ACLA Undergraduate Seminar "Revisiting the City"
Since antiquity, cities have been pivotal elements in collective and personal histories. As physical and imagined spaces, they have fostered narratives of grandeur and downfall, center and periphery, democracy and imperialism, temporality and spirituality.
The conception and depiction of the city have evolved across time and space, providing different models of social and cultural relations, influencing aesthetic conventions, and generating particular emotions and values, often in contrast with other geographic settings or forms of communal living.
This seminar invites submissions from undergraduate students addressing the relationship between cities and aesthetic representation (in literature, visual arts, film and other medias, literary, cultural, and critical theories) in any historical period or area of the world. How has the city helped define civilization? In what ways does the urban framework shape characters and events? How are the form and genre of a work of art influenced by the city? What social, political, ethical issues does the representation of the city raise? What contradictions emerge from the depiction of urban life?
Comparative papers may engage with ways in which the city as an image, setting, or subject enables an investigation of the following or similar topics (but not exclusively):
Community vs society
Real and ideal cities
Ancient and modern cities
The city in detective fiction, thrillers, noirs
Languages, genres, and narrative perspectives shaped by cities
Utopias and dystopias
The city and the countryside
Nature and culture
Tradition and modernity
The “civilized”/”primitive” dichotomy
Progress, industrialization, technology, and their discontents
Social order and disorder
Urban crowds and revolutions
Gangs, protest, and violence
Class struggle, gender, racial, and economic disparities
Slums, banlieues, and other sites of social and spatial marginalization
Freedom vs alienation
Work and capitalism
Cities and avant-gardes
Colonial and postcolonial legacies
Monuments, ruins, and collective memory
Wars and natural catastrophes
East and West, North and South
Local, national, and transnational identities
Metropolises, megalopolises, globalization, and cosmopolitanism
Migration, borders, multiculturalism
Abstracts are accepted through January 4, 2023 and should be submitted at the following link:
Submitting a paper does NOT guarantee acceptance. The organizer of the seminar will contact students after the selection process is completed.
Undergraduate students will pay no conference registration fees.
For more information about the conference, visit the ACLA website at: