Call for Papers for a special issue of Comparative American Studies:
American Networks: Radicals Under the Radar (1868-1968)
Networks are the life-blood of many collaborative artistic and political movements. The aim of this special issue is to explore the confluence of American art and radicalism transnationally in the hundred-year lead up to 1968, a high-point in radical artistic and political expression. In focusing on the precursors to this watershed, its editors seek essays that investigate American networks and challenge conventional scholarship about the makeup, shape and associations of such artistic and political collaboration.
Affiliations between American artists and radical thinkers have led to paradigm shifts that have changed world history. Communists, Wobblies, revolutionaries, socialists, Fabianists, Pan-Africanists, Pan-Americanists, revolutionaries, anarchists, political exiles and Garveyites all played their role in shaping American literature, art and politics. Whether such networks existed in tangible social enclaves—homes, bars, cafés, offices and neighbourhoods—or virtually in an edited book, they inevitably drew together collaborators from different cultural, national and linguistic backgrounds. In American studies, scholarship on some of the most significant artistic movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century have been dominated by North Atlantic paradigms which accent US and northern European frameworks.
More often than not, New York is defined as a key site of artistic exchange in relation to Paris and London, imperial metropolises bearing significant cultural as well as economic capital. As a result, the United States’s relationship with its southern neighbours in Latin America and the Caribbean, and with the Global South more broadly, is often neglected or marginalized. Furthermore, significant movements which emerged across the American continent (modernismo, indigenismo, négritude and the New Negro movement) are on occasions positioned as local or peripheral in relation to an apparently global, high-Modernist canon that includes the Imagists, the Bloomsbury Group and various Left Bank Parisian avant-garde circles. In twentieth-century studies, the two World Wars can also serve to reinforce a North Atlantic frame of reference, as action in Europe with US involvement and its significance can obscure other seminal episodes in world history. The Mexican and Russian revolutions or the construction of the Panama Canal, for example, accent different historical moments, complicating dominant narratives about the Americas and its relations.
The guest editors welcome essays on transnational and hemispheric American networks which draw on artistic and radical connections. Submissions are encouraged which challenge received wisdom about the role, function and importance of artistic-radical American exchanges and which explore the connectivity between groups and individuals often seen as discrete.
Deadline for abstracts: 31st May 2017
Submission deadline for final (accepted) essays: 27th September 2017
Publication date: autumn/winter 2017