Radical History Review, “Voyeurs, Walkers, and the Politics of Urban Space," Call for Papers, Issue 114 (Fall 2012)
Call for Papers Date:
Call for Papers, Radical History Review. Issue 114 (Fall 2012)
“Voyeurs, Walkers, and the Politics of Urban Space”
Urban engagement and experience of city spaces takes many forms, but walking—and how we do it—has always been central to the urbanism. Indeed, urbanites defined the parameters of the “walking city” historically by the time it took them to traverse space between home and work. But the practice of walking city streets is fraught with social meaning. We learn to walk streets according to scripts that encourage some forms of interaction, avoidance, gazing, and consumption over others in what Jane Jacobs might call an ‘urban ballet.’ The imagined urban walker occupies a commanding position in the way city officials and planners seek idealized settings for social, cultural, and economic exchanges. Their visions shape the practice of walking through the use of street signs, traffic lights, trails, historical markers, and other visual cues and technologies designed to control the production and experience of street life. Even in ostensibly progressive initiatives, such as the greening and re-pedestrianizing of cities, assumptions about active mobility and visible publics shape official narratives of urban life. However, as residents themselves navigate these streets, they producing their own meanings and strategies of maneuver, illuminating how the politics and social construction of walking from one street to another may differ in any given time period.
As some city mandates have encouraged initiatives to promote more intimate forms of urban engagement to reintroduce tourists to its wonders with countless and often exotically-themed walking tours, other mandates have endeavored to remove other kinds urban walkers whom they deem less attractive—notably street walkers, urban nomads, and the homeless. In the name of development and reform, local business leaders also team up with like-minded entrepreneurial municipal leaders in “partnerships”—a euphemism that blurs the common agenda and social base of both groups—to sanitize neighborhoods. These efforts, to be sure, often meet with resistance from some local residents who see the “clean up” as homogenizing spaces to serve specific class, gender, ethnic and racial profiles. Such tensions result in modern street wars in which competing visions of the future of urban space and versions of its past collide.
Issue 114 seeks to provide a forum for investigating, rethinking and historicizing the conception, staging, and performance of walking city streets across the globe.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
-The making of Street Walkers and their stigmatization
-The making of the vagrant (1870s vagrancy laws)
-City planning movements
-Walking and hiking as anti-urban revitalization
-Walking tours: when, why, where; what is seen and what is ignored, etc.
-Take Back the Street movements
-Historically-themed urban development
-CATV on the streets: [in]security
-Living on the Street [the Homeless]
-Neoliberal Partnerships for urban [re]development
-Travel guides & guidebooks
-City branding and tourism
-Representations of walkers, voyeurs in film and video
-Environmentalism and walking
We invite authors to send a one or two paragraph abstract for a monographic essay, reflection or intervention into on-going historiographic debates on any of the above. We also invite photographic essays, book, film, and museum reviews, and other genres of writing engaged with issues of historical representation. Of course, we will also be happy to look at completed manuscripts of no more than 35 pages (including endnotes).
Inquiries may be sent to Robyn Autry (email@example.com) or Daniel Walkowitz (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please send proposed submissions to email@example.com no later than December 31, 2010. We will notify prospective authors of the status of their submissions by mid-February 2011. Final drafts must be submitted by summer 2011.
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