May 21, 2012
English Professor Charles Tung presented “Modernist Heterochrony: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Aesthetic Form” at Generation M: Resetting Modernist Time in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The international conference brought together a select group of 24 scholars whose focus is early 20th century literary studies. The conference was sponsored by the University of Amsterdam, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Louisville.
Tung’s paper argued that modernism radicalized the idea of generation in advance of Karl Mannheim’s sociological revision of the concept by pushing the metaphors of kinship at the heart of generational consciousness to their extreme.
“Many of the modernisms from the late 19th century to the early 20th century expanded the idea of generation to include not just parents but ancient, increasingly unrelated ancestors, and not just children, but far-off, increasingly unrelated posterity,” Tung said. “This transformation of generation gets embodied in Wells’s interest in the evolutionary mechanism of heterochrony—the variation in the rate or timing of the biological development of an organism with morphological and phylogenetic consequences—and plays out in both cubist painting and literary fragmentation.”
Tung, who received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.Phil. from the University of Oxford, specializes in modernism in art and literature as well as contemporary literary theory. He joined the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2004.
The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate and 7 advanced degrees.
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