CFP: The Monstrous City (abstract September 30)

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NEMLA 2012 (March 15-18, Rochester, NY)

Call for Papers: The Monstrous City

43rd Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 15-18, 2012
Rochester, New York

This panel seeks papers that explore the city as a space of monstrous potential in contemporary literature and art, and will examine how the uncanny cityscape has (d)evolved since the Industrial Revolution. SF and weird fiction, for example, position the city as a living organism that is alternately transformative and malicious. How do these and other literary and artistic modes figure urban space as a site of bizarre experiences and subjectivities? What happens when the city becomes sentient? What secrets can the city hide—or reveal? How do urban exploration and "ruin porn" affect the way we perceive urban spaces? How has the monstrous city changed since Blake's "dark Satanic Mills"?

Our panel attempts to posit the neglected but important link between the nineteenth century city as an unreal phantasmagoria of overwhelming crowds, urban wilderness, and new social formations, and contemporary representations of the city as an incipient organism or fantastic bestiary, its space a site of chthonic splendor and ruinous allure. What new readings become possible when sophisticated modern fantasists like China Mieville and Jeff VanderMeer are placed in a tradition of urban representation stretching back to Wordsworth and Blake, Baudelaire and Poe? How can Benjamin's body of work on the flâneur and urban space offer new ways of theorizing the global renaissance of street art, or the burgeoning exploration and documentation of derelict architectural structures? Send 350-500 word abstracts to Joseph Lamperez, and Alexandra McGhee,

Please include the following information with your abstract:

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