CFP - Hard State, Soft City: The Urban Imaginative Field in Singapore

Valerie  Yeo's picture
Call for Papers
September 30, 2015
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies



Hard State, Soft City: The Urban Imaginative Field in Singapore
17-18 March 2016, National University of Singapore

With Singapore serving as the subject of exploration, we seek to promote discussions on the purview of imaginative representations of the city. As we grasp the richness of ‘representational space’ (Lefebvre 1974), we also begin to contest the qualification of Singapore as a Generic City, whose urban landscape exists in a perpetual state of tabula rasa, subject to abrupt erasure or extreme alterations under the rubric of national progress. The cyclical topographical remoulding for the greater good of the nation inevitably promotes the construction of mental reproductions of the quotidian by its inhabitants – to affix a genius loci in order to make sense of the dislocating changes surrounding them. In the process, memories, aspirations and meanings fill the interstitial realm of imagination and projected onto urban spaces. It needs to be remembered that a city’s raison d’être is more crucially defined by its users than by the functional ensembles orchestrated by government or commercial enterprises. For this reason, the noun ‘state’ carries a double meaning: one is to foreground and acknowledge the various forms and modes of intellectual and creative articulations of Singapore’s urban condition; the other is to invite us to address the challenges to nurturing (or even preserving the autonomy of) the domain of terra imagina vis-à-vis state authority.

We invite papers to respond to the above and in relation to (but not limited to) the state, urban development, socio-cultural issues, creative practices and regional associations. These may pertain to the creative practices of individuals, the impact of specific projects, and identifying broader trends and institutional structures that have shaped the conditions of creative production within Singapore.

Paper proposals must include a title, an abstract of up to 500 words and a brief personal biography of around 150 words for submission by 30 September 2015. Please send all enquiries and proposals to Ms Valerie Yeo at Successful applicants will be notified by end October 2015 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (6,000 - 8,000 words) by 1 March 2016.

You can view the full announcement on our website at


Contact Info: 

Valerie YEO
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
469A Tower Block #10-01, Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
O | (65) 6516 5279

Contact Email: