Call for Papers: Conflicted Narratives, Future Trajectories: Rewriting Critical Architectural and Urban Histories of Nationalism, Colonialism, and Modernity. Cambridge, UK, 28 September 2019

Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge

The ‘Conflicted, Narratives, Future Trajectories’ symposium seeks to bring together various established and emerging directions in research on cities, and to reconsider the notions of nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, and modernity towards new trajectories of research in architectural and urban history.

Following the research framework of the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research (UCR), based in the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, the symposium hopes to act as a platform for elaborating future directions for architectural research as a critical field of enquiry that can both bridge the contemporary crises facing architectural history & theory and redefine the role of architecture within urban studies.

In light of recent global migration crises, rising populism, and the ensuing realisation of the precariousness of the nation-state, rethinking the legacies of imperialism and colonialism on the shaping of both spaces and identities has become ever more critical. Within this reality, nationalism and modernity emerge as historical and homogenising concepts that can no longer adequately describe the contemporary conditions of postcolonial contexts; their limits reveal the legacies of imperialism and colonialism as present, enduring, and central to on-going conflicts.

The symposium welcomes paper proposals that address these topics and issues from a spatial, architectural, and/or urban perspective, both historically and in the present. We are particularly interested in hearing from graduate students and early career researchers whose work relates both theoretically and/or topically to the following questions:

  • Can an expanded definition of actors and power structures, beyond the ‘nation’ and the ‘state,’ begin to describe more accurately the shaping of cities, buildings, and territories?
  • How does rewriting the legacies of colonial architecture and urbanism in the present challenge accepted definitions of colonial, regional, or modern urbanism?
  • What can architectural history and historiography tell us not only about past processes and hierarchies of power, but also their present forms and consequences for the future?
  • How does architecture’s disciplinary knowledge, including drawing, mapping, and other visual methods of research, clarify hidden histories of colonialism and imperialism?
  • How can historical methods from outside the architectural discipline, including archival and textual analysis, add to the study of architecture and urbanism in such contexts?

This one-day symposium will be organised as a collaborative forum and include paper panels, workshops sessions, and an ending keynote talk. The aim is to foster a collective discussion between established senior academics and young scholars towards elaborating new critical trajectories for architecture and urban research.

Interested researchers are asked to send a 300-word abstract for a 15-min paper, including a title, research topic, theoretical or methodological framework, and any preliminary arguments. Please also include a short bio, indicating academic affiliation and status.
Submissions must be sent as a single pdf. file to conflictednarratives@gmail.com by 15 May 2019. Accepted participants will be asked to submit a full paper by 1 September 2019.

For more information please visit: www.ucrsymposium2019.com.

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