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“Glass, Capital, and Urban Narratives” Panel at the ACLA at New York University, March 2014 (abstracts due Nov. 15)
full name / name of organization:
Mavis Tseng, Rutgers University
CFP: ACLA Seminar: The Poetics of Transparency / Translucency / Reflection: Glass, Capital, and Urban Narratives
Location: New York University
About the Seminar
Since the mid nineteenth century, glass buildings have featured capitals such as London (The Crystal Palace) and Paris (the Arcades). Nowadays almost every capital is a “city of glass,” with skyscrapers, shop windows in department stores, and ceiling-to-floor windows in high-end restaurants, etc. Glass alters the urban fabric, unsettles existing conceptions regarding domestic and public spaces, and redefines urban dwellers’ identities, affects, and desires. Glass is also a rich source of metaphors that refract the complexities of modern urban life. As both a medium and barrier, glass facilitates our exploration of how a capital “reflects” itself on the relations between subjects and objects, urbanites and urban space, consumers and commodities, the visible and the invisible, representation and the represented. Glass also influences how certain narratives are structured in relation to reality, with mirrors and windows serving as mediums between perceivers and perceived objects. In literary and film studies, for example, glass is used as a privileged trope to reflexively examine the genres themselves, which are argued to function like a mirror or a window to the world it represents.
This panel aims to examine the multiple functions and representations of glass in art, films, and literature: as an object of critique, a literary or visual device, and a trope for examining urban genres themselves. Potential topics include: glass and urban modernity; transparency, translucency, opaqueness, visibility/invisibility, reflection, looking through/looking at, window display, window shopping, commodities, framing, screen, mirrors/windows as metaphors, materiality/immateriality of glass, cultures of glass in a digital age, etc.