[URBANTH-L]CFP: Urban Clandestine Undergrounds

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Sun Feb 20 14:26:54 EST 2005

Submission deadline: March 30, 2005

Clandestine facts in all their aspects (actors, places, repression...) have
already been thoroughly studied by historians, but not necessarily as an
urban phenomenon. This symposium intends to explore clandestine places in
the city, and aims to locate their secret geography and itineraries, to spot
their inhabitants and their networks, to understand their secret rules, to
evaluate their flaws and vulnerabilities.

We first discus lexicographical issues. " Clandestine " is close to terms
such as deviance, marginality, or illegacy, though it is synonymous with
none. The core of the concept is the notion of secrecy: whether in a legal
or illegal situation, the clandestine individual always seeks to flee from
the persecution of the law or the reprobation of public opinion. Would this
mean that the city is the only means of escape? Rural spaces, of course,
have their own resources as clandestine hideways. In a comparative process,
we intend to define and classify the specific assets of the city as far as
clandestine spaces are concerned, in order to show that they probably do not
attract the same kind of groups, or do it at the same time or for the same
reasons. The city should therefore be seen as a paradoxical place, where it
is easy to hide, but quite as easy to be seen ; in the city are concentrated
police forces and social control tools, but on the other hand, the city
offers many specific ways to hide : its surface and density of population,
its topography sometimes comparable to a maze, its public transportation,
its trade, its networks are remarkable assets for those who need to escape
but also to survive. In this regard, we'll try to establish different scales
within the city and among cities. What kinds of neighbourhoods, buildings
and public spaces are most efficient as clandestine refuges? Should we
establish distinctions between big and small cities, suburbs and town
centres? Not only is this geography crucial, but it has probably been deeply
altered during history, which makes it necessary to trace the general
evolution from the classical to the contemporary city. Have the urban growth
and the rationalization of cities during the XIXth and XXth centuries
strongly modified the presence and habits of clandestine individuals? Are
those more uncomfortable in modern cities, with their wide boulevards, their
electric light, their public transportations which all make it easier for
the police to track them? Or do they take advantage of modernity, including
the more or less uncontrolled proliferation of urban space? Even though it
could have been very interesting, in this regard, to study modern third
world cities, we choose to restrict our study to North American and European
cities, in order to make comparisons possible. Those questions can be
answered throughout a large scope of studies dealing with : Clandestine
trades and occupations (such as smuggling, gambling, editing, moonlighting,
black-market...) Clandestine people (clandestine lovers, illegal workers,
traffickers, criminals, dissident minorities, political or religious
opponents...) Clandestine places (brothels, opium dens, gambling places,
ghettos, shanty towns...) The repression of clandestine occupations The
representation of urban clandestine life in the cinema, literature, the

papers have to be submitted to:
Sylvie Aprile
Université François Rabelais, Tours
saprile at noos.fr

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