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>From: Gerd Bayer <[log in to unmask]>
>
>
>The City and its Discontents (Proposed Special Session)
>MLA Annual Conference
>27-30 December 2003, San Diego, California
>
>Proposals are invited for a special session, to be proposed to the
>2003 MLA Conference in San Diego
>
>
>           ***
>
>The City and its Discontents.
>
>The citizens of Western societies increasingly live in cities. The
>contemporary metropolis is often a center of cultural sophistication and
>a haven for political and social non-conformity. The city as a vast,
>anonymous, and incontrollable space has traditionally supported the
>growth of a critical discourse on culture, society, and politics.
>However, as critics Richard Sennett, Naomi Klein, or James Howard
>Kunstler have argued, cities are changing drastically, and so is the
>role that cities play in society. With the disappearance of public space
>and the continuing growth of suburbia, urbanity itself seems at stake.
>More and more, cities lose their critical potential and are transformed
>into corporate and cultural conformity.
>
>This panel will study the tension between the liberating and the
>debilitating functions of cities, particularly as they surface in
>contemporary fictional texts. With this aim in mind, the panelists will
>investigate the urban consciousness and subconsciousness of fictional
>cities and city-dwellers.
>
>
>Papers should address one or more of the following questions:
>
>    *  How is the city represented in contemporary fiction?
>    *  What role does urban space play in narratives?
>    *  What is the relationship between urbanity and sanity?
>    *  Are cities imagined as utopian or dystopian spaces?
>    *  What direction does life in the city take, after the end of
>urbanity?
>
>Please send 2 page abstracts by 10 March 2003.
>
>Proposals and enquiries should be directed either by surface mail to
>
>      Gerd Bayer
>      Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
>      Case Western Reserve University
>      10900 Euclid Avenue
>      Cleveland, OH, 44106 7118
>
>or electronically to
>
>     [log in to unmask]
>
>Electronic submissions are welcome. Please send your text in the main
>body of the e-mail and NOT as an attachment.
>