Students at Royal Holloway,
University of London Royal Holloway,
University of London

International Conference: The European Fin de Siècle: Gender, Nation, Race

Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, London, 8-9 December 2006


The European fin de siècle has been the focus for a series of ongoing
controversies on the nature of Modernity and the origins of Modernism. For
a long time associated with decadence and decline and considered as the
end of an era, it now tends to be identified as a precursor of Modernism
or indeed its first phase. Indeed, it is during this period that some of
the central concerns of twentieth-century thinking, especially as regards
conceptualisations of gender, nation and race, came to the fore. Adopting
a comparative approach, this conference will reassess the European fin de
siècle from these three key perspectives and show their radical impact on
the emergence of Modernism.

Under the heading of gender, topics to be discussed may include the late
nineteenth-century medicalisation of sex, the debate on masculinity and
femininity, and on feminism and anti-feminism. Under nation, papers may
focus on, amongst others, the construction of ^Ñplace-based^Ò identities
in cultural production such as architecture, film, music and the theatre,
and the interplay between the local, the regional, the national and the
global in the configuration of identities. Finally, the papers on race may
investigate the intersection between racial science and theories of
biological essence, beauty and the primitive and the theory of eugenics.

The conference will adopt a resolutely interdisciplinary approach.
Contributions that will challenge standard views of the fin de siècle are
invited from scholars in the fields of literature, art history,
architecture, music, cultural history and history of science. Whilst we
expect that participants may wish to focus on the traditional ^Ñcapitals^Ò
of the fin de siècle, Paris and Vienna, we would also specifically welcome
papers that examine the role of regional centres such as Cracow, Dresden,
Munich, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Czernowitz, etc.

Proposals (400 words maximum) for 25 minute papers should be sent to the
conference organisers Peter Davies ( and Marion
Schmid ( by 5 June 2006.

Dr Peter Davies
School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
University of Edinburgh
David Hume Tower
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9JX

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