[UPDATE] Deadline Extended: MMLA 2014 (Detroit, Nov. 13-16) - Popular Culture - The Lives of Cities

full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association

In "The Metropolis and Mental Life," Georg Simmell famously wrote, in 1903, that "[t]he psychological foundation, upon which the metropolitan individuality is erected, is the intensification of emotional life due to the swift and continuous shift of external and internal stimuli." While the metropolitan scenes observed by Simmell look quite different from the ones we observe today, the city remains a site of consistent change. This session invites proposals for papers on the theme of urban life, broadly defined, in any aspect of popular culture from any region or period. Papers might draw on representations of urban decline or renewal, economic fluctuations, challenges to notions of the city as concrete jungle, or examples of popular culture that showcase the potential of this clash between interiority and exteriority in contemporary popular culture.

In 2014, do the geographical, temporal, and economic structures that Simmel described maintain relevance, or have they been eclipsed by such technologies as social media, television, video games, and the out-of-time nature of global capitalism more generally? What examples can we locate in popular culture that affirm or deny his claim? How is identity defined in urban spaces? How does popular culture define what a city is?

Please send 250-word abstracts by July 14th to Popular Culture Chairs Andrew Smart and Kate Birdsall at mmlapopculture2014@gmail.com.