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Call for Papers for the Panel:

Identities and the Cities: European Urban Transformations, Transition  
and Change in Urban Image Construction

(As part of the Third Euroacademia International Conference  
‘Identities and Identifications: Politicized Uses of Collective  
Identities’ to be held in Lucca, Italy, 19 - 20 June 2015)

Deadline: 15 May 2015

Panel Description:

Elasticity of the label identity accommodates everything that does and  
does not surround us, thus finding its place in every discourse on  
making and re-making, invention and re-invention, destruction and  
construction. Every transition is synonymous with said processes, be  
it a tectonic change or a peaceful shift. As political systems and  
countries disintegrate and new ones rise, as they become more  
entangled in the global hyperspace, their skin changes in a manner of  
theatrical scenery change after each act, sometimes with discrete  
adaptation, sometimes with radical interventions. If the scenery is  
composed of streets, parks, roads, museums, monuments, shopping malls  
and buildings connected through the intricate network of the perpetual  
and cumulative actions of its inhabitants and the burden of their  
existence, if this setting is a city, every adaptation and  
intervention affects its multi-dimensional identities. However, can  
one speak of an identity of the urban space in the singular form?


As the chaotic canvases of cities are being stretched over a framework  
of identity, its further exploration seems more than appropriate.  
Amidst the incredibly rapid urban growth crowding more than half of  
the world population in towns and cities, the questions are only going  
to keep multiplying. How are city identities made and re-made, used  
and abused, imagined and narrated, politicised and communicated,  
expressed and projected, imposed and marketed? And above all, how do  
they thrive within the dynamic interpolation of the nexus of  
East-West, Europe-Balkans, centre-periphery, urban - suburban, old and  
new. As out-dated as these dichotomies sound, in many places their  
daily life is far from over. As old cities became new capitals and new  
capitals struggle for more capital, the challenges of maintaining  
state-driven collective identities in the face of cultural  
fragmentation and diversification, coupled with  
consumer-attractiveness is turning them into urban palimpsest. This  
transformation is ever more complex in the cities of Central, Eastern  
and South-eastern Europe. In these last decades, during the period of  
socio-political and cultural deconstruction, the redefinitions of  
their urban space reflect the need to refashion, consolidate or even  
establish their new/old identities. Flooded with imported  
‘non-places’, (not) dealing with the material legacy of memories of  
the recent past that seem unable to resolve, trying to accept or  
reject the rest of Europe in the race towards ‘Europeanization’, these  
cities adopt different approaches in their aim to resemble and at the  
same time, differ. Zagreb generously welcomed its marketing nickname  
“pocket size Vienna”, while regenerating itself with the mega Museum  
of Contemporary Art tailored up to an imagined ‘Western European’  
standard. Skopje’s attention seeking project transformed the ‘open  
city of solidarity’ into a literal national identity construction  
site. The list goes on. Queuing to win the old continent’s capital of  
culture contest and eager to squeeze into the ever-enlarging itinerary  
of the consumerist Grand Tour, the only thing cities are not allowed  
to be, is invisible.

As the research on cultural identities of the city is becoming more  
abundant, this panel aims at adopting a wide-lens inter-disciplinary  
approach, while focusing on various transitional processes affecting  
identities in the urban context in its global-regional-national-local  
interplay.

Some example of topics may include (but are not limited to):

•	Collective memory, identity and urban image construction
•	Appropriation, instrumentalisation and functualisation of public space
•	Contemporary nomadism and the city as a common denominator for  
collective identities
•	Architecture as ‘politics with bricks and mortar’
•	Is there a new rise of the city-state?
•	Urban regeneration projects, landmark buildings and ‘starchitects’
•	Non-places and (non)identity
•	Immigrants and the cultural identity of cities
•	City marketing and city branding in transition
•	European capitals of culture and European identity
•	Identity creation and the cultural offer of the city
•	Urban cultural heritage as identity-anchor
•	Creative Changes of the cities
•	Art and industry in urban development
•	Urban aesthetics
•	Ugliness, kitsch and value in shaping contemporary urban spaces
•	Post-communism and the shape of urban change
•	East-West nexuses in urban development

If interested in participating, please send a maximum 300 words  
abstract together with the details of your affiliation until 15th of  
May 2015 at [log in to unmask]

For full details of the conference and on-line application please see:
http://euroacademia.eu/conference/third-identities-and-identifications/



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