Submission deadline:

March 1, 2024

Avant-Garde and War 

September 17-19, 2024

9th biennial conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM)
Cracow, Poland, Jagiellonian University, 17-19 September 2024

 The term avant-garde – ‘advance guard’ or ‘vanguard’ – suggests military language and contexts related to violence, destruction, demolition, rebellion, and revolution. Descriptions of the historical avant-gardes as artistic and ideological formations accordingly often emphasize the turn against tradition, the rebellion against stagnant categories, the destructive potential of certain ideas, and the constant attempts to violently transgress boundaries in art. The substrate of the avant-gardes, also in the later 20th century and in our own, is conflict and destruction, one of the guiding principles of avant-garde and modernist thought and practice being to build and create on the ruins of the past. War indeed is rarely absent from the avant-garde community of experience – whether as world wars, civil wars, terror, revolutions, totalitarianism, occupation, liberation struggles – so much so that some scholars see these events, especially the destructive power of the war machine, as the ‘tragic defeat of modernity’. However, our models of avant-garde and modernist practices across all of the arts up until the present day should not be limited to the self-image of the avant-gardes as revolutionaries, rebels and demolitionists. Wars have also ushered in new beginnings, offering opportunities for avant-gardes to further their missions, or causing them to re-appraise and adapt to changed circumstances.

How, then, do the avant-gardes inhabit war – and how does war inhabit the avant-gardes?

The organizers invite innovative and freshly-researched proposals for creative and critical presentations – in all areas of avant-garde and modernist practice across all of the arts – which frame and re-frame our thinking about avant-gardism/modernism and war.

Suggested topics include:

 war as a catalyst for the avant-garde

 avant-gardes as a catalyst for conflict 

 avant-gardes at war

 avant-garde as a militaristic cultural formation

 the relation of artistic and social programs in times of war

 antiwar avant-gardes

 wartime fate of avant-garde practitioners

 military service and the home front

 national culture in times of civil war

 art across the frontline: the internationalism of art in times of division 

 political and social instrumentalization of the arts during wartime 

 avant-gardes and propaganda 

 responses to the brutality of war 

 the trauma of violence, rape, displacement and loss in avant-garde practice 

 avant-gardes and the challenge of Shoah 

 modernist identities and bodies in times of war 

 feminist writers and artists on war 

 industrial war 

 the music of war 

 avant-garde spaces in wartime 

 living with/resisting occupation 

 the end of war and the ‘rappel à l’ordre’ 

 defeat as a topic, problem and challenge 

 avant-gardes and reconstruction in postwar societies 

 avant-gardes in the nuclear age and during the Cold War 

 avant-gardes in the struggle for decolonization 

 war and revolution in the avant-garde imaginary 

 anticipations of peace and war in avant-garde and modernist writing 


The official languages of this conference are English, French and German. You may submit a proposal for a panel or for an individual paper. A panel consists of three or four speakers. One of the speakers is the chair who makes the submission and supplies the details and proposals of all of the proposed participants. Panels should not consist only of doctoral students. You may submit an individual proposal without specifying a panel and the organizers will assign your paper to a panel if accepted.

Please send panel and individual proposals to:

Deadline for panel and individual proposals: 1 March 2024.

Acceptance of proposals will be notified via email in the end of April 2024.

Please see the EAM website for full details.

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