CFP: Mediating and Representing Slums- AAG 2018 New Orleans

Max Woods's picture

Dear All,

Jason Finch (Åbo Akademi University, and I (Maxwell Woods, University of Wisconsin - Madison, are organizing a session, "Mediating and Representing Slums," at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2018 Conference  (New Orleans, April 10-14). We are currently seeking papers. The CFP is available below and a link via the AAG website is available here:

CFP, AAG 2018
Mediating and Representing Slums
Jason Finch (Åbo Akademi University) and Maxwell Woods (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

The 2003 UN-HABITAT report, The Challenge of Slums, announced the continuing growth of the urban phenomena of slums, noting that by 2030 the global number of slum dwellers was predicted to increase to about 2 billion. This empirical discussion, however, is complicated by arguments that slums are myths, “constructions of the imagination” that respond to political tensions and struggles, rather than simply “neutrally” describing modern urban forms (Mayne 1993). Indeed, even if one accepts the UN’s statistical figures, this does not resolve the problem of how to mediate and represent the urban areas conceptualized as ‘slums’ and the effect and function of such mediations. This panel therefore seeks to investigate the function and effect of the mediation and representation of slums throughout the world. We seek papers and presentations from a diverse set of areas, languages, and time periods. A variety of methodological approaches would be welcomed, including but not limited to those offered by participants with backgrounds in fields such as human geography, cultural geography, urban history, literary studies, anthropology, sociology, and the history of art, architecture and design. We are interested in presentations from all geographical locations, with particular interest in presentations situated in the Asian and North American continents. Questions we are asking include (but are not limited to):

How are slums mediated, conceptualized, and represented in literary works, artwork, cinema, formal reports, planning documents, and news media?

What are the functions and effects of such mediations and representations?

How are slums being reconceptualized in the Anthropocene and/or the era of global climate change?

How do race, gender, and class participate in the mediation and representation of slums?

Can urban areas across time, space, and cultures be mediated through the concept of ‘slum,’ or should new modes of mediation be developed?

How does the history of the concept of the slum, including the history of the word ‘slum’ and related lexical items, affect an understanding of actual urban areas?

What becomes of the representations of slums in the era of planetary urbanization? Can we begin to speak not only of planetary urbanization but of the planet of slums (Davis 2006)?

We hope following a successful session to organize a special edition or collected volume on this subject. Interested participants are encouraged to contact the chairs Jason Finch ( and Maxwell Woods ( prior to submission of abstracts with any questions they may have. Abstracts of 300 words are due to Finch and Woods by October 25.