[URBANTH-L]CFP: Crash/Landings: Friction and Flow in the American City

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Mon Mar 27 15:05:12 EST 2006

From: Sarah Chinn <sarah.chinn at hunter.edu>

The New York Metro American Studies Association
(NYMASA) invites papers for our annual one-day conference:

Crash / Landings: Friction and Flow in the American
City. Saturday, October 28, 2006

Deadline for  abstracts:  Monday, May 1,  2006

As we've seen from the New Orleans flood, the NYC
transit strike, and the Oscar-winning film "Crash,"
the U.S. city is a site of multiple  collisions--of race, 
class, ethnicity, generations, desires, fears, and  
expectations.  It is also, as Mary  Louise Pratt and others 
have argued, a contact zone--an improvisational space 
of often surprising cultural exchange and creativity.  To 
explore these contradictions, the  2006 NYMASA 
conference invites papers on the sometimes violent but 
always  productive juxtapositions that occur in urban 
spaces. We are interested in presentations  that address 
the American city as a site of contact, collision, and
community.  What kinds of movements--of peoples,
capital, knowledge, and culture--distinguish the city?
What instant or enduring intimacies  are generated from the 
friction of crowded streets, subways, freeways?  How is 
the eco-system of the city  reshaped by gentrification or 
zoning disputes--and enriched by aesthetic and political 
responses to specific socio-economic conditions?  How 
have urban social movements shaped  American
cities historically, and how are they remembered,
memorialized,  replayed, and recast?  How do  images,
narratives, histories, maps and other representations
make urban  friction and flow (in)visible?

We also invite considerations of  American Studies as a 
site of collision, friction and flow.  Are there zoning 
restrictions implicit  in American Studies as an (inter)discipline,
and how are they being  contested?  What methodologies
and  theoretical approaches are required to grasp the
complexities of the city as a  contested zone?  How do
urban challenges enable us to rethink the objects of
study in American Studies?

We particularly encourage  submissions that discuss urban 
spaces before the 20th century, and presentations that 
cross historical and disciplinary boundaries.  We welcome 
presentations on transnational topics, but papers should 
demonstrate some connection to the study  of the United  

Possible topics include, but are not  limited to:

--Landing in the city:  migration/immigration, city as
refuge and  asylum, city as "mecca"
--Diaspora and the global city:  transculturation,
appropriation,  tourism
--Imperialism, policing,  surveillance and the
occupied city
--The economics of urban  "flow":  labor and capital
in the  city
--Aesthetics of urban experience:  fashion, art,
music, dance,  theatre
--Culture clashes, subcultural  frissons: hip hop,
reggaeton, graffiti; drag, genderqueer
--Geographies of urban culture and  motion
--Final landings:  urban burial sites, memorials, landfills
--City as landscape or  ecosystem:  wildlife,
community  agriculture, pollution
--Zoning disputes:  defining and arranging city space, 
demolition, rebuilding, gentrification
--Catastrophe, disaster,  violence
--Political frictions:  tensions between local and
national  politics
--Urban social/political  movements:  riots, strikes,
demonstrations, rebellions
--Crashing the party:  social climbing, scandal and
gossip, physical/economic accessibility
--Cities in transit:  walking in the city, biking as
resistance, commuting, car culture
--Urban  intimacies:  sex clubs, red light  districts,
queering the city, new domesticities
--Imagination or  reality?  Representations versus
experiences of the urban environment
--Sensory experience  and urban affect:  feeling (in)
the  city
--Theoretical contact zones:  intersectionality,
activist theory,  collisions of theory/practice
--Documenting urban flow:  ethnography, journalism,
film, indie  media, activist video

Abstracts (300 words) for proposed  presentations are
due Monday, May 1, 2006 via email to Sarah Chinn
(_sarah.chinn at hunter.edu)

Please note: The conference will  take place in New
York  City; exact location will be announced at a later date.

More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list