Centre for Modernist Studies

Welcome to the Centre for Modernist Studies


The explosion of literary and artistic activity at the beginning of the twentieth century provoked a fundamental rethinking of cultural and social values the reverberations of which continue to be felt. This new aesthetic of experiment and rupture affected all forms of expression and shaped the ways in which modernity was experienced and understood. Critics and theorists have increasingly understood Modernism as a plural phenomenon, one comprising many avant-garde movements and competing political agendas. New research on Modernism focuses on many previously neglected questions, including the interaction of aesthetic Modernisms with forms of nationalism and internationalism; the exploration of Modernist publishing, patronage and networks of support; and the continuation of Modernism within contemporary literary and artistic culture.

The Centre for Modernist Studies brings together faculty and students to explore key questions relating to the cultural forms of Modernism. Researchers in English, History, American Studies, History of Art, Film and Media, Music, and Philosophy contribute to an ongoing programme of conferences, seminars, readings and performances. In the recent past, amongst other events, we’ve hosted the Sussex Poetry Festival; a performance of “A”-24 by Louis Zukofsky, and one-day colloquia on Frank O’Hara, Elizabeth Bowen, and Mina Loy. We’ve sponsored talks by critics and theorists of Modernism including Rachel Bowlby, Gabriel Josipovici, Jean-Michel Rabaté and Michael Levenson. In 2013 we hosted the annual Modernist Studies Association conference and in 2014, Here by Sea and Sand: a symposium on Quadrophenia.




Feminist Terrorists and Terrorist Feminists: Crosswiring Feminism and Terrorism

June 4, 2015

A talk by Amanda Third, University of Western Sydney

Jubilee 155 5:00-6:30


The Centre for Modernist Studies is very pleased to be hosting Amanda Third, an assistant professor at the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Amanda has recently published a fantastic study on the relationship between feminism and terrorism, entitled: Gender and the Political: Deconstructing the Female Terrorist. This work is literary, theoretical, historical, and sociological, and offers a grounded, thorough, feminist reading of contemporary (and pervasive) approaches to terrorism.

Amanda will speak to that book on June 4th, Jubilee 155, University of Sussex, from 5 to 6.30 pm. All staff and students very welcome; please see Amanda's abstract below.


Feminist Terrorists and Terrorist Feminists:Crosswiring Feminism and Terrorism

‘We make God mad.I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularise America – I point the finger in their face and say, You helped this happen”’.

- Reverend Jerry Falwell, 2011

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, television icon of the North American religious right, Reverend Jerry Falwell, made a guest appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network's700 Club in which he claimed that feminists, among others, were at least partially to blame for ‘God’s wrath descending on America’.

For the televangelist moral right, feminism, like terrorism, is constructed as a political threat to the United States. As outrageous as Falwell’s remarks may be, what is noteworthy is that they make an explicit connection between the occurrence of terrorism on United States’ soil, and the circulation and institutionalisation of feminist principles and practices within dominant North American culture. In Falwell’s formulation, feminism is, however indirectly, causally connected to, and responsible for, terrorism. In this context, contemporary feminism gets positioned as a ‘terrorist threat’.

This paper traces the discursive alignment of feminism and terrorism in the Western world back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. At this historical moment, the institutions of Western culture began their project of delineating the specific threat of female terrorism, and the female terrorist became the subject of various forms of dominant cultural knowledge production, from counterterrorism, law enforcement and psychology to the news media, pulp fiction and film. This moment also coincides with the rise of second wave feminism, when large numbers of women began challenging the everydayness of masculine privilege. Through an analysis of popular cultural and counterterrorist texts, this paper argues that, since the 1970s, the figure of the female terrorist has operated within Western culture as a site for the discursive containment and control of the dual threats of terrorism and feminism.



6th Annual Sussex Poetry Festival

5th-6th June

Marlborough Theatre, Brighton 


Information and tickets available here: https://sussexpofest.wordpress.com/