Friday, April 11, 2014


"Questioning the Temporalities of Metropolitan Memory: Transitions, Cycles, Durations and Moments"
"Metropolitan Temporalities" Conference
Technische Universit├Ąt in Berlin, Germany
November 20 - 22, 2014

We hereby invite submissions for the paper session “Questioning the Temporalities of Metropolitan Memory: Transitions, Cycles, Durations, and Moments” as part of the forthcoming conference “Metropolitan Temporalities.”
Metropolitan Temporalities is the third annual conference of the International Graduate Research Program Berlin – New York – Toronto “The World in the City,“ and will take place November 20 – 22, 2014 at the Technische Universit├Ąt in Berlin, Germany.
Over the past three decades, both urban studies and globalization studies have predominately focused on spatial concerns, often neglecting the important temporal dimensions of global urban development. Our third annual conference therefore seeks to systematically examine the diverse temporal aspects of global exchange and metropolitan development in four thematic clusters: metropolitan pasts and futures; politics of time; metropolitan rhythms; and economies of time.
Session Description


Within the interdisciplinary sub-field of memory studies that has emerged since the 1980s, the urban realm has been acknowledged to be particularly well-attuned to reflect the dynamics of social memory and has subsequently been elevated as a key context for investigation. Within this body of literature, however, notions of temporality and time are often under-scrutinized and their significance is often assumed to be self-evidently connected to the process of handling the past in the present. Temporality is almost always present but is rarely the focus of such studies. One notable and influential theoretical exception is Jan Assmann’s attention to memory transitions, most significantly the transition between ‘communicative’ and ‘cultural’ memory, determined by generational cycles and characterised by durations of 80-100 years. In addition, numerous empirical studies have emphasised memory moments or ‘flashpoints’ – commemorative anniversaries or instances of returning social relevancy that facilitate the remembrance of specific pasts and the repression of others. These explications of mnemonic temporalities, however, may themselves be of the past, outdated and no longer suited for the study of metropolitan memory in the early 21st century. Globalisation processes, in particular the spread of virtual and digital technologies with their increasing degrees of social connectivity and instantaneity, have eroded the sharp distinctions that formerly characterised notions of ‘metropolis’, ‘time’ and ‘temporality.’

This urban temporal transformation has undoubtedly changed the nature of urban memory, although the precise ways in which this has occurred has yet to be fully empirically investigated or theoretically formulated. As such, this session invites paper proposals that question and explicate the changing temporalities of urban memory. Preference will be given to proposals that explicitly emphasise the temporal transfigurations of existing theories of urban memory and question their ongoing validity through the application of comparative and transnational perspectives and where possible, in reference to empirical case studies.

Please submit an abstract of 300 words by April 30th to and .

There is the possibility of financial support for accepted participants.

Emily Bereskin
Center for Metropolitan Studies
Berlin, Germany

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