The City in Literature, Film, & Culture (Special Session) at PAMLA (Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association) Conference 2021

Michael  Moreno's picture
Call for Papers
June 30, 2021
Nevada, United States
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Film and Film History, Humanities, Architecture and Architectural History, Urban History / Studies

The City in Literature, Film, & Culture (special session) of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) is now accepting proposals for the organization’s 118th annual conference. The call-for-papers deadline is Wednesday, June 30, 2021.


This special session, which will be in-person, welcomes proposals focused on the varied ways of constructing a city’s identity as broadly conceived, especially beyond North America. Since this year’s conference theme is “City of God, City of Destruction,” we are interested in papers/presentations that consider the ways in which literary, filmic, or cultural texts address the city as an arena for generating, reflecting, and/or facilitating the construction of characters who slip between the interstices of city spaces and criss-cross borders of identity, both real and imagined. However, other proposals will also be considered outside of the conference theme.


How does the city perpetuate the spectacles of power and alternate perceptions through the design of Disneyfied, simulacral, panoptic, or utopic/dystopic constructions? What are the possibilities for reordering systems of power or unveiling and unraveling hierarchies through narrative (and counter-narrative) productions of city space? In way ways can the city subvert or activate (or simultaneously be subverted or activated by) the flâneur/flâneuse, the dérive, the pilgrim, the tourist (etc.) as a means for unveiling overt/covert power imbalances?  Consider why the constellation of urban sites— streets and freeways, markets and malls, plazas and parks, gardens and graveyards, mirrors and museums, brothels and cinemas, and other sacred or secular, public or private spaces throughout a city—can produce opportunities or potentiality for the personal and collective to intersect, for binary constructions and opposites to dissolve, and for physical and psychological borders and barriers to be transgressed.  


Possible topics and focuses to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • the city street as social, artistic, and/or performative stage for the urban dance (Jacobs)
  • odysseys through third-spaces in a city’s texture (Soja, Lefebvre)
  • the function of proxemics to articulate encounters and exchanges (Hall)
  • labyrinths/undergrounds as conduits for traversing through city spaces (Borges, Eco)
  • the city’s role as heterotopic or comprised of constellations of heterotopias (Foucault, Hetherington)
  • reified spectacles and socio-spatial reorderings (Debord)
  • re/productions of “reality” and simulacra in relation to city design and experience (Baudrillard)
  • characters, including the city itself, who disrupt spatio-temporal constructions
  • the city as a palimpsestic system of histories, memories, and layerings
  • comparative readings of cities that challenge conventional discourses
  • city as site of contestation and border criss-crossing: exile, im/migration, othering, intersectionality, etc.
  • the overlapping of Eastern and Western epistemologies and ontologies in the city
  • employing genres of reading the city that produce a fluid kaleidoscope of cultural identities via literature, film, public art/murals, architecture, etc.

The PAMLA 2021 Conference will be held at the Sahara Las Vegas Hotel and hosted by University of Nevada, Las Vegas from Thursday, November 11 to Sunday, November 14.

How to Submit:

In order to join the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) for the 2020 and/or 2021 year, you will need to go to our new PAMLA Ballast Academic portal.

At the PAMLA BallastAcademic page, you’ll first need to create a new User Account (unless you already did so in 2019). Once you’ve created a new user account, click on the Registration & Membership link, and then you will be able to pay for your 2020 and/or 2021 PAMLA membership, pay the 2021 PAMLA Conference fees, make a donation to the PAMLA Scholarship Fund, pay to join us for a luncheon, and make reservations for some of our complimentary PAMLA events.

Everyone presenting at the 2021 PAMLA Conference is required to join PAMLA and pay the conference fee. For more information about PAMLA’s membership dues and conference fees, go to our dues chart. The call-for-papers deadline is Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

 Please know that PAMLA accepts individual papers rather than organized panels. You can submit up to three proposals to three different sessions, although each proposal must be distinct, and you can ultimately present only one paper at the conference. PAMLA is a congenial and welcoming forum that presents excellent opportunities for meeting with scholars formally and informally from in and outside of your respective fields of study.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Michael Moreno, Professor of English & Diversity Studies, Green River College

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