CFP: ‘Inventing Urban Modernity’ – City-Centric symposium, King’s College London

Inventing Urban Modernity: Building the Present by Constructing the Past

The modern city is the site of continual destruction and construction, disintegration and renewal, death and rebirth, an environment endlessly productive of new ‘presents’. But where in these transient moments might we locate the city’s past? Does it reside in the palimpsest of archaeological remains buried beneath our feet? In monumental form, as statues, memorials, graves? In representations of the city, cartographic or artistic? And how might we understand the modern city as growing out of and/or in relation to this past or ‘pasts’? Does the present reify and repeat the past? Does it reimagine and reinvent it? Or does it obscure and efface it? Featuring keynote addresses from Professor Patrick Wright (KCL), Professor Peter Mandler (Cambridge), and Dr Matthew Beaumont (UCL), this symposium seeks to open conversations between different disciplines within the humanities and across historical and geographical parameters. As well as traditional panels the day will culminate in a roundtable discussion between the keynote speakers and the audience, and is being held in association with the Centre for Modern Literature’s launch project ‘Inventing the Modern’.

The organisers invite proposals for either individual twenty-minute papers or alternative contributions. These may address, but are certainly not limited to, the following themes:

• Ruins and ruination

• Urban archaeology

• Afterlives

• Monuments, memorials and remembrance

• Reconstruction

• The colonial and/or postcolonial city; the centre and periphery

• Proto-modernisms, late modernisms, contemporary modernisms, postmodernisms

• Urban regeneration

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Jo Robinson (joanna.robinson@kcl.ac.uk) by Friday 14th March 2014.