The New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA)
invites papers for our annual one-day conference, "Crash / Landings: Friction & Flow in the American City," to be held Saturday, October 28, 2006. As we've seen from the New Orleans flood, the NYC transit strike, and the Oscar-winning film "Crash," the U.S. city is a site of multiple collisions--of race, class, ethnicity, generations, desires, fears, and expectations. It is also, as Mary Louise Pratt and others have argued, a contact zone--an improvisational space of often surprising cultural exchange and creativity. To explore these contradictions, the 2006 NYMASA conference invites papers on the sometimes violent but always productive juxtapositions that occur in urban spaces.
We are interested in presentations that address the American city as a site of contact, collision, and community. What kinds of movements--of peoples, capital, knowledge, and culture--distinguish the city? What instant or enduring intimacies are generated from the friction of crowded streets, subways, freeways? How is the eco-system of the city reshaped by gentrification or zoning disputes--and enriched by aesthetic and political responses to specific socio-economic conditions? How have urban social movements shaped American cities historically, and how are they remembered, memorialized, replayed, and recast? How do images, narratives, histories, maps and other representations make urban friction and flow (in)visible?
We also invite considerations of American Studies as a site of collision, friction and flow. Are there zoning restrictions implicit in American Studies as an (inter)discipline, and how are they being contested? What methodologies and theoretical approaches are required to grasp the complexities of the city as a contested zone? How do urban challenges enable us to rethink the objects of study in American Studies?
We particularly encourage submissions that discuss urban spaces before the 20th century, and presentations that cross historical and disciplinary boundaries. We welcome presentations on transnational topics, but papers should demonstrate some connection to the study of the United States.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
--Landing in the city: migration/immigration, city as refuge and asylum, city as "mecca"
--Diaspora and the global city: transculturation, appropriation, tourism
--Imperialism, policing, surveillance and the occupied city
--The economics of urban "flow": labor and capital in the city
--Aesthetics of urban experience: fashion, art, music, dance, theatre
--Culture clashes, subcultural frissons: hip hop, reggaeton, graffiti; drag, genderqueer communities
--Geographies of urban culture and motion
--Final landings: urban burial sites, memorials, landfills
--City as landscape or ecosystem: wildlife, community agriculture, pollution
--Zoning disputes: defining and arranging city space, demolition, rebuilding, gentrification
--Catastrophe, disaster, violence
--Political frictions: tensions between local and national politics
--Urban social/political movements: riots, strikes, demonstrations, rebellions
--Crashing the party: social climbing, scandal and gossip, physical/economic accessibility
--Cities in transit: walking in the city, biking as resistance, commuting, car culture
--Urban intimacies: sex clubs, red light districts, queering the city, new domesticities
--Imagination or reality? Representations versus experiences of the urban environment
--Sensory experience and urban affect: feeling (in) the city
--Theoretical contact zones: intersectionality, activist theory, collisions of theory/practice
--Documenting urban flow: ethnography, journalism, film, indie media, activist video
Abstracts (300 words) for proposed presentations are due Monday, May 1, 2006 via email to Sarah Chinn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note: The conference will take place in New York City; exact location will be announced at a later date.
Sarah E. Chinn
Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
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