Fall 2014: Modernity’s Discontents

Modernity’s Discontents: Anti-Modern Thought and Culture
Friday, October 24, 2014, 1:30-5:30 p.m., reception to follow

114 Smith Hall, George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20010
Free and open to the Public

For audio files of the lectures from the Symposium, click here

Modernity has been prized, fetishized, conflated with sundry co-developments—and vehemently opposed. This symposium seeks to address, from several disciplinary standpoints, the relationships between modernity and the categorical reactions to it. When, how, and why do people react to “modernity,” and to “modernism”? What gets blamed on modernity? How has the idea of modernity circulated, and how has it served heterogeneous ideological and cultural agendas? To what extent has modernity in fact invented or imagined its oppositions? Our speakers will consider ways in which individuals and groups self-consciously take up the idea of the modern in order to struggle against it.

In conjunction with the symposium, the Potomac Center will host a graduate student workshop on MondayOctober 27, at the University of Maryland.


How to be Muslim in Modern India: A Lesson from Old Delhi’s “Muslim Club”
Kalyani Devaki Menon

Associate Professor of Religious Studies
DePaul University

Cosmetics, Beauty and Modernity
Uta G. Poiger

Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and Professor of History
Northeastern University

Does Modernism Remember? Can Anti-Modernism Forget?
Depolarizing the Past in Some 1930s Regionalist Manifestos

Jason Weems

Assistant Professor of Art History
University of California, Riverside

Modernity in Motion:  Brazil’s Struggle to Make the Nation
Joel Wolfe
Professor of History
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Symposium Chair

Ben Cowan
Assistant Professor of History and Art History
George Mason University