Call for Papers: Decentring the Flaneur: global histories of walking the early modern city. London, 15-16 November 2019

Courtauld Institute of Art, London

A conference organised by Sussan Babaie (Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London) and Richard Wrigley (History of Art, University of Nottingham).

Ideas about the origins and context for the flâneur have been tied to Paris, and viewed through the lens of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. While Benjaminian orthodoxy has increasingly been challenged, the association of the flâneur with modernity and European cities has continued to dominate studies of its variant forms. This conference aims to de-centre the concept and expand such critique by identifying and analysing forms of pedestrian observation in the early modern period taking note of the fact that strolling, seeing and being seen—and ‘walking the city’—emerged well before Europe and the 19th century in urban experiences in cities like Istanbul, Isfahan, Delhi and Beijing.

The conference will begin with a keynote address on the subject by Professor Çiğdem Kafescioğlu, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

The conference organizers invite paper proposals which address any aspect of this topic. Potential themes are:

  • Leisure as spectacle
  • Spatial mobility
  • Aspects of visual culture and their interplay with forms of pedestrian viewing (shop signs, for example).
  • Association of particular forms of walking and exploring in different urban structures
  • Gendered urban experiences and mobility
  • Types of literary form arising from modes of walking and viewing
  • Dress and the paraphernalia of walking
  • Asserting and transgressing class, caste and hierarchy in terms of spatial mobility

Please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words to both: Sussan Babaie Sussan.babaie@courtauld.ac.uk and Richard Wrigley richard.wrigley@nottingham.ac.uk
by no later than 1 June 2019.

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