine the character of academic disciplines including English, Comparative Literature, and other language and cultural programs.

Reexaminations of the new modernist studies have also drawn fresh attention to modernism’s complex relationship to institutions. Douglas Mao (2021) notes “how vitally modernist studies has been shaped by institutional substrates.” Likewise, Sean Latham and Gayle Rogers (2021) point out that spaces as varied as “journals, monographs, conferences, classrooms, anthologies, lectures, even hallway conversations” have played a pivotal role in the formation and renovation of modernist studies. The unfolding of the story of modernism in both Anglo-American and non-English-speaking settings has also been significantly mediated by translation within and without academia from the very outset. How modernism operates and circulates through multiple layers of translation and a mutual and multidirectional relationship between translation and critical scholarship remains an essential part of the evolution of global modernism.

This special issue hopes to contribute to ongoing discussions about modernist studies through a focused analysis of its histories and practices in Asian contexts. We seek proposals for original essays that examine how modernism has been received, interpreted, and instituted in diverse sites and places in Asia. We also welcome critical investigations into how the practice of modernist studies in Asia enriches, nuances, or complicates global modernism.

Topics of particular interest include (but are not limited to):

- Asia and the modernist canon

- teaching modernism in Asia

- modernism and translation

- modernism and popular culture in Asia

- modernist networks in Asia

- the circulation of modernism within Asia

- the reception or promotion of individual modernist authors within and beyond Asia

- approaches to modernism peculiar to Asian contexts

Abstracts of maximum 500 words along with short biographies are due April 15, 2021. A total of five to seven proposals will be accepted; completed essays of approximately 3,000 – 5,000 words (excluding references) will be due August 30, 2021. The submitted essays will undergo rigorous peer review. Please send abstracts to the guest editors Nan Zhang ( and Kunio Shin ( .

Postgraduate Roundtable
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