Monthly Archives: June 2013

External CFP: Tasting Modernism (special issue of Resilience)


Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities invites short, original essays for its upcoming “Tasting Modernism” special issue. Based on the 2012 Modernist Studies Association panel of the same name, this issue aims to provide a forum to explore the spectacular nature of culinary modernism and to rethink modernist food writing, broadly conceived.

In the past two decades, food matters have become an increasingly pressing site of cultural and environmental concern even as food studies have become a vital site of interdisciplinary critical inquiry. As the humanities have begun to take the ecology of eating seriously, scholars have recently turned their attention to the way that modernist writers, in particular, digested and experimented with the emerging global food politics of their day, even as a range of twentieth-century food writers adapted modernist techniques for their culinary designs. This issue thus encourages a broad range of questions about the relationship between at once food and modernism, but also between modernist forms and the aesthetics, politics, and science of modern food. How does literature archive or refashion contemporary anxieties about what and why we eat? In what ways might food essays, culinary manifestos, and cookbooks reflect — or intervene in — wider debates on literary taste, cultural ideologies, and food politics? What does culinary experimentation or indigestion “taste” like and how does it pop up across a range of modernist forms, from little magazines and avant-garde film to experimental performance and hard-boiled pulp? And what are the afterlives of modernist food — and modernist food writing — in contemporary American culture?

Possible topics include:
* Food and hunger in wartime and postwar fiction
* The cultural work of food in modernist pulp
* Edible (or indigestible) environments
* Radical uses of food/art
* Ethnic foodways
* Gustatory memory
* Spectacles of eating
* Food science and modern literature
* Culinary regionalism or nationalism
* Food anxiety
* Food production, cultivation, or consumption
* Culinary tourism
* Kitchen culture & postwar domesticity
* Molecular gastronomy & the afterlife of modernist cuisine
* Postwar cookery and contemporary food blogs
* Edible experimentation and food activism

Submissions of 3000-4,000 words (including endnotes) should be submitted using our submission form along with a 300-word abstract and the other required information by October 1, 2013. Essays should be in Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition). All artwork should be saved separately in TIFF or JPEG format. Also, please be sure to delete your name and all identifying references in your manuscript.

Queries and correspondence should be directed to the guest editor, J. Michelle Coghlan, University of Manchester (

See the Resilience website for further details:

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keynote profile: Yvonne Tasker

Silence of the Lambs

In this third edition of the Keynote Profile series, we are honoured to introduce Professor of Film and Television Studies Yvonne Tasker (University of East Anglia), whose groundbreaking research on gender and action cinema that makes her an original force in the field of the Marginalised Mainstream. This research led to Action and Adventure Cinema (2004) and Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Crime and the Action Cinema (1993).

Yvonne is a prolific scholar, with an immense body of work behind her, including Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture (2007) and Silence of the Lambs (2002). She has also written several essays for BFI Flipside, which is re-telling ‘the untold history of British film’ through its re-release of the cornerstones and lost treasures of British cinema.

Her research continues to explore questions of gender, race and sexuality in film and television, postfeminist media culture, security, trauma and loss in crime television. Her most recent work considers depictions of gender and military culture on screen, which yielded her latest book, Soldiers’ Stories: Military Women in Cinema and Television since WWII (2011). She is currently working with Professor Diane Negra on a new book of essays, Gendering the Recession.

Yvonne teaches courses on gender and contemporary cinema, as well as on criminal investigation TV serials, which, as an avid watcher of innumerable police procedurals, makes this writer wish she lived nearer UEA.

Yvonne can be found at:

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one week to go

Psycho poster

There is just one week before call for papers for MM2013: Fading and Emerging closes on 17 June 2013, so get your abstracts in!

Submissions should include a 350-word abstract and a cover sheet including your name, university, contact information, plus a brief biographical paragraph about your academic interests, and be emailed to:

We are aiming to get responses out by 24 June, but if your department has a budget deadline before this (or if any international delegates have visa requirements) please let us know and we will endeavour to attend to your abstract as quickly as possible.

Click here to download the CFP poster.

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keynote profile: Kate Macdonald


For our second Keynote Profile, we are very excited to introduce Dr Kate Macdonald. Kate lectures at Ghent University, Belgium, on British literary history and culture, and a former academic editor. Returning Marginalised Mainstreamers will remember her as leader of last year’s conference workshop, Shame, the report for which you can find here.

Kate is a leading authority on the writing of Scottish author John Buchan, and has published extensively on the writer. She has a passion for recovering forgotten but one-time best-selling authors, such as Dornford Yates, Angela Thirkell and Una L. Silberrad, and is an active part of the current drive to increase the reach (and reputation) of middlebrow research, through works including The Masculine Middlebrow, 1880-1950: What Mr Miniver Read (2011). Her edition of Una L. Silberrad’s The Good Comrade (1907) will be published soon by Victorian Secrets.

Kate is currently also lead series editor for the Pickering & Chatto monograph series, Literary Texts and the Popular Marketplace (as well as being the editor of an inordinate number of essay collections, mostly on twentieth-century British literary history), which has been releasing a steady stream of really interesting titles. The most recent publication, which Kate edited with Nathan Waddell, is John Buchan and the Idea of Modernity (May 2013).

Outside official academic life, Kate is passionate about the dissemination of academic research to the marketplace. Two of her primary outlets for this is her podcast series, Why I Really Like This Book (22,000 downloads since May 2010 and counting), and the independent book-blogging collective Vulpes Libris.

Kate can be found at:

You can also listen to her fascinating interview with Alison Turner about World War One poetry, in a series called Armistice Day for Expats in Belgium, for PRX.

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keynote profile: Nicola Humble


In our first of our Keynote Profile series, we would like to introduce Professor Nicola Humble (Roehampton University). I think all three of the organisers have come in contact with Nicki at various conferences over the years, including the excellent ‘Popular and the Middlebrow: Women’s Writing, 1880-1940’ conference up in Newcastle last April.

Nicki studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, followed by a PhD on Robert Browning and history. She has been at Roehampton University since 1992 where she teaches nineteenth and twentieth-century English literature, including a course on the literature of food which is the first in the country.

Nicki is an incredibly broad-ranging scholar. Although she specialises in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and cultural history, Nicki particularly focuses on middlebrow fiction, the literature, culture and history of food, historiography, women’s writing and children’s literature. Nicki is currently looking at domestic crafts in Britain, from the eighteenth century to the present, as part of a major project that looks at the literature and culture associated, provisionally entitled Home Making: The Domestic Arts in Literature and Culture 1750-2010. She also continues her work on various aspects of the middlebrow, including middlebrow and camp and the figure of the bachelor in the masculine middlebrow.

Among the many works she has published are The Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s: Class, Domesticity and Bohemianism (2001), the award-winning Culinary Pleasures: Cook Books and the Transformation of British Food (2005) and Cake: A Global History (2010), as well as and an Oxford edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (2000).

Nicola Humble can be found at:

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Machiavellian characters

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy2

This is a few days old now, but if you have not yet seen the rather excellent article on Machiavellian characters over at BBC, get thyself over forthwith.

As someone whose research means she encounters them on a daily basis, perhaps I’m biased. However, there is nothing quite so delicious as the precise, calculated schemer, the amoral man of mystery or the cunning femme fatale. The Machiavellian villain has a long and devious history; s/he was around long before Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his his guide to statesmanship for a hypothetical leader, The Prince, 500 years ago. Machiavelli himself cited biblical figures and the protagonists of Greek and Roman myths, calling out Jacob and Esau and Aeneas as prime examples.

The best adversarial characters are those whose cunning is simultaneously deplorable and magnetic, ‘repellent and charismatic’. They operate within the margins of morality. Or should I say they are able to see past commonplace constructions of morality? They are ambiguous creatures, but never ambivalent. They slip from one mask to the next, always one step ahead of us poor, dupeable wretches how will forever fall for their schemes. And yet, for all their duplicity and cold-heartedness, there is something terribly attractive about them.

Tom Ripley is rather case in point, but I’ve always been a bit partial to Bill Haydon from John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Bill is modelled on real-life Machiavellian, or perhaps just double-crosser, Kim Philby and the rest of the Cambridge lot. (Philby, it’s claimed, compromised le Carré’s own career in MI6.) Although Bill was recruited by Soviet intelligence during his Cambridge days in the 1930s, he claims that he only became a serious agent for them following the Suez crisis. It was at this point that it became clear that Britain’s importance on the world stage had collapsed and had become, in his view, was subservient to America. In some beautifully twisted logic, Bill holds that it is a hatred for the Americans, who have exploited Britain’s waning authority, that led him resolve to do as much damage to America as possible, by spying for the Russians. The consequences for anyone else are, of course, never really considered.

Who is your favourite Machiavellian character?

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June 3, 2013 · 8:06 am