The (P)redrawn, Near Past and Near Future City

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
NEMLA 2023 Conference (roundtable session; Mar 23-26 at Niagara Falls, NY)
contact email: 

This roundtable invites papers that explore the folds in time in which cities exist, either mapped, virtually drawn, or told to establish the cultural movements running beneath cities’ lives.  What narratives engage these moments of close past or emerging shifts that impact the resilience of urban life?  What small gestures, ephemera, and/or detritus best represent the city’s recent past or future?  What elemental, unspoken aspects of urban space perhaps seem most threatened in the present moment?  Versus the city obliterated by time, how does literary or visual storytelling engage, re-imagine, or frame the lived and enduring city?  How do these more present reflections become windows on deeper time, human movement, and urban space?

Proposals for this panel could embrace a range of critical reflection on artistic works depicting urban life, including speculative fiction, photo essay, family narrative, graphic novel, maps, architectural/impromptu memorialization of space, film, and lunch/transit poem.  Artists and writers whose work could fit within this focus include (but are certainly not limited to) Teju Cole, Richard McGuire, Vivian Maier, Frank O’Hara, Harvey Pekar, Hariton Pushwagner, Rebecca Solnit, and Chris Ware.

Participants will share papers prior to the conference, then present short versions of their work to preface discussion within the roundtable.