Cityscapes: Media Textualities and Urban Visions

full name / name of organization: 
York St John University, York, UK

Saturday 23rd April 2016, York St John University
Organised by Dr Anne-Marie Evans and Dr Kaley Kramer

York St John University is proud to host a one day conference exploring representations of the city and urban spaces in literature and media.
The city as a human institution has a long history; as of the beginning of the 21st century, over 54% of the global population lives in cities or 'megaurban' centres (United Nations, 2014 statistic). The historical concept of the city as a knowable, bounded place has given way to utopian and apocalyptic imaginings of the ends of urbanity, with the 'city' extending as a benevolent or hostile organism: a perfectible and global community or an environmental and cultural catastrophe. As spaces of both integration and fragmentation, the city in literature reflects the persistence of history and the global future. Post-colonial literatures provide new readings of old spaces, reimagining and mapping new possibilities on to 'known' places and transforming cities into the uncannily unknowable and familiar. The trend in urban histories continues the long tradition of considering the city as a metonymic space for larger considerations of nation, empire, and state-hood in historiography and non-fictional writing. This endless adaptability of the city exists in constant tension with the governmental and legislative control over urban space – issues negotiated through fictional and non-fictional explorations of the history, contemporary use, and projected future of the city space.

In December 2014, York was designated as a UNESCO City of Media Arts and a member of the Creative Cities Network. Drawing on this recognition, this one-day conference will provide a space for ongoing discussions about the representation of cities in literature and narrative arts, media, theory, and practice.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers, or for panels of speakers, on the topic of 'cities'. Papers and panels might address any aspect of the representation of urban spaces in literature and media. Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

• Psychogeography and space in representations of the city
• 'City limits': boundaries and tensions
• Gendering the city space
• Cartography and urban mapping
• 'Shadow' cities, sub-urban spaces, and alterative 'publics'
• The 'ecumenopolis'
• Post-colonial cities
• Coding the city
• Tourism and travel

Please send proposals for individual papers (300 words) and a brief biography (50 words) or panels (title of panel; biographies of presenters; and abstracts of papers) to by Monday 1st February 2016.