Internationalism and the Arts: Imagining the Cosmopolis at the long fin de siècle

The conference will take place at Tate Britain, 5-6 September 2013. Registration is free but please confirm you place by 16 August. For more information, please see

This conference follows a series of workshops organised by the AHRC-funded research network Internationalism and Cultural Exchange c. 1870-1920 (ICE, Previous events have explored different aspects of cultural internationalism at the long fin de siècle, from world exhibitions, to the global rise of the vernacular, and the idea of music as a universal language. This conference adapts Benedict Anderson’s theory of the nation as an imagined community in order to examine certain questions – about the locations, languages and citizens of an ‘imagined cosmopolis’ – which have been fundamental to our enquiry. In particular, it asks what alternatives to nationhood were proposed by artists working at the turn of the twentieth century. What were their sites of operation? How did they use the arts to communicate? And what real and imagined communities did they build to cross national boundaries? The conference will focus on these three themes, of place, language and cosmopolitanism, as they played out during an otherwise intense period of nation-building; and it will examine the methodological implications of cultural internationalism for research, teaching and display in the arts.

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