This accouncements constitutes the second Call for Papers by the Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University for its sixth Small Cities Conference. The conference will explore the historical and contemporary sources of urban growth and economic development in smaller and mid-sized cities. Its organizers invite papers from historians, urban studies scholars, and researchers in related fields that examine cities and urban systems in both the U.S. and abroad, including in non-western settings. They also welcome submissions addressing issues connected to 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 help account for urban growth and economic development in secondary cities. Within this broad concern 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 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, philanthropic undertakings, 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.
Proposals for individual papers as well as fully formed panels (two or three papers) are welcome. The conference organizers intend to circulate 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. Contact James Connolly (firstname.lastname@example.org)for additional information.
James J. Connolly
Center for Middletown Studies
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47304
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