Metropolitan Masculinities: Narratives of Gender and Urban Space

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

29-30 November 2019

Keynote: Jack Halberstam

Constructions of gender and space are interrelated and (re)produced within complex webs of socio-cultural and political power. This conference brings together critical studies of masculinities and metropolitan spaces and explores these complex interrelations and constructions from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. It aims to shed light on (re)negotiations of different hegemonic and non-hegemonic discourses of metropolitan masculinities. In particular, we call for papers that explore masculinities and urban spaces as they intersect with sexuality, race, class, ability, age, nationality and similar identity categories. Processes of urbanization have often been characterized by the consolidation of patriarchal, heteronormative white western middle-class relations of power. However, urban spaces have also posed challenges to and enabled reconfigurations of this order. Dominant, normative and complicit discourses of urban masculinities clash and interact with non-normative, marginalized, or resistant forms of discourses of masculinity. We invite papers that explore this plurality of urban masculinities in both synchronic and diachronic terms.

We encourage the submission of papers that explore ways in which particular spaces within the metropolis have shaped and, in turn, have been shaped by the production, representation and performance of specific urban masculinities. These could include the study of specific neighborhoods, subcultural and queer places, places of leisure and amusement, or places of urban nightlife. Who has been allowed and enabled to access what kinds of spaces? How have individual places influenced constructions and proliferations of specific masculinities, and how has this been (re)produced, facilitated and undermined by means of representation? How have discourses about metropolitan masculinities, including specific structures, bodies, embodiments and movements developed over time? What are the global and distinctly local components and varieties of urban masculinities, particularly in an era of global television, cinema and digital narratives? How have processes such as industrialization, consumer culture, and immigration shaped the contemporary plurality of urban masculinities? How can we account for calls for a return to more ‘traditional’ or ‘archaic’ varieties of masculinity, for instance through media representations that construct urban space as the ‘new frontier’ or connect urban masculinity to the populist political rhetoric of the far right?

We invite contributions from the fields of literary and cultural studies, gender studies, media studies, history, sociology, and related disciplines that examine the discourses of metropolitan masculinities particularly as (re)produced in literature, film, television, digital / social media, art, drama / theatre, journalism, and material culture.

Themes for papers may include, but are not limited to:

  • Theorizations of metropolitan masculinities
  • Metropolitan masculinities and intersections of race, class, ethnicity, (trans)nationality, religion, (dis)ability, age, etc.
  • Metropolitan masculinities, sex and sexualities (e.g. queer / LGBTQIA, metrosexuality, prostitution, etc.)
  • Feminist/queer engagements with metropolitan masculinities
  • Female masculinity and the metropolis
  • Masculinities and (the dissolution of) gayborhoods, cruising grounds, the gay underground
  • Masculinities and gentrification, divide, homelessness, segregation, migration
  • Masculinities and urban subcultures (e.g. dandyism, sporting male culture, punk, hip hop, hipsters, etc.)
  • Masculinities and leisure in the metropolis (e.g. gambling, drinking, amusement parks, parks, etc)
  • Masculinities and the metropolis at night, urban noir, urban crime
  • Masculinities and the symbolism of metropolitan architecture
  • Masculinities, bodies and/in urban space
  • Translations and transpositions between urban and rural space
  • Masculinities and modes of moving through the metropolis (flânerie, driving, riding, etc.)
  • The metropolis as the new frontier
  • The emotional geographies of metropolitan masculinities

Please email 300-400-word abstracts for 20-minute papers to Heike Steinhoff and Cornelia Wächter at by 31 March 2019.