Modern Literature & Culture Research Centre & Gallery

Where: Ryerson University
Instructor: Dr. Irene Gammel
Contact: gammel@ryerson.ca 


Course Description

This course explores themes and processes of social change through the theory and praxis of exhibition, curation, and literary cultures. While social change is the frequent topic of sociological studies, it is much less considered in intellectual, literary and artistic spheres. The course engages with the modernist period, exploring how well-known and forgotten artists and public intellectuals curated cultural shifts and historical upheavals. Case studies include the Walter and Louise Arensberg circle, New York Dada, jazz-age domestic salons, and the and the Lost Generation, with an emphasis on cultures of exhibition and curation as agents of social change. The course also probes the avant-garde’s curatorial engagement of Indigenous materials during this period and beyond. The course ends with a focus on more recent social disruption and political turmoil, examining how the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, aesthetic practices of Indigeneity, and the profound political unsettlements of the Trump era are exhibited and curated through cartoons, creative writing, and digital culture. Students conduct research and mobilize knowledge through online publishing platforms. 

Curating Social Change — Graduate Symposium on Exhibition, Curation, and Literary Cultures

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

MLC Themes

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

Amid the unprecedented social change of World War I, women renegotiated their identities by dramatically changing the way they engaged with the arts. But how did they do so? And how did everyday citizens engage with the war?

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

MLC Themes

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, considered by many to be the mother of Dada, was a daringly innovative poet and an early creator of junk sculpture. “The Baroness” was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances.

Modernism in the World

MLC Themes

Modernism in the World

Recent research has departed from the Euro-centric and national view of Modernism to include approaches and methods studying Modernism across national boundaries and across different art forms to include fashion, dance, performance, technology, and visual culture.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

MLC Themes

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is perhaps Canada's most important literary export. She was prolific writer of over 500 short stories and poems, and twenty novels, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Canadian Modernism

MLC Themes

Canadian Modernism

The works of numerous Canadian authors who lived during the modernist era may well constitute the most central and experimental articulation of Canadian modernism in prose, allowing authors to stage cross-cultural, controversial, and even conflicted identities.

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

MLC Themes

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

Life writing, including autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters and testimonials written or told by women and men whose political, literary or philosophical purposes are central to their lives, has become a standard tool for communication and the dissemination of information.