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Literary Magazines and Communities : From the Anti-Colonial to the Avant-Garde | Wednesday 14 August, 6-8pm

Literary Magazines and Communities: From the Anti-Colonial to the Avant-Garde

A conversation between Hana Morgenstern and Sophie Seita to celebrate the launch of Sophie Seita’s Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital (Stanford University Press, 2019).

What would it mean to be avant-garde today? Arguing against the notion that the avant-garde is dead or confined to historically "failed" movements, this book offers a more dynamic and inclusive theory of avant-gardes that accounts for how they work in our present. Innovative in approach, Provisional Avant-Gardes focuses on the medium of the little magazine—from early Dada experiments to feminist, queer, and digital publishing networks—to understand avant-gardes as provisional and heterogeneous communities. Paying particular attention to neglected women writers, artists, and editors alongside more canonical figures, it shows how the study of little magazines can change our views of literary and art history while shedding new light on individual careers. By focusing on the avant-garde's publishing history and group dynamics, Sophie Seita also demonstrates a new methodology for writing about avant-garde practice across time, one that is applicable to other artistic and non-artistic communities and that speaks to contemporary practitioners as much as scholars. In the process, she addresses fundamental questions about community, collaboration, and the intersections of aesthetic form and politics. 

Drinks and books from 6pm with conversation from 6.30pm 


Sophie Seita is an artist and academic whose practice spans text- and archive-based work, translation, performance, lecture-performance, video, and queer-feminist collaboration. Most recently, she’s the author of My Little Enlightenment: A Lecture Performance (Other Forms, 2019); the editor of The Blind Man (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017), named one of the Best Art Books of 2017 by The New York Times; and the translator of Subsisters (Belladonna*, 2017) by Uljana Wolf, whose selected essays she is also currently translating. She has performed nationally and internationally and earlier this year had a solo exhibition at [ SPACE ] in Hackney. Between 2016 and 2019 she taught at the University of Cambridge and from September will take up an Assistant Professorship at Boston University.

Dr Hana Morgenstern is a scholar, writer and translator. She is University Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle East Literature at Cambridge University and a Senior Fellow at Newnham College. Dr Morgenstern is co-director of the Documents of the Arab Left Project. She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled, A Literature for All Its Citizens: Anti-Colonial Aesthetics in Palestine/Israel.


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