Historical Modernisms Symposium

Monday 12 - Tuesday 13 December 2016, Senate House

Counter to the conventional perception of modernism as ahistorical, there have been recent academic and critical efforts to historicize it. The Historical Modernism Symposium seeks to contribute to this trend by inviting readings of modern/ist literature and avant-garde art movements in the historical contexts of their production and reception, while assessing their entanglement with history and modernity transnationally.
The symposium aims to look at the history of modernism and the avant-gardes in relation to and their place in (literary and art) History, addressing questions of their relation with modern times, raised, for example, by colonialism; nationalism; globalisation; economics; politics; tradition; technology; urbanism, classicism; mythology; mysticism; religion; psychology/psychoanalysis.

Importantly, it will examine pertinent philosophies of time, historiographical practices and representations of local and world historical events, such as the two World Wars, the Russian  Revolution and the rise of Fascism.
Finally, it will also investigate modernist concepts of the spirit of the times as well as new notions of and approaches to literary history.
A core question posed by the symposium topic is how a modernist aesthetics of innovation transformed history in ways that make modernism not just a history of the present moment but also the history of our present.

Keynote speaker:

Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

Featured speakers:

Hélène Aji, University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre
Sanja Bahun, University of Essex
Sascha Bru, Catholic University of Leuven
Anne-Marie di Biasio, Catholic University of Paris
Daniel Katz, University of Warwick
Vassiliki Kolocotroni, University of Glasgow
Catherine Lanone, Sorbonne-Nouvelle –Paris 3
Laura Marcus, University of Oxford
Scott McCracken, Queen Mary-University of London
Andrew Roberts, University of Dundee
Anna Snaith, King's College- University of London
Andrew Thacker, Nottingham-Trent University

Organiser: Dr. Angeliki Spiropoulou, Visiting Research Fellow at IES-School of Advanced Study; Associate Professor at Peloponnese University.
The Symposium is part of the Comparative Modernisms seminar series at the Institute of English Studies.




  • £55 Standard rate
  • £45 Speaker rate
  • £35 Concessions/student rate

The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: IESEvents@sas.ac.uk