The Old Capital

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association
contact email: 
yumchen@umail.iu.edu

“To walk is to lack a place. It is the indefinite process of being absent and in search of a proper. The moving about that the city multiplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place – […] the place but is only a name, the City…a universe of rented spaces haunted by a nowhere or by dreamed-of places.” ― Michel de Certeau
When the Greek and Roman Empires fell, what did their remnants of architecture symbolize? When capitals become obsolete or have disappeared in history and when power has been shifted and governments changed, how do we interpret the center and periphery of the city? What do the physical architectures that have been torn down or those, which remain or were preserved represent? What kind of nostalgia or cultural meanings can be evoked through the displaced old buildings in the modern world? What does it mean when people start to miss the vanished capital and what stories do they remember? What do people see when they roam the transformed cities?
The panel solicits papers that look for meanings of the old capitals as expressed in architecture, art and literature; and especially welcomes discussion on the decline of empire, the history/stories of colonization/ post-colonization, the juxtaposition between ancient architecture with the structures of a modern metropolis and the meaning of space and time.

cfp categories: 
ethnicity_and_national_identity
interdisciplinary
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond