[URBANTH-L] CFP: "The Street" A Graduate Student Conference in Visual Studies (UC Irvine)

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Fri Oct 12 23:38:02 EDT 2007

The 2008 UC Irvine Visual Studies Graduate Student Association Conference
February 29 - March 1

In the most literal sense, "the street" denotes a passageway that connects 
various points in space. However, a quick catalog of the phrase in everyday 
language reveals that "the street" is a dynamic social and symbolic space, 
an intersection of public and private interests that are often difficult to 
isolate. For example, "the street" does not only refer to a thoroughfare but 
also denotes the place where one lives. This relationship prompts the phrase 
"my street," which connotes a community affected through ownership, and 
links its author to a greater metropolis at the same time that it embeds him 
or her in place as owner and agent. In this sense the street also represents 
the confrontation of a sense of place and the codes of public policy, 
thereby pointing to a larger interpenetration of the public and the private 
that lies at the core of this elusive space. In other instances the phrase 
transcends space altogether, referring instead to a mode of existence that 
is independent of site specificity. In this capacity "the street" is used to 
convey authenticity as in "receiving one's education from the street" or in 
being "from the street," a usage that usually implies an opposition to 
artificial or abstract representations of reality. While these examples make 
clear that "the street" often functions in opposition to a privileged class, 
it is, in practice, precisely that space which refuses class distinction by 
forcing interactions among diverse social groups. This interaction is itself 
as diverse as the space in which it takes place as one may address the 
street with the apathy of the flâneur or with the fervor of political 

We seek papers, projects, or organized panels from a variety of disciplines 
and approaches all of which address and expand upon the many layers of 
meaning that constitute this rich object of study. Please submit abstract 
(250 words) and c.v. to thestreetconference at gmail.com by
Dec. 1, 2007 for consideration.

Fields of interest may include:

The 40th anniversary of May '68
Limits of 'the public' in a surveillance society
Public infrastructure and urban planning
Protest on the global street
Globalization and Wall Street
Benjamin's Arcades Project
Advertising and public displays of consumption
Homelessness and nomadism
Situationism and the practice of the Derive
Public performance and the choreography of the street
GPS, G-Maps and virtual negotiations
The simulated street of the Sims and Second Life
Car crashes, accidents and public fatality

Visual Studies Graduate Student Association
University of California, Irvine

thestreetconference at gmail.com 

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