Monday, November 21, 2005

CALL FOR PAPERS: In the City and on the Road: Stasis and Mobility in the Twentieth Century


In the City and on the Road: Stasis and Mobility in the Twentieth Century
An Interdisciplinary Conference

Saturday, March 25 - Sunday, March 26, 2006
Department of English
University of South Carolina, Columbia (USA)

The twentieth century witnessed enormous shifts in patterns of mobility and the meanings bound up with "moving"¯shifts that went hand in hand with new definitions and associations for "stasis." These changes were bound up with a range of social factors: the massive expansion of industrial capitalism, the growth of the modern city, new communication systems, etc. The changes gave rise to intense artistic debates about the value of a new, highly mechanized, and often urban, mobility on one hand, and an older, rural conception of organic communities and stasis on the other. Working within the modern city, therefore,Walter Benjamin divides street walkers into two categories: the "flaneur" who meanders aimlessly and the "pilgrim" who seeks a destination. These same ideas, in a broader sense, have dominated the works of writers, poets, essayists, sociologists, filmmakers, musicians, politicians, and others as they sought to represent the city and the road as a means of answering questions about human identity. Artists, such as Joyce, Cela, and DeLillo, to name a few, have explored ideas of mobility within cities while Steinbeck, Dennis Hopper, and Baudrillard have similarly created an aesthetic of travel. Meanwhile, this
mobile century saw widespread migrations, such as rural African Americans to Northern cities, rural Spaniards to Madrid, and other movements towards wartime and post-war industrial opportunity. Contrarily, artists, such as Kerouac and Picasso see the city as that which dwarfs and thwarts autonomy as it reflects, in the words of Alfred Kazin, the "trauma of modern man." Following the success of the previous two years' conferences we invite papers that not only examine and build upon these issues, but encourage the analysis and exploration of multiple types of literature such as hypertext, film, art, and music, in addition to poetry and fiction. We strongly encourage cross-genre discussions.

Topics may include, but certainly are not limited to:

environmental literature
Blues music and mobility, Jazz music and the city
migration, miscegenation, hybridity
the city as destroyer
the postcolonial, or "imagined" city
religious and spiritual journeys
community versus individuality/alienation
communities in exile
existential ideas of the city and the road
wilderness versus civilization
the romanticization of the American West
e.g. Joyce's Dublin, Cela's Madrid, Dos Passos' Manhattan
the road-buddy film or song
immigration and assimilation
mapping the postmodern city
historicizing the modernist city
the hobo or vagabond as hero
the loss of rural space
urban and rural responses to war, terrorism and dictatorship
racial/ethnic and environment
urban vs. rural communities
the city or the road as sexual landscape
relationship of gender to travel and/or stasis
travel literature

The deadline for submission is Friday, January 6, 2006.
Please submit 500-word abstracts at .

No comments: