THE CITY: IMAGES AND IMAGINARIES
“THE CITY: IMAGES AND IMAGINARIES”
INTERNATIONAL INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE OF THE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES, COMMUNICATION AND LIBRARY SCIENCE
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
12-15 March 2018
Cities are probably the model par excellence of modern social organization. A diachronic look allows us to recognize the existence of different ways of understanding, thinking about and experiencing cities. However, these constant processes have shown how the pace of urban transformation has increased exponentially in recent decades, at least in appearance, and the extent to which the new designs have created many of the new challenges and apprehensions that characterize our societies. In this respect, cities such as Las Vegas, Tijuana, Beijing and Mexico City have not only distanced themselves from the Greek model of the city, but have also permanently called into question all the operational mechanisms of the known social order. Without necessarily traveling to these large population centers, which would even call into question the term “city,” and considering urban models that are very different and of varying sizes, the truth is we can make an effort to understand what the common traits and distinguishing elements of the cities we inhabit and imagine might be, including the degree to which they determine the living conditions of their denizens.
This Conference aims to offer a diverse view of representations of cities. Such a view begins with the artistic perspective, but it is not far removed from technical perspectives, from the historical to the urban. It also addresses, from a cross-disciplinary approach, what modern cities are and the multiple relationships that are established among or imposed on the individuals who live in them: hybridization, clandestine nature, belonging/rootlessness, solitude, happiness, suffering, etc. These representations necessarily not only adhere to an esthetic order, but also implicitly or explicitly entail a political theory, or at least an ethical bias, which takes into account different realities such as the distribution of common and private spaces, the growing obsession with security or the configuration of transportation networks and urban boundaries, among others.
This conference aims to study the city by focusing on the following central concepts and their corresponding sub-themes:
This sub-theme will reflect upon the different ways modern cities have adapted, and the location and function of each of their parts in the global configuration, forming a system that determines and molds the life of their inhabitants.
The aim is to extract from the specifics the global picture that gives meaning to the form by addressing the conceptual design of cities and the different aspects and phases of their conception. The city is viewed as a collaborative project that has evolved chaotically and accidentally, like a palimpsest, but which responds to planning whose ramifications are in many cases ideological.
The legacy of the past
Cities are like palimpsests historically constructed. This sub-theme focuses on the legacy of the past: how does gentrification affect, embellish or hide the historical aspect of cities? Is the postmodern city a continuation of—or break from—the modern city? How do today’s cities respond to their own history?
Civic experience in modern times
The city is a primitive structure of social organization that is the backbone of our identity. Studying cities also requires delving into their forms of organization, along with analyzing what the ways of belonging to the broad repertoire of urban communities involve. This laboratory of political dialogue is the place to examine in the present how the citizenry of the future is being created.
Is the city a space that confers identities? Urban spaces not only give visibility to certain identities but also hide others. This sub-theme invites research papers and studies about the intrinsic relationship between urban spaces and gender, class or race identity.
Issues related to the environment usually present the city as responsible for its deterioration, forgetting that cities represent a somewhat more complex ecosystem. This sub-theme conceives of cities as spaces where experimentation with measures and designs makes it possible to find a more sustainable model of society.
Contemporary cities and their representations
Audiovisual representation of cities is a mechanism for the creation of meanings. This sub-theme considers studies about the representation of cities in films, radio, television and digital audiovisual media, ranging from the analog era to the culture of convergence of digital media, and from historical reconstructions to the spontaneous images of YouTube and social networks.
How do the visual arts confront the challenge of cities? This sub-theme considers research about this contribution of visual artists’ past and present. It addresses different topics of research, from architecture, painting and sculpture to advertising images, photography, design, comics and graffiti.
The (post)modern city has produced great works of fiction in which the author’s personality intermingles with the visions of their characters. It is important to reflect upon how the written arts face the challenges of cities, not only through fiction, but also other forms such as reports, comments, “tweets,” etc. This sub-theme invites research papers and studies about the representation of the city in different literary genres and sub-genres, from novels and poetry to the written press and different internet applications.
Presentation of proposals
This conference admits proposals for papers and video essays of a scientific nature. Proposals will be sent to the Conference Organizing Committee for their possible acceptance through the platform set up on the web page congresociudad.uc3m.es
Authors are requested to include in their proposals an abstract with a maximum length of 400 words and a short biography of up to 150 words. The deadline for sending proposals is November 30th, 2017.