Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference in Nashville

Kathy Lou Schultz, Tisa Bryant and I enjoyed being on a panel together at the recent Modernist Studies Association Conference held in Nashville.

The panel was entitled "Diasporic Modernism, (Post)Modernisms, Afro-Futurism: Positioning African American Writers and Artists in the Global Diaspora." Through an exploration of poetry, film, painting, and hybrid texts, the panel explored diverse African American poets’, authors’ and artists’ use of what we are variously terming diasporic modernism (Schultz), diasporic fugitivity (Tremblay-McGaw), and Afro-Futurism (Bryant). Each panelist theorized her usages of her chosen terms in order to frame the global and aesthetic positioning of her texts, all of which explore diasporic subject positions. Texts discussed included the works of Melvin B. Tolson, Langston Hughes, Nathaniel Mackey, Harryette Mullen, Jenny Sharpe and Ana-Maurine Lara, as well as visual artists Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, Tracey Moffatt and Kara Walker.

The paper titles included:

Tisa Bryant's "Spectral Evidence: Atavistic, Archaeological and Visual Impressions on the Making of Black Texts."

Kathy Lou Schultz's "Diasporic Modernism in Libretto for the Republic of Liberia and Ask Your Mama:12 Moods for Jazz."

Robin Tremblay-McGaw’s “Diasporic Fugitivity and the Archive in the Work of Nathaniel Mackey and Harryette Mullen.”

The panel was a great success. There was lots of serendipitous overlap in our three papers, some of which extended to an interest in mobility/fugitivity and working with the problematics/potentialities of temporality--past, present, future--and their palimpsestic imbrication and spectral presence/evidence, the archive and the archaeological.

In this photo: audience member and valued interlocutor, Professor Meta DuEwa Jones of the University of Texas at Austin, along with Kathy Lou and Tisa, who is signing a copy of her fabulous book, Unexplained Presence.

Our panel's chair was Professor Gene Jarrett of Boston University. He has a book entitled Deans and Truants: Race and Realism in African American Literature (2007).

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