‘Reconfiguring Urban Spaces: Cultural Exchange through the City’
Mobilities: Cultural Exchange beyond Borders Research Network.
8th and 9th of September 2014
Second Call for Papers
The Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, in conjunction with the School of Modern Languages, at Queen’s University Belfast is hosting an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference on ‘Reconfiguring Urban Spaces: Cultural Exchange through the City’ on Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th September 2014 as part of the Mobilities: Cultural Exchange beyond Borders research network.
As centres of migration, urban spaces have long been perceived as sites of movement, of cultural traffic and transactions, and places where cultural interface and exchange is a daily reality for many. Debates centred on globalisation, multiculturalism, integration and transculturalism have served to challenge monolithic conceptions of the nation state or ‘imagined community’ (Anderson, 1981). In their place, models of fluidity, as epitomised by Arjun Appadurai’s theorisation of ‘scapes’, supersede binary conceptions of local and global. With the increased circulation of people, goods, information and ideologies, both physically and virtually, a tension between the impulse to open up to the other and to police the boundaries of the self has the potential to create a third space of mutual transformation and thus transculturation.
New configurations of community, home and belonging, exile, and the possibilities offered by sites of encounter in this contact zone are being explored by critics and theorists with reference to:
the physical transformation of urban space – cultural, artistic, architectural;
figurative representations of the city in literature, art and music;
linguistic innovations of distinct communities in their interactions with one another.
The conference seeks to explore these ideas from a wide range of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives, and the following list of possible focal points is not intended to be prescriptive. Areas for analysis might include:
the physical and figurative impact of migrant communities on the city
the everyday practice of urban spaces as a form of tactical resistance in the terms proposed by Michel de Certeau
the disruptive, unsettling potential of ‘nomadic cosmopolitanism’ (Judt)
exilic identities as ‘crossing borders, breaking barriers of thought and experience’ (Said)
the deterritorialisation of ‘home’ as a means of reflecting on community, identity and nationhood
the meanings of the global and local or ‘glocal’
the city as a site of celebratory globalism
the potential of new, digital and virtual media to transform the cityscape, whether physically, figuratively or linguistically
the reconfigured city as mediator of cultural capital
the figures of the melting-pot or mosaic associated with particular urban environments as productive metaphors for framing the variously interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary dialogues that are necessary to take forward analysis of global mobility
We welcome proposals focusing on literature, visual culture (photography, street art, fine art), museology and curation, language and linguistics, music, architecture and the creative arts. These topics are merely indicative and so we will be pleased to receive proposals, in English, on these or other related topics. In addition to proposals for the standard 20 minute papers, the organising committee will also welcome proposals for panel sessions, 10 minute flash presentations or poster presentations from early PhD students. Please send your abstracts (maximum 250 words) to Mairead McAleenan at email@example.com or Stéphanie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday the 19th of May2014. Informal enquiries are also welcome.
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