Session at the 51st Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Languages Association
Taking its impetus from the theme “Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages, and Cultures” this panel juxtaposes two types of space: the local and the global as they came together in the conception of the world city. The material embodiments of the function of cities as global nodes are the Expositions, Great Exhibitions, and World’s Fairs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where a world spectacle could be viewed in imperial capitals (Paris and London) and in international capitals (Chicago, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, to name a few) . Being aware of both the romantic conception of the world city on display in authors like Edith Wharton and Henry James, and the colonialist and imperialist reality of urban modernities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this panel invites presentations that examine representations of world cities in literature from across the globe.
- How is the world city represented in literature and what purpose does it serve?
- What role does the figure of the cosmopolitan play in constituting this space?
- What types of world milieus can we locate in urban centers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
- How is identity shared or not shared in world cities?
- How and to whom is space offered or withheld?
- Given the prominence of “global cities” as the “new” organizing structures of our time how can we return to an earlier period of urban development and “urban modernity” in order to historicize the relationship between the global and the urban?
In light of the growing interest in literary urban studies, as well as the increased engagement with urban studies across humanities disciplines, this panel seeks to both historicize literary engagement with urban settings and to explore the possible intervention literary studies is poised to make into urban studies regarding representations of global urban space in language.