Archiving the City/ City as Archive
Thursday 16 March 2017, 9.00am to 6.00pm
A symposium organised by the Archiving the City research strand.
We are inviting abstract submissions for a one-day symposium entitled Archiving the City/ City as Archive. This event, hosted by the Centre for Modern Studies, considers the cultural forms through which the modern city is archived. It examines the different ways—via institutions, public art, collective practice, and more—in which urban history and memory are organised and presented in contemporary culture. It also engages with how the spaces and architecture of the city may themselves present an archive, offering up reminders of social and cultural processes, imaginaries, struggles and events.
The symposium critically engages with Henri Lefebvre’s (2014) argument that the reign of the city is ending; that the city now only exists as an image and an idea. In addition, the gentrification and museification of the historic urban core reveals, at least in part, the deep sense of loss through which that the modern metropolis is increasingly remembered. This connects more broadly with Derrida’s (1996) notion of ‘archive fever’, which, he understands, is part of a compulsive, repetitive culture; a ‘homesickness’ born of a ‘nostalgic desire to return to the origin’ (ibid: 167). As such, the symposium is interested in perspectives that make links between contemporary archiving processes (both formal and informal), city museums, visual culture, heritage urbanism, ‘authenticity’ and the cultural regeneration of historic urban spaces. Particularly welcome are proposals that critically examine the ways in which the city is archived to create the impression of a post-conflictual present or in ways that make the city a more exclusive or restricted place. In addition, we welcome abstracts that explore how archiving the city can, in ways reminiscent of Benjamin’s Arcades Project, reveal the immediacy and fragmentary nature of metropolitan experience. The symposium will take an open-minded and critical approach to understanding how, why and where the modern city is archived and what such processes reveal about history, memory, social conflict and urban imaginaries.
Abstracts of no longer than 250 words to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Friday January 6th. We especially welcome abstracts from postgraduate and doctoral students.
Confirmed external speakers include Rebecca Madgin (University of Glasgow) and Graeme Gilloch (University of Lancaster).
Registration for University of York staff and students is free. Please book your place here: http://store.york.ac.uk/product-catalogue/centre-for-modern-studies/conferences
Derrida, J. (1996) Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Chicago: Chicago University Press
Lefebvre, H. (2014) ‘Dissolving city, planetary metamorphosis’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32: 199-202
Location: The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building