[URBANTH-L]CFP: Mourning urban change: testimonies of disaster and urban catastrophe since 1945

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Thu Jun 16 16:56:13 EDT 2005

 Call for papers

Mourning urban change: testimonies of disaster and urban catastrophe since
Specialist session at the 8th International Conference on Urban History

Stockholm, 30 August - 2 September 2006.
Deadline for proposal submissions: 1 October 2005.

Natural disasters - fire, flood and famine, earthquake and plague - have
been a focus of many studies of individual towns and cities. Often these
studies have focused on the physical effects of destruction. Dramatic events
attract media hype. Vivid pictures are flashed around the world. For an
instant, the locality becomes the centre of attention, nationally and even
internationally. Yet disasters have an individual and family dimension too.
And once world media attention has subsided, local populations are left to
get on with the reconstruction of their lives, as well as with the
rebuilding of the urban fabric.
There are also other circumstances that radically influence urban change.
Wars usually result in urban catastrophe, there are also cases of deliberate
destruction of a city as when neighbourhoods are cleared, central planning
imposed or urban redevelopment implemented. These are circumstances forced
by human agents that could be considered along with natural disasters as
situations that provoke mourning.

This session explores how people mourn change, how they adjust to dramatic
new circumstances, how they get on with their lives in the chaos resulting
from dramatic events that transform the rhythms and patterns of their lives.
Though concerned principally with oral history, testimonies of mourning
welcomed by this session also include written sources, such as memoirs,
diaries, literature, poetry, newspaper and media stories that reveal how
people 'mourn' the passing of an era, when their cognitive worlds are
disrupted, for whatever reason.

This session aims at comparing different European and world cities that have
passed through radical urban change in the period of time elapsed since the
Second World War. We welcome case studies addressing one, or several, of the
following issues:

The concept of "mourning," its origin as a psychoanalytical concept (travail
du deuil) and its use for urban history (and the social sciences in

Modernity and change - Is there something intrinsically disruptive in the
cultural phenomenon that we usually refer to as modernity? Did modernity
bring about significant new ways of coping with radical change at societal

Oral histories as alternative versions of urban change to dominant
discourse; interchange of personal experiences, media stories and official

Competing narratives - class, ethnic or gender construction of narratives on
urban change.
Everyday life and processes of human adjustment on radical urban change.
Continuity and/or rupture, how people re-construct continuity - old and new
social and cultural practices.

Collective memory - Building collective narratives around disruptive
events - new community identities and commemorations of urban catastrophe.

We invite historians, anthropologists, sociologists, art and literary
historians, architects and others whose work might shed light on the subject
proposed. Please submit an abstract of approximately 500 words and a short
CV by October 1, 2005 to both of the session organisers.
For further details of the Conference organization and site, registration,
bursaries etc., see:

Session organisers:
Dr. Maria Raluca Popa
New Europe College, Institute for Advanced Studies, Bucharest, Romania
Rotterdamseweg 296, 2628 AT Delft, The Netherlands
e-mail: mpopa at nec.ro; ralpopa at yahoo.com

Dr. Valentina Gulin Zrnic
Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Ul. kralja Zvonimira 17,
Zagreb 10 000, Croatia
e-mail: gulin at ief.hr

Valentina Gulin Zrnic
Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research
Ulica kralja Zvonimira 17
Zagreb 10 000, Croatia
phone: ++ 385 1 4553 632
fax: ++ 385 1 4553 649
Email: gulin at ief.hr
Visit the website at http://www.eauh.org

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