Annual Conference

The Space Between Society: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945
Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, VA
June 3-5, 2021

Keynote Speaker: TBA

Join the Space Between Society in Richmond, VA, for our 22nd annual conference, Race in the Space Between, 1914-1945. Our conference this year focuses especially on questions and problems related to race and racial formation in the years between 1914-1945.

In the Space Between Society, scholars who study literature, history, media, art, society, and culture between 1914 and 1945, or between and during the two world wars of the twentieth-century, exchange ideas about their approaches and their objects of study. This year’s conference addresses the key roles that race—including racial formation, racial ideologies and racialist practices—played in creative, intellectual, ideological, and political conversations from 1914-1945. Self-consciously or not, interwar and wartime authors, artists, political figures, public intellectuals, and public officials around the world invested in the concept of race. For some, race was a means to assert social identity (white, black, Asian, American Indian, Pacific Islander). For others, race informed concepts of modernity and/or modernism. For still others, race shaped views of time and place, structuring how interwar and wartime cultures were interpreted, received, deployed, and exchanged.

We invite conference participants to consider:

  • What different cultural and scientific assumptions about race shape various sites during this period and our knowledge about it?
  • What methods can we utilize in our particular fields to analyze race as a component of cultural production?
  • What are the challenges of thinking about race and bringing such work into conversation with scholars in the wide range of fields represented in the Space Between Society?
  • We welcome paper and session proposals that engage with multiple forms, definitions, and investments in race in the space between and during the two world wars, across all disciplines and media, on research and/or pedagogy.

Possible presentations or panel topics include

  • Race, place, and regionalism
  • Race and memory (monuments, storytelling, recollections)
  • Race and art, media, sound
  • Racial performance, racial spectacle
  • Race and science (Eugenics, technology, innovation)
  • Racial self-fashioning (passing)
  • Racism and racial hierarchies
  • Racial invisibility and absence
  • Language (slang, racialized vernacular)
  • Segregation, isolation, and confinement
  • Intersectionality (e.g. race and gender)
  • International and comparative contexts of race and movement (migration, immigration, relocation)
  • Interracialism and cross-racial cultural production
  • Race and the metropolis
  • International and comparative contexts of race and politics/political systems
  • Economies of race (labor, consumption, commercialism)
  • Race, violence, war, and social movements
  • The Holocaust
  • Anti-Semitism
  • Racial genocide
  • Whiteness
  • Marginality and the “other”

We welcome Space Between Society members to join us for our annual conference, which is anticipated to be both online and in person as conditions allow. The 2021 conference seeks to offer mentoring workshops and 1:1 mentoring sessions for its participants. Some travel grant funding will be available for graduate students and international and independent scholars; please indicate your interest in your cover letter.