Call for papers: Radical Cities, Radical Narratives
Royal Holloway, University of London
Department of English/Centre for GeoHumanities conference:
Radical Cities, Radical Narratives
20th October, 2017
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Professor Matthew Beaumont, University College London
(Author of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, Chaucer to Dickens )
Contemporary cities are sites of new and deeply challenging social, political and aesthetic experiences; from
gentrification to migration to climate change, they are vexed sites of intersection between local experience and the
global challenges of the twenty-first century. These new challenges provoke radical responses; both aesthetic, in the
form of innovative and experimental approaches to representation, and political, in the form of new movements like
In what ways might the new and challenging forms and experiences of the contemporary city provide paradigms for
the critical study of contemporary narrative? How might thinking about the contemporary city in narrative terms
expand our understanding of it? In what novel ways are contemporary narrative practices informed by the city as we
experience it now?
This one-day conference, hosted by the Department of English and the Centre for GeoHumanities at Royal
Holloway, will address ways in which contemporary narrative forms, procedures and practices are shaped by the
particular experiences of the twenty-first century city. It will also consider how the contemporary city itself – its
spaces, conflicts and politics – might be conceptualised in narrative terms. In so doing, it intends to provide a forum
for a novel interdisciplinary conversation on the relations between narrative and contemporary urban forms.
Proposals for 20-minute presentations are invited. Possible topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
- Formal, structural and stylistic responses to the city in the contemporary novel
- Urban and narrative forms in contemporary poetics
- Responses to the contemporary city in non-literary narrative forms (film, performance art, television etc.)
- Relationships between contemporary architecture and narrative
- New relations between public and private space, and their impact on narrative forms
- Terrorism and the city narrative; narrating the post-9/11 city
- Narratives emerging from gentrification and new conflicts surrounding class and race in urban spaces
- Narrative responses to precariousness and contemporary city life (employment, housing etc.)
- Cities and narratives of ecology and climate crisis
- Narratives of new urban politics/protest: direct action, Occupy etc.
- Migration, the city and narrative forms
- Gender and narrative in contemporary urban space
Please send your 250-500 word proposals, plus a 50-word biography (including Departmental affiliation), to
email@example.com. While this conference may mainly be of interest to researchers in English and/or the
GeoHumanities, researchers and students in the humanities more generally (such as Film/Media Arts, Music,
Languages, History, Politics, Philosophy, Digital Humanities, and Liberal Arts) are invited and encouraged to submit
proposals. We also welcome proposals for presentations deploying creative and practice-based research methods
(such as readings, performances, short film screenings etc.). Proposals using interdisciplinary methods and
perspectives are especially welcome.
THE DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS JULY 14th , 2017.
PRESENTERS WILL BE NOTIFIED OF ACCEPTANCE BY AUGUST 7TH , 2017.
Image by Karen Eliot under a CC BY-NC-ND license.