CFP: In the City and On the Road: Stasis and Mobility (1/6/06; 3/25/06-3/26/06)

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TODD Kennedy
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In the City and on the Road: Stasis and Mobility in the Twentieth Century
An Interdisciplinary Conference

Saturday, March 25 - Sunday, March 26, 2006
Department of English
University of South Carolina, Columbia (USA)

The twentieth century witnessed enormous shifts in patterns of mobility and the meanings bound up with "moving"¯shifts that went hand in hand with new definitions and associations for "stasis." These changes were bound up with a range of social factors: the massive expansion of industrial capitalism, the growth of the modern city, new communication systems, etc. The changes gave rise to intense artistic debates about the value of a new, highly mechanized, and often urban, mobility on one hand, and an older, rural conception of organic communities and stasis on the other. Working within the modern city, therefore, Walter Benjamin divides street walkers into two categories: the "fl*neur" who meanders aimlessly and the "pilgrim" who seeks a destination. These same ideas, in a broader sense, have dominated the works of writers, poets, essayists, sociologists, filmmakers, musicians, politicians, and others as they sought to represent the city and the road as a means of answeri!
 ng questions about human identity. Artists, such as Joyce, Cela, and DeLillo, to name a few, have explored ideas of mobility within cities while Steinbeck, Dennis Hopper, and Baudrillard have similarly created an aesthetic of travel. Meanwhile, this mobile century saw widespread migrations, such as rural African Americans to Northern cities, rural Spaniards to Madrid, and other movements towards wartime and post-war industrial opportunity. Contrarily, artists, such as Kerouac and Picasso see the city as that which dwarfs and thwarts autonomy as it reflects, in the words of Alfred Kazin, the "trauma of modern man." Following the success of the previous two years' conferences we invite papers that not only examine and build upon these issues, but encourage the analysis and exploration of multiple types of literature such as hypertext, film, art, and music, in addition to poetry and fiction. We strongly encourage cross-genre discussions.

Topics may include, but certainly are not limited to:

• environmental literature • Blues music and mobility, Jazz music and the city
• migration, miscegenation, hybridity • the city as destroyer
• the postcolonial, or "imagined" city • religious and spiritual journeys
• community versus individuality/alienation • communities in exile
• existential ideas of the city and the road • wilderness versus civilization
• the romanticization of the American West
• e.g. Joyce's Dublin, Cela's Madrid, Dos Passos' Manhattan
• the road-buddy film or song • immigration and assimilation
• mapping the postmodern city • historicizing the modernist city
• the hobo or vagabond as hero • the loss of rural space
• urban and rural responses to war, terrorism and dictatorship
• racial/ethnic and environment • urban vs. rural communities
• the city or the road as sexual landscape • fl*neurship
• relationship of gender to travel and/or stasis • travel literature

The deadline for submission is Friday, January 6, 2006.
Please submit 500-word abstracts at .

Information on our Keynote Addresses:

Professor Gordon Ball – Virginia Military Institute
Gordon Ball, Professor of English and Fine Arts at the Virginia Military Institute, is a renowned independent film maker, photographer, and scholar on the Beat Generation and film. Ball was a close friend of Allen Ginsberg, about whom he has written extensively, and has edited two volumes of Ginsberg's journals, including Journals: Early Fifties, Early Sixties (1977). His book Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness (1974) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Ball has also published a memoir titled 66 Frames (1999) and a book of prose poetry. Ball earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Professor Priscilla Wald – Duke Univeristy
An internationally respected critic and scholar, Priscilla Wald is Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at Duke University. In addition to her notable work on Theodore Dreiser, Wald employs an interdisciplinary approach to analyze popular media as a site for a socially constructed vision of science. The author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form (1995), Wald is also the Associate Editor of American Literature, and serves on the editorial board of Literature and Medicine. She is a member of PMLA's advisory board. Wald earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

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Received on Fri Nov 11 2005 - 08:46:43 EST