Small Cities: The Sources of Urban Growth
Call for Papers
The Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University announces the sixth Small Cities Conference. It will explore the historical and contemporary sources of urban growth and economic development in smaller and mid-sized cities. The Conference organizers encourage papers that examine cities and urban systems in both the U.S. and abroad, including in non-western settings. They also welcome submissions addressing urban growth and development in the premodern as well as the modern era. Among its goals is the generation of a better understanding of the factors that have influenced the growth and prosperity of nonmetropolitan urban communities.
The Conference organizers expect a common set of questions to unite the diverse scholarship presented at the conference. Most fundamentally, the papers should consider what variables or historical circumstances account for urban growth and economic development in secondary cities. Within this broad theme papers might address more specific questions: How, and to what degree, has the position of a city (or cities) within economic, cultural, and administrative networks influenced its (or their) evolution? To what extent do the different conceptions of what constitutes a city in different cultures matter. How much do the varying degrees of autonomy and power accorded to city governments in different political contexts determine the success or failure of a city in a global economy? Have there been development strategies, spatial patterns, political structures, demographic mixes, or other factors that have been especially conducive to urban growth in particular historical contexts? Presentations at the conference might also consider whether population growth is itself necessary to a healthy, economically viable city.
Rather than specify an arbitrary population range, the organizers of this conference will leave the precise definition of a small city open. We seek papers that examine a city or cities occupying secondary or tertiary roles in urban systems. In some cases the communities may be relatively large—several hundred thousand people or more—and in others they may be considerably smaller. We particularly encourage scholars of the pre-modern era and the non-West to reconsider their study of primary sources that do not provide definitive statistical data. Considering the questions posed above, scholars should attempt to identify and address textual and non-textual evidence of urban networking, whether local, regional, or international.
Proposals for individual papers as well as fully formed panels (two or three papers) are welcome. The conference organizers intend to circulate most papers to conference participants in advance.
The Conference will take place April 17 and 18, 2009 at Ball State University and Minnetrista, both in Muncie, Indiana. The deadline for proposals is October 1, 2008. Precirculated papers will be due February 23, 2009.
Proposals and inquiries should be directed to:
Director, Center for Middletown Studies
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
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