President Obama’s election and inauguration, and their phenomenal public celebration, allowed us to experience ourselves in a healthy, public, live community of strangers. It also demonstrated the fusion of the personal and the political, in public. Amidst prominent businesses disappearing from the city landscape (no more Circuit City, no more Virgin Megastore); new residential buildings holding “Open Houses” indefinitely; U-Haul trucks diligently lining up our city blocks like delivery trucks; and pseudo-public communities, as on Facebook, substituting face-to-face encounters; such live, electrified, and electrifying gatherings prove that we are indeed hungry for public life; that we indeed thrive in crowds. Can such public celebratory events and the crowds that they draw help reinvent the city dweller, public life, public space, private space, and the city itself? Are public spaces having a revival right now because they are free? And if so, to what end? As in previous years, please send your proposals about these and related issues to the Urban Culture Area. Historical or ethnographic studies of public sites and events, poetic accounts of personal geographies through cities, and explorations of highly orchestrated or surprisingly improvised events in designated areas in the city are welcome, as are studies of crowds and public celebrations. If interested in participating in a workshop on “writing the urban,” in addition to presenting a paper, please, indicate so.
Please, send your 1-page paper abstracts and 1-paragraph recent bios as virus-free, Word attachments to Blagovesta Momchedjikova, email@example.com, by June 30th, 2009. Check: http://www.mapaca.net/confer/conferHome.html
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