REMINDER Registration open: Inventing Urban Modernity: Building the Present by Constructing the Past

City-Centric Symposium, 23rd June 2014

‘For heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making
it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh.’
– Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway

The modern city is the site of continual destruction and construction, disintegration and renewal, death and rebirth, an environment endlessly productive of new ‘presents’. But where in these transient moments might we locate the city’s past? Does it reside in the palimpsest of archaeological remains buried beneath our feet? In monumental form, as statues, memorials, graves? In representations of the city, cartographic or artistic? And how might we understand the modern city as growing out of and/or in relation to this past or ‘pasts’? Does the present reify and repeat the past? Does it reimagine and reinvent it? Or does it obscure and efface it? Featuring keynote addresses from Professor Patrick Wright (KCL), Professor Peter Mandler (Cambridge), and Dr Matthew Beaumont (UCL), this symposium seeks to open conversations between different disciplines within the humanities and across historical and geographical parameters.

Please see our website for details and bookings: ​


9am       Registration

9:20     Welcome

9:30     Keynote I: Matthew Beaumont (UCL)

10:45 Coffee

11am   Panels 1 & 2

Ideals Chair: Jo Hicks (KCL)

Anna Blair (Cambridge)

From 19th-century writing to the Grande Mosquée de Paris: Fairground or féeriques palais?

Federico Cugurullo (Manchester)

Cultivating sustainability, projecting modernity: The case of Masdar City

Emmett Zeifman (Cambridge)

The city ‘as found’ in the architecture and urbanism of the Smithsons

Spectres Chair: Jo McDonagh (KCL)

Anne Chapman & Nicola Kirkby (KCL)

‘At all times liable to be called’: Maladjusted times and unpredictable futures in ‘The Signalman’

Alex Murray (Exeter)

‘Venice, sans hope’: Decadent New York

Bryony White (KCL)

The Museum as Ruin; Curation and Duration in Issac Julien’s Vagabondia

12:30 Lunch

 1:15     Keynote II: Patrick Wright (KCL)

2:30     Panels 3 & 4 

Layers Chair: Mark Turner (KCL)

Eliza Cubitt (UCL)

Unreal Ruins in Arthur Morrison’s

A Child of the Jago (1896)

Emma Hayward (Liverpool)

The bathos of the here and now in the work of Iain Sinclair

Dagmar Zadrazilova (Cambridge)

Tempelhof Airport in Berlin: Searching for Past and building on modernity

 Schisms Chair: Jane Elliott (KCL)

Jan Bock (Cambridge)

Negotiating city spaces – (re)constructing the future and the past in post-earthquake L’Aquila

George Legg (KCL)

‘From Peace to Prosperity’: History, Northern Ireland and the Maze Long Kesh site

Darya Malyutina (UCL)

Soviet WWII memorial in Vienna:

Commemoration, death and geographies of estrangement

4pm     Coffee

4:20     Keynote III: Peter Mandler (Cambridge)

5:30     Roundtable discussion Chair: Erica Carter (KCL)

6:30     Drinks reception

7pm     Close

7:30 Dinner for delegates (location tbc)


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