Cities Under Stress: Urban Discourses of Crisis, Resilience, Resistance, and Renewal

Cities Under Stress: Urban Discourses of Crisis, Resilience, Resistance, and Renewal The Third International Conference of the Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS) University of California, Santa Barbara on 17–19 February 2022.
Deadline for submissions: September 1
Conference website: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/hlc-n/2022-conference/

Keynote speakers:

Caroline Levine (Department of English, Cornell U)
Sara Meerow (School of Geographical Science & Urban Planning, Arizona State U)

We invite proposals for contributions at the third international conference of ALUS, scheduled to take place at the University of California, Santa Barbara on 17–19 February 2022. Following earlier successful meetings in Tampere, Finland (2017) and Limerick, Ireland (2019), and sessions at the Modern Language Association Convention (MLA) in both 2020 and 2021, ALUS now organizes its first event in North America.

This conference explores the theme of crisis and response as conveyed in cultural representations of urbanity. We welcome contributions that take up any aspect of or perspective on urban crisis and response, working on any period or genre of literature, from any linguistic tradition. Proposals are invited for individual 20-minute papers or multi-paper panels that in some way work with the theme of urban crisis and response.

The 2020-21 pandemic has led to widespread speculation about how cities will change over the decades to come in response to the vulnerabilities of urban populations exposed by the virus. Other recent events have foregrounded the various roles that cities play as sites of political contestation and social conflict. These include the recent unrest over structural inequalities and police violence (in the USA and around the world), debates over public symbols of cultural memory (as in Bristol, UK), protests against gentrification (as in Berlin), and anti-inequality or pro-democracy demonstrations (as in Santiago, Hong Kong and Cairo). Meanwhile, the nexus of existential threats associated with climate change has lent even greater urgency to the question of how cities must evolve, and whether they can do so in ways that promote more sustainable, equitable, and socially cohesive modes of existence.

Of course, these are hardly the first events to have made cities face the possibility of profound and irrevocable change, nor is this the first time that fears of contagion, violence, and other threats have been concentrated on cities. Only in dialogue with the many profound changes of earlier historical moments can the present moment become explicable, a process in which the humanities have a crucial role to play. Papers concerning literary representations of numerous other crisis moments in the cities of the past are therefore warmly welcomed for this conference.

The triumphalist tone that much urban theory took on at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first is being heard less. Now, it seems, is a time for recognition of profound uncertainty, a time for learning from the numerous crises cities have overcome in the past. In particular, it is a time for awareness of the particular challenges facing peripheral cities, shrinking cities, and cities in the Global South. And yet, as the United Nations’ New Urban Agenda of 2017 asserts, “If well-planned and well-managed, urbanization can be a powerful tool for sustainable development for both developing and developed countries.” Recognizing the central role that cities have played in human history in the past, for better and for worse, and stressing the apparent inevitability of increasing urban growth in the foreseeable future, the UN document expresses optimism about the future of cities, provided that they can be made “inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.”

Many of the watchwords of the UN document–resilience, efficiency, development, consumption, sustainability–are themselves subject to critique, raising larger questions about how the proper goals of urban development should be defined and what principles should guide city planners and city dwellers in an era of proliferating challenges. What clues does the past offer? Do the kinds of representations found in literary texts offer any special insights? How do specific literary forms, including those found in poetry, drama and both prose fiction and nonfictional prose genres mediate and contest the notion of resilience? These are the questions we hope to address in 2022.

Areas you might choose to focus on include:

  • –  theoretical and fictional discourses of urban resilience;
  • –  urban resilience and genre: speculative fiction; creative nonfiction including life writing,travel writing, essay and reportage;
  • –  environmental change including the current climate emergency and its possible impacts incultural representations;
  • –  identities including queer, feminist, and intersectional literary urban studies;
  • –  cities of the Global South, postcolonial literary urban studies and related decolonizingperspectives;
  • –  networks of larger and smaller cities, including global measures of alpha, beta and gamma-level urban regions and representations of secondary and tertiary cities;
  • –  literary representations of city subsections and divisions including but not confined to

o downtowns in crisis,
o exurbs,
o gentrifyingzones,
o informalsettlements,
o industrialzones,or
o portsandotherfrontierpoints;

  • –  sites associated with mass transportation and other urban mobilities;
  • –  representations of plague, epidemic and disease in any historical or national context;
  • –  urban planning texts and other not explicitly literary texts read using literary studiesmethodologies;
  • –  resilience as comprehended in urban poetry or drama;
  • –  accounts of displacement and acts of resistance to it including squatting and rent protests.Please send an abstract of your proposed talk (max. 250 words) and a 50-word bio indicating your affiliation and any other key points to alus-sb-2022@frit.ucsb.edu by 1 September 2021. You may also direct any questions about the conference to this address or individually to the conference organizers.

Conference Organizers

Jason Finch, Åbo Akademi University
Liam Lanigan, Governor’s State University
Eric Prieto, University of California Santa Barbara

ALUS: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/hlc-n/

Course on: New York City And Comics: Examining The ‘Special Relationship’

Cover illustration: Ron Frenz and Josef Rubinstein,  New York, New York  by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb (1985) TSR Role Playing Game booklet

Cover illustration: Ron Frenz and Josef Rubinstein, New York, New York by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb (1985) TSR Role Playing Game booklet

It is often said that New York and the comic book share a unique relationship. It is less often said what that relationship is, exactly — beyond the use of the city as setting in text, or headquarters for the industry, historically. In this course, we look critically at the so-called “New York–comics relationship”: what it meant that the city was so often chosen as the backdrop for story, and how that pattern helped shape new, popular understandings of space, place, and belonging, using the particular narrative forms and rhetoric of the medium.

Nothing in a comic is there accidentally. It is always the result of artistic choice. No story about New York speaks to the same experience of the city, either. And no setting captures every part of it. All of this means something, framing particular, chosen images and ideas. By looking at a variety of comics set in NYC, and different themes — from superheroes and romance and crime to 9/11 and future visions of utopia and dystopia — this course offers both an overview of major tendencies in this genre of comic, and tools for understanding it.

As such, it explores how the so-called New York–comics relationship is created anew every time a creator or creative team decides to make the city its setting. And why New York is so often chosen, against other cities in the US. The course will focus on how New York City is represented, what parts of it are shown, and who in it. It also considers how structural factors, such as differing genre, format, audience, or creator, have produced sometimes wildly contrasting interpretations of the very same places, and, even, ideas.

REGISTER HERE:

https://www.gothamcenter.org/courses/course-1-65ml5

–Martin Lund is Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at Malmö University in Sweden, a comics researcher, and a former Visiting Research Scholar at the Gotham Center for New York City History. His research mostly revolves around comics in relation to different forms of religion, identity, space and place, as well as racism and whiteness. A particular topic of interest is the representation of New York City in comics, and the rhetoric in fandom, pop culture journalism, and the Academy on the so-called “New York–comics relationship.”

Call for MLA 2020 – deadline Mar. 15 – 20th/21st-century Iberian sessions

Sessions Sponsored by MLA Forum on 20th and 21st Century Spanish and Iberian Studies for MLA Convention 2021

Deadline for submission:  March 15

Producing Race for Contemporary Iberian Studies

Papers that explore how the racialization of Spaniards intersects with notions of the modern nation by examining contemporary literature, film and society. 250-word abstracts to jeffrey.coleman@marquette.edu or rosi.song@durham.ac.uk by March 15.

Using Digital Tools in 20th and 21st Century Iberian Studies

Seeking presentations of 5-8 minutes for a round table discussion on using digital tools in research and teaching about contemporary Spanish and Iberian studies. Abstract 250 words and CV to session organizer compitel@email.arizona.edu

Spatial (In)justice in the Anthropocene

Proposals dealing with gentrification, displacement, gender inequality, right to the city and other forms of spatial (in)justice examined in contemporary Spanish and Iberian visual culture. 250-word abstract  to session organizer  Monica Lopez Lerma monlopez@reed.edu

 

 

Repost – “In The Future” Postcards As Popular Urbanism

Great post at the official blog of the Urban History Association by Peter Soppelsa,

Here is the opening paragraph and the link below,

“This post focuses on a remarkable source for illustrating popular urbanism and urban imaginaries: European and American photomontage postcards from around 1900 to 1920 that visualize future cities. Cobbling together an online archive of over 400 future cities photomontages, I discovered an under-utilized body of evidence about popular urbanism. Visual and textual traces of the urban imaginaries of card makers and senders demands further study because they reveal a specific practice of placemaking through print culture. This archive suggests how urban historians can engage with media history, visual studies, and ephemeral sources…”

“In the Future” Postcards as Popular Urbanism

CFP Urban Cultural Studies – AAG in Washington DC April 2019

Call for Lightning-Paper Presentation Session Participants:

Session Title: Urban Cultural Studies I & II

Where:  American Association of Geographers meeting in April 2019, Washington, D.C.

Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social science disciplines, but there has been relatively little real dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social science fields that use urban studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close-readings of the representation of cities in individual novels, music albums/songs, graphic novels, films, videogames, online ‘virtual’ spaces, or other artistic and cultural products. On the other hand, while there is increasing discussion of urban topics and themes in the humanities, broadly considered, there are very few journal publications that are open to these new interdisciplinary directions of scholarship. This session is open to scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions. Presentations will cross the humanities and the social sciences while giving priority to the urban phenomenon, in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.

This Urban Cultural Studies I session is affiliated with the double-blind peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (https://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=225/) and the accompanying blog urbanculturalstudies.wordpress.com. Although the journal is open to many specific methodologies that blend humanities research with social-science perspectives on the city, its central methodological premise of the journal is perhaps best summed up by cultural studies-pioneer Raymond Williams – who emphasized giving equal weight to the ‘project (art)’ and the ‘formation (society)’. We are particularly interested in presentations that achieve some balance between discussing an individual (or multiple) cultural/artistic product(s) in depth and also using one of many social-science (geographical, anthropological, sociological…) urban approaches to investigate a given city. Lightning-paper participants will ideally address both an individual city itself and also its cultural representation in a very brief 5-minute talk. Following all of the 5-minute presentations, discussion will be opened to the audience.

If you are interested in sharing a current or future project in this Urban Cultural Studies session at the AAG 2019 in Washington D.C., please contact the Executive Editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Benjamin Fraser (Professor at the University of Arizona) at urbanculturalstudies@gmail.com. This session is open to scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions. Presentations will cross the humanities and the social sciences while giving priority to the urban phenomenon, in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities. Lightning-paper participants will ideally address both an individual city itself and also its cultural representation in a very brief 5-minute talk.

 

[reposted] Digital | Visual | Cultural event on 28 June 2018

Digital | Visual | Cultural is a series of events happening over the next two years, curated by Professor Gillian Rose and Sterling McKinnon III, and funded by the School of Geography and the Environment and St John’s College, University of Oxford. The first event will be at 5.30pm on 28 June 2018. Prof Shannon Mattern, professor at the New School in New York and author of Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media, will deliver a public lecture followed by a reception. Find out more about the project, and book your tickets for the lecture, via the website dvcultural.org.

JUCS issue 5.1 available!

Volume 5 Issue 1

Cover Date: March 2018

Contents
Cultural studies, behind the scenes: Notes on the craft of interdisciplinary scholarship

Page Start: 3
View Header/Abstract   Purchase PDF

Writing around Paterson: Critical urban poetics in Williams, Olson and Ginsberg
Authors:  Nate Mickelson

Page Start: 15
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Borders and trajectories: Remapping cities in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films
Authors:  Xiao Cai

Page Start: 35
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‘Kerist I wish I was a skyscraper’: John Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer, skyscrapers and the predatory modern city
Authors:  Adam R. McKee

Page Start: 53
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An interdisciplinary look at metropolitanisms

Page Start: 73
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Los Angeles is Latin America: Art, driving and the city

Page Start: 81
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Digital personal space: From the plaza to the global canopy
Authors:  Silvio Carta

Page Start: 91
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JUCS enters year 5 of interdisciplinary research on the culture(s) of cities

IMG_1224.JPG

Thanks to all who have helped the journal through our first four years – editorial team, editorial board members, our new assistant editor team, authors of all types (research articles, short-form articles, blog posts), the team at Intellect publishers, and especially our peer-reviewers and readers!

We’re thrilled to have published four special sections to date and more are on the way (already published:”Urban Soundscapes” in vol 2.1-2; “Cinematicity” in vol. 3.1; and both “Imagining Ground Zero” and also “Cities in the Luso-Hispanic World” in vol. 4.1-2).

Araceli, Stephen and I are pleased to be entering year five with the publication of issue 5.1 (going through production) – and therein you’ll find an editorial (“Urban Cultural Studies, Behind the Scenes: Notes on the Craft of Interdisciplinary Scholarship”) where we review the first years of the journal and emphasize the need to continue to forge places for both interdisciplinary scholarship and reflections on critical urban practice.

Here is a sneak peak of what we discuss in that editorial – regarding the percentage of published material that deals with certain forms of cultural content:

JUCS_5_1_Editorial Figure 2 300 dpi.jpg

 

Barcelona as a City of Migrants

[forwarded from Isabelle Anguelovski, Director of the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability]:

Dear colleagues,

I wanted to share a recent web documentary coordinated by a colleague/friend filmmaker & sociologist, Alberto Bougleux, on Barcelona as a City of Migrants (La Ciudad Migrante). In addition to being an interactive visual platform of many (younger and older) migrant lives and a visual path through photographic installations in the city, it also contains an interactive map of solidarity resources in Barcelona. Have a look at it, it’s a really fascinating project: http://ciudadmigrante.org. The project was supported by the Ajuntament de Barcelona, the Museu d’Historià de la Immigració de Catalunya, and produced by the Mescladis foundation. I’m copying Alberto in this note in case you have any questions or comments!

As researchers, web and interactive documentaries are also a fantastic way to share one’s research (especially in Sociology and Geography) and make it closer to diverse public and audiences. It’s really creative and meaningful at the same time.

I hope you enjoy it and share it around you!

Cheers,

Isabelle Anguelovski, PhD
ICREA Research Professor
Director, Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
ICTA – Institute for Environmental Science and Technology
IMIM – Medical Research Institute, Hospital del Mar

Web: www.bcnuej.org