global modernism

Modern Insecurities, or, Living on the Edge

A feeling of insecurity has infiltrated daily life in the United States. This general unease clouds the perception of many, preventing them from—or, allowing them to avoid—interrogating the reality of their situation. Important to remember always, but especially today, is that some people have permanent access to safety, while many live perpetually adjacent to or outside of it. As a result, they lack the support that would enable them to act confidently, without fear. For good reason, insecurity has a predominantly negative connotation, yet this feeling also holds positive potential for those who exist in positions of safety. Rather than closing themselves off, restricting interactions with other people and ideas, they can respond by seeking out new experiences and affiliations from which they can reflect back on the zone of safety. From this vantage point, safety’s limitations become easier to recognize and change more accessible. 

Philology Contra Modernism: Translating Izibongo in Johannesburg

In many ways, the concept of translation has been at the heart of the global modernist project.

Before Global Modernism: Comparing Renaissance, Reform, and Rewriting in the Global South


Fig. 1. Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore, July 14, 1930.  Photograph by Martin Vos. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Field Reports

“Field Reports” will offer lively and timely introductions to important aspects of modernisms from a wide range of languages, nations, and regions. Aimed at a non-specialist audience, they might introduce a newly discovered archive, a recent cluster of groundbreaking articles or books, an exhibition visited, or a major translation. If you have long thought the journal's readers should know more about Greek surrealism, estridentismo, or the Bengali or Harlem Renaissances, this is a place to start. Readers who would like to see a particular topic discussed or who are interested in contributing can post comments or write directly to c-bush@northwstern.edu.

Fielding Questions

The study of literary modernism has expanded so dramatically over the past few decades that I’ve heard more than one colleague ask in exasperation, “Well, then, what isn’t modernism?” As Stephen Colbert might ask: is this a great problem to have . . . or the greatest? Almost certainly the latter, but even so, such dynamism and growth bring challenges: so much to read, compelling us to choose from among the now-dizzying array of possibilities, according to criteria that are themselves subject to change.