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Graduate Fall 2019: Sean Weidman

Modernist Hospitalities: Modern Culture and the Politics of Welcoming

PhD Candidate in English

Modernist Hospitalities: Modern Culture and the Politics of Welcoming

My dissertation is motivated by the belief that hospitality remained a pressing feature of both modernity and the modern everyday. I argue that the ethical canvas of hospitality—which I trace across the lives and work of modern figures and thinkers like W.B. Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore, Edith Wharton, Ford Madox Ford, and Dorothy Day—gave an innovative kind of political force to the configurations of community appearing around the early 20th-century in the wake of empire, global war, and widespread poverty. The project considers, in short, how our understanding of modern community changes when we refocus on the matter of welcoming, and in particular on the way many of modernism’s familiar faces were taken up with hospitality’s social stakes, its uneven politics, and its ethical possibilities.