From: jennifer hosek <[log in to unmask]>

Call for Papers for a "Special Session" Panel at the
Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention
San Francisco, California -- December 27-30 2008
New Urban Island Networks: Representing Berlin and Havana Post-1990
During the Cold War, West Berlin, East Berlin and Havana each held positions of prominence disproportionate to their size and proportionate to their political significance. Each was shored up economically and militarily by powerful allies and made concessions for and reaped the benefits of these securities. In many ways, this protective insularity of forced co-existence with partners and enemies created perceptions of urban identity that were shaped through fantasies of particular urban others: West Berlin and East Berlin competed in many arenas; Havana and Miami's Little Havana each found themselves through a glass darkly. There were also cross-cultural connections, as far-away Havana variously captured the imaginations of West and East Berliners and exchanges such as the respective visits of Fidel Castro to East Berlin and Erich Honecker to Havana shaped official and personal attitudes of metropolitan inhabitants.
1990 brought radical global changes and Berlin and Havana are engaging variously in the art of survival in an altered geopolitical landscape. Governmental, corporate, and private initiatives include major urban revitalization projects to encourage capital investment and tourism; funding for arts and culture meant to articulate and promote urban and national identity; and the development of new relationships with state and non-state actors that extend far beyond national borders.
Literature and film on and of these cities exposes and engages with the resultant shifts and tensions. This panel invites explorations of such cultural artifacts, particularly those that attend to refashionings of urban landscapes and identities.
Moreover, this panel seeks to account for temporal sedimentations that remain visible within the contemporary urban fabrics of Berlin and Havana. Thus, it also encourages analyses that consider the layerings of trans/national histories, presents, and possible futures in these cultural narratives.
Please send abstracts of approximately 300 words and a short narrative biography by March 10 to:
Professor Jennifer Ruth Hosek, Queen's University, Ontario -- [log in to unmask]
Note: The 2008 "Special Sessions" are competitively selected in April.
Note: Speakers must normally become members of the MLA and pay their own expenses.
Dr. J
Jennifer Ruth Hosek / Asst. Professor / Department of German / Queen's University / Kingston, ON / Canada K7L 3N6 / (*1) (613) 533-2077 / skype: jhosek111 / [log in to unmask]

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