[URBANTH-L] CFP: Cities and the State of Exception/State of Emergency (Berlin)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Thu Dec 18 12:18:47 EST 2008

Please find the CfP for the next Annual Conference at the Center for
Metropolitan Studies, Berlin:

Call for Papers
*Cities and the State of Exception/State of Emergency*

*Ausnahmezustand and the Urban Condition*

Fifth Annual Conference of the Transatlantic Graduate Program, Berlin--New 

at the Center for Metropolitan Studies Berlin
Berlin, June 4-6, 2009

Cities are central sites where persistent tensions between order and
chaos, political legitimacy and violence, inside and outside, and
sobriety and excess periodically erupt during critical moments of
crisis. Framed in terms of the German notion of /Ausnahmezustand/, these
moments challenge and realign established relations of power and their
concrete manifestations in urban space. The fifth annual conference of
the Transatlantic Graduate Program will explore the urban dimensions of
/Ausnahmezustand/ in its double connotation as both "state of emergency"
and "state of exception."

The aim of this conference is to use the concept of /Ausnahmezustand/ to
illuminate urban conditions and imaginaries and to investigate unveiled
mechanisms and structures in order to gain a deeper understanding of how
power functions in transforming the urban substance.

In the context of a "state of emergency," /Ausnahmezustand/ is widely
understood as an official declaration that temporarily suspends existing
rights, rules and regulations. In order to deal with an immediate
crisis, such as a natural disaster, political emergency, threat of civil
war or popular upheaval, which often have their most profound effect on
cities, the state suspends or alters rules, norms or practices. The
implementation of a state of emergency represents the authority's
attempt to regain control of a threatening situation, affirm and
legitimate its sovereignty, ensure its monopoly on violence and to
reestablish the status quo.

Nevertheless, /Ausnahmezustand/ also connotes a "state of exception"
where existing norms, rules and regulations are challenged and
potentially overthrown, even if only temporarily or locally confined.
Thus, it is equally important to analyze /Ausnahmezustand/ as a "state
of exception" -- a multi-directional process that involves multiple
actors and sites of power and is therefore not reducible to the
application of state force. Instead it may contain a transformative
potential to remodel established urban structures, discourses, social
relations and the built environment itself.

Themes and questions this conference seeks to explore are:

-How can states of emergency/exception be defined, theorized and
conceptualized to understand urban conditions?

-How do political emergencies or natural disasters alter daily life,
institutional responses and the make-up of urban environments?

-What are the consequences and impacts of states of exception/emergency
on urban political institutions, social relations and cultural practices?

-How are states of emergency/exception embedded and anticipated in the
uses and designs of urban infrastructures, architectural paradigms and
urban planning? How are scenarios for urban conditions developed to deal
with future states of emergency/exception?//

-Which actors are involved in evoking, sustaining, challenging and
responding to states of emergency/exception in the urban context?

-How do urban states of emergency/exception affect notions of class,
gender and ethnicity? How can urban conditions of liminality, social
exclusion and otherness be framed in terms of states of emergency/exception?

-How are states of emergency/exception represented in urban space? Are
there places and spaces of exception in the city?

-How are states of emergency/exception imagined in the cultural
production of urban figures and narratives?

We are interested in conceptual and empirical contributions that deal
with the historical and contemporary manifestations of "states of
emergency/states of exception" in the urban political, economic,
socio-cultural, symbolic and built environment. Since this conference
seeks to encourage interdisciplinary discourses, we invite contributions
from all junior and senior scholars who wish to contribute to the field
of urban research.

Please submit a short CV and a less than 300 word abstract in English to
ausnahmezustand at metropolitanstudies.de by February 2^nd , 2009.
Applicants will be notified via e-mail around February 15^th , 2009.
The conference will take place at the Center for Metropolitan Studies,
Technical University Berlin, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin,
Germany. The conference language is English.

Unfortunately, the Center for Metropolitan Studies cannot offer travel
grants. Travel and accommodation expenses are responsibility of
individual participants. However, we can support you with
recommendations and information regarding your stay in Berlin.

Dipl. Geogr. Anne Vogelpohl
DFG doctoral fellow, TGK Berlin - New York
Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS)
TU Berlin
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, TEL 3-0
10587 Berlin 

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