Epicenter of Change: The City in History
Annual History Students Association Conference
San Francisco State University
April 5, 2013
In her book , City of Women, Christine Stansell wrote of nineteeth century New York that it was like other contemporary urban centers—Paris, London, Boston and Philadelphia—in its “cosmopolitanism, its extremes of wealth and poverty, and its breadth of human enterprise.” The dynamics of the Antebellum city created a perfect storm for progressive change, the results of which were spectacularly far-reaching and nationally, seminally influential. “New York was far from irrelevant to the rest of America,” wrote Stansell, “it was a historical stage writ large for encounters that reverberated across the rest of the nation.”
New York is perhaps the quintessential city, yet it is important to avoid a circumscription of meaning that delimits the “city” as a modern, western construction. Rather, in seeking to determine the historical resonance of the urban microcosm, there is considerable value in broadening the scope, favoring the recognition of varied urban manifestations across time and space. The city is neither endemic to the United States, nor to the modern era, but rather it is a timeless concept, dating back millenia and likely to continue indefinitely its cultural hegemony. From the provincial cities of ancient Rome—mechanisms of cultural imperialism that altered the landscape and redefined what it was to be Roman—to the squares of present day Tehran—giving space to the clash between dissent and oppression—cities are at once the great historical stages, the epicenters of cultural dissemination and the catalysts of social, cultural and political change.
The 2013 History Students Association Conference at San Francisco State University seeks to examine the role of cities in history. While we welcome all abstracts pertinent to the topic of urban history, we are especially interested in submissions that address the following themes:
• Social/cultural struggles in the urban domain
• Confronting issues of race, gender, class and culture in the urban context
• The changing cityscape as a reflection of society
• Urban culture and its regional/national/global dispersal
The selection committee welcomes proposals from a range of disciplines.
Please submit abstracts no longer than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should include the title of the submission, your name, affiliation, major field, academic status, and contact information (CV optional). The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2012. If selected, final papers will be due to your panel chair no later than March 15, 2012.
For more information and conference updates, please visit our conference website: http://online.sfsu.edu/hsa
Questions should be emailed to:
Julie M. Powell, Conference Coordinator
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