The City as Utopia: Bethlehem & Beyond
Lehigh University, April 10, 11, 12, 2008
Lehigh University’s American Studies Program announces an interdisciplinary conference on the relationship between the city and the history of the striving for human perfection. Utopia will be broadly construed to include not only the achievement of ideal conditions and states through politics, law, and social structure but also aspirational cultures of the city. We welcome session and paper proposals in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Architecture, environmental studies, urban planning, religion studies, music, visual culture, social movements, democracy and public space, literature, and the performing arts are all of particular interest.
Papers may involve comparative studies or reflections on cities throughout the Americas and the world as well as projects that focus on Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The conference will meet amidst a period of dramatic transformation for Bethlehem’s South Side. The state of Pennsylvania has granted a license to build and operate a casino on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel works (1904-2003). The new owners have a range of ambitious plans for the Steel site, including the building of a new hotel and an array of commercial and residential spaces. Plans are underway for performing arts venues, cinema, a new home for the public television station, and the National Museum for Industrial History. Also being developed is a Green Way through neighborhoods bordering on the site.
In an effort to provide historical context and provocation for future utopian thinking, we encourage sessions and papers that fit within one of the three crucial time periods and subject areas in the life of Bethlehem:
*the mid-18th century Moravian founding of Bethlehem, the power of other imagined communities on geographical and social change and its bearing on racial, economic, and gender differences;
*late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century industrial history, migration and urban immigration, socialism, the trade union movement in Bethlehem and other cities;
*early twenty-first century imaginings of the post-industrial city, including projects of urban renewal, environmental justice, historical commemoration, public art.
Proposal deadline is November 15th, 2007–notification Dec. 15th, 2007.
Session proposals should include a 200-word session overview, 200-word abstract for each paper, and a curriculum vita for each participant. Paper proposals should include a 300-word abstract and curriculum vita.
Please send electronically to:
subject heading—city as utopia proposal
By mail to:
American Studies Program
9 West Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Direct inquiries to John Pettegrew, email@example.com, 610 758-3355.
610-758-4745 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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