The chapter calls for a planetary approach to modernist studies through the millennia; adapting cubist multi-perspectivism and Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” the chapter offers thirteen ways of approaching the question of modernity/modernism, notes the increasing transnational expansion of the field, and acknowledges the anxiety and institutional questions this expansion creates. It suggests a provisional, relational definition of modernity that recognizes its relation to empire and conquest and its convergence of rapid change and rupture across all domains of society. It argues against the conventional notions of modernity as either progress or dissolution, proposing instead that the contradictory core of all modernities combine both utopian and dystopian dimensions. The chapter also offers four strategies for reading planetary modernisms: re-vision (rethinking the conventional canon from a planetary perspective), archaeology (discovering forgotten or new instances), circulation (tracing the planetary travels and networks of modernities/modernisms), collage (radical juxtaposition of different modernities/modernisms).
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