EVENT Apr 17
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The Urban Question

New Brunswick, New Jersey
Organization: Rutgers University
Categories: Postcolonial, Graduate Conference, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, World Literatures, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2020-04-17 Abstract Due: 2020-02-16


Hosted by The Urban Humanities Working Group
Center for Cultural Analysis
Rutgers University
17 April 2020

In the wake of the so-called “urban turn” (Prakash 2009) in the humanities and social sciences in recent years, this one-day symposium will investigate the possible frameworks through which the city emerges as an object of analysis in the various disciplines of literary studies, history, geography, and film studies. The city itself has evolved into something that transgresses the traditional formations of the urban and rural, the fictional the material, the state and institutional, and the resistant and popular. But we might also ask whether these are the strata Marcuse and Van Kempen’s (2000) “layered city”; or whether these different trajectories create a “quartered city”; or what geographers Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin (2001) provocatively call “splintering urbanism.” What do we mean when we use this concept of the city and what kinds of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary approaches are required to capture formations that elude a singular definition?In the face of the possibility that we are living through an “urban age, ”or experiencing global homogenizing processes of “planetary urbanization” (Brenner 2012), what does it mean to attend to the historical and geographical particularity of “cityness”? How does the analytical abandonment of “the city” foreclose an openness to the lived experience of urban life? How do literature, film, and related ethnographic texts reveal the city phenomenologically and historically to be something that exceeds the seemingly outdated definitional logics of the urban and the rural?

In light of such recent interrogations into the concept of the “urban,” the increased interest in diverse modes of urban studies, and the growing engagement with Urban Studies across a multidisciplinary humanities, the Urban Humanities Working Group at the Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University is organizing a symposium on ‘The Urban Question’ on 17 April 2020. We seek to explore the many ways in which the city is envisaged in contemporary times, especially in relation to what has been traditionally excluded from both the narration of the city and how we study it. We invite current graduate students to send 300 word proposals and a brief bio note for 15 minute presentations that respond to ‘The Urban Question’ to ccaurbanhumanitites@gmail.com by 11:59PM (EST) on 16 February 2020.

Possible topics for proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following:

-Mapping the urban
-Decolonizing the urban
-The urban and cultures of dissent
-Urbanisms and memory
-Gendered cities
-Walking the city
-The Anthropocene city
-Imaginary cities
-The city and diaspora
-The exilic city
-The textual city
-Uncanny cities
-The posthuman city


Urban Humanities Working Group, Center for Cultural Analysis