The trope of an “urban jungle” has long pervaded representations of diverse cities in both positive and negative modes. The concrete jungle casts urban terrain as raw or alienating, yet for the right subjects, it is a hospitable place that generates, hosts, and responds to novel and potentially subversive traits and practices. If culture and habitus became in the modern era a kind of “iron cage,” an urban jungle conjures fantasies of escape wrapped in heightened representations of imprisonment within a hard, unforgiving environment. It is not just concrete from which one escapes into the “natural” or futuristic jungle, but the strictures of sociality itself. And yet, if the urban jungle appears lawless, connotes the wildness, chaos, disorder, and violence of globalized urban spaces and living, upon closer inspection it also reveals a dependence on what Anna Tsing has termed “the economy of appearances,” substituting the spectacular and the fabulous for fixity and materiality.
We seek papers that critically explore the calls of freedom and resistance that characterize the urban jungle, and which potentially complement our ethnographic focus on the tactics that transform the foreign and the new into intimately personal expressions that express the new laws of the urban jungle. At the same time, we aim to find and expose traces of the urban jungle that transcend stereotypes of the “failed modern” or of naturalized violence and hyper-masculine modes of resistance. Papers that trace the elusive qualities and cultural practices of the city, those elements which escape fixity and order, and which undo any easy identification of urban life with cosmopolitan, homogenized, nationalized, and thoroughly regulated spaces, are welcome.
Please email a short abstract (250 words) of your paper to Chris Brown at email@example.com or Doreen Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 7 at the latest. We will notify you by email of your acceptance by April 9. The deadline for [required] membership registration and online submissions at the AAA website is April 15.
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