Modernist Studies Association annual conference session: Photography, Modernism, Feminism


Date: November 13 – 16, 2008
Venue: Nashville, Tennessee, US

Photography, Modernism, Feminism

In her essay “From Clementina to Kasebier: The Photographic Attainment of the ‘Lady Amateur,'” art historian Carol Armstrong argues that photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Lady Hawarden Clementina, and Gertrude Kasebier took astute advantage of photography’s low place on art’s hierarchical scales to assert themselves as artists. The work of these women, therefore, indirectly calls attention to the relationship between photography and the emergence of feminism in the U.S. and Britain in the nineteenth- and early twentieth- centuries. This panel seeks to bring modernist literature composed by women into the relationship between transatlantic feminism and photographic practice. We hope to address how women writers drew from photography’s image repertoire to assert, subvert, or otherwise engage modernist debates about art and politics, and more particularly, the various ways in which gender inflects or subtends these debates. Working beyond the attempt to match or juxtapose pieces of literature with particular photographs, we seek to explore how photography, referred to as “light writing” in the nineteenth century, offers new ways to interpret the modernist literature produced by women. Papers could examine the work of an individual writer or could compose a theoretical and/or historical exploration of the panel’s key terms.

Send 300 word proposal and a short biographical statement to and