[URBANTH-L]CFP: Small Cities: The Sources of Urban Growth

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Fri May 9 01:04:05 EDT 2008

Small Cities: The Sources of Urban Growth
Location: Indiana, United States

Call for Papers

The Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University announces the 
sixth Small Cities Conference. It will explore the historical and 
contemporary sources of urban growth and economic development in smaller and 
mid-sized cities. The Conference organizers encourage papers that examine 
cities and urban systems in both the U.S. and abroad, including in 
non-western settings. They also welcome submissions addressing urban growth 
and development in the premodern as well as the modern era. Among its goals 
is the generation of a better understanding of the factors that have 
influenced the growth and prosperity of nonmetropolitan urban communities.

The Conference organizers expect a common set of questions to unite the 
diverse scholarship presented at the conference. Most fundamentally, the 
papers should consider what variables or historical circumstances account 
for urban growth and economic development in secondary cities. Within this 
broad theme papers might address more specific questions: How, and to what 
degree, has the position of a city (or cities) within economic, cultural, 
and administrative networks influenced its (or their) evolution? To what 
extent do the different conceptions of what constitutes a city in different 
cultures matter.
How much do the varying degrees of autonomy and power accorded to city 
governments in different political contexts determine the success or failure 
of a city in a global economy? Have there been development strategies, 
spatial patterns, political structures, demographic mixes, or other factors 
that have been especially conducive to urban growth in particular historical 
contexts? Presentations at the conference might also consider whether 
population growth is itself necessary to a healthy, economically viable 

Rather than specify an arbitrary population range, the organizers of this 
conference will leave the precise definition of a small city open. We seek 
papers that examine a city or cities occupying secondary or tertiary roles 
in urban systems. In some cases the communities may be relatively 
large-several hundred thousand people or more-and in others they may be 
considerably smaller. We particularly encourage scholars of the pre-modern 
era and the non-West to reconsider their study of primary sources that do 
not provide definitive statistical data. Considering the questions posed 
above, scholars should attempt to identify and address textual and 
non-textual evidence of urban networking, whether local, regional, or 

Proposals for individual papers as well as fully formed panels (two or three 
papers) are welcome. The conference organizers intend to circulate most 
papers to conference participants in advance.

The Conference will take place April 17 and 18, 2009 at Ball State 
University and Minnetrista, both in Muncie, Indiana. The deadline for 
proposals is October 1, 2008. Precirculated papers will be due February 23, 

Proposals and inquiries should be directed to:

James Connolly
Director, Center for Middletown Studies
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
765-285-8037/ jconnoll at bsu.edu

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