Early Career Residential Fellows

Alys Moody (Macquarie University)

2018-2019 Humanities Center Early Career Fellow


Alys specialises in modernism and world literature. Her research investigates how modernism has spread globally and through time. She is particularly interested in how modernist ideas about the nature and social function of art continue to shape literary and aesthetic thought and practice into the present.

Her first book, The Art of Hunger: Aesthetic Autonomy and the Afterlives of Modernism, will be published by Oxford University Press in late 2018. This book argues that, for a tradition of modernist and modernist-influenced writers, hunger became a way of figuring aesthetic autonomy, especially in historical moments where aesthetic autonomy was under siege. Tracing the history of this metaphor from the mid-nineteenth through to the late twentieth century, it shows how modernist aesthetic autonomy shaped generations of thought about art and modernism, and their relationship to politics. Within this larger history, this book picks out a tradition of writers, who develop a theory of aesthetic autonomy as paradoxically unfree, and in so doing open new ways of conceputalisating the relationship between literature, politics, and embodiment, through the metaphor of writing as hunger.

With Stephen J. Ross, she is also the editor of Global Modernists on Modernism, an anthology of source texts for global modernism that is due for publication with Bloomsbury in mid-2019. In collaboration with scholars and translators from the US, the UK and elsewhere, this volume assembles original essays and manifestos by writers and artists who have  produced modernist works in locations—from China and Japan to Turkey and the Middle East to Africa to Latin American to Oceania—not usually  associated with the term. Together, these texts help to clarify what modernism has meant for writers around the world, and how modernism changes when it becomes global modernism. 

At the Humanities Center, Alys will work on her second monograph project, The Literature of World Hunger: Poverty, Global Modernism, and the Emergence of a World Literary System. This project  traces the co-evolution of world hunger and world literature from the end of World War II to the end of the Cold War, a period during which both concepts emerged as important geopolitical forces. This project is particularly interested in how hunger and literature both project different theories of "the world," and how thinking these concepts together might allow us to think about the possibilities and limitations of cultural production in situations of significant inequality.

When not at Pitt, Alys is Lecturer in English at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She has previously taught at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, Université Paris 7-Paris Diderot in France, and the University of Oxford in the UK, where she studied for her doctorate.



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