Monday, December 1, 2014

Call for Chapters: Paris of the Periphery: The Parisian Image and the Making of Urban Modernity in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1850-1930

We invite submissions (in the form of a 1000-word abstract) for consideration as chapters in an edited volume exploring the many connections between Paris and the modernizing cities of Eastern Europe and Latin America in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century (1850-1930).  Our objective is to reopen and reinvigorate the comparison of the borderlands of modern Western urbanity by bringing together the histories of cities on the continental and transatlantic periphery that were fashioned or imagined as regional Parises in miniature (“Paris of the East,” “Paris of South America,” “Paris of the Balkans,” “Paris of the Andes,” “Little Paris,” etc.) or that interpreted significant elements of their urban environment, experience, or culture through the prism of Paris.  We are particularly interested in going beyond the focus on urban planning alone in the consideration of this relationship.

Through a series of chapters on individual cities in either Eastern Europe or Latin America (see list below), the volume aims to explore the following clusters of questions:
• What did it mean to call an Eastern European or Latin American city the “Paris of…” its region?  Who fostered this association, when, and why?  (Groups to consider may include, but are not limited to:  politicians, businessmen, urban planners, architects, city officials, tourism officials, visiting travelers, immigrants, journalists, advertisers, students, artists, writers, playwrights, songwriters, bohemians, modernists, scientists, other local social/political elites.)  Did everyone mean the same thing when they used it?  How did its meaning change over time in a particular urban or national context?
• What historical changes in Eastern Europe or Latin America after 1850 encouraged locals to identify with or reject Paris as a model of urban modernity?  Were there political conflicts or transformations at the national level that encouraged or discouraged this association? Were they related to social or cultural changes within the city itself?  Were they fostered by growing personal networks or other transnational material connections to Paris?
• Which Paris served as the model for the implementation or interpretation of modernity in an Eastern European or Latin American city, when, and why?  The “City of Light”?  “Capital of Pleasures”?  Haussmann’s Second Empire or Beaux-Arts capital?  “Old Paris”?  Bohemian Paris?  Were there other general images of Parisian modernity that Eastern Europeans or Latin Americans used to map their own modern urban experience?  Other specific neighborhoods, streets, or architectural details in Paris that they saw or wanted to see echoes of in their own city?
• To what degree did urban planners, architects, and city officials in each Eastern European or Latin American city consciously seek to emulate Haussmann’s Parisian reforms or model their own urban environment after Paris specifically?  Were there other urban models of equal or greater importance for them?  Consciously or not, to what degree did they end up replicating the look of Paris in miniature?  To what degree were other changes or other people beyond their control responsible for the “Paris of…” association?
• How did local manifestations of modernism and nationalism shape the view of Paris as a model of cultural modernity over time?  Did they reinforce or break down this connection?  To what degree did new cultural actors such as bohemians, modernists, popular entertainers, or nationalist ideologues ridicule the pretention to make their home city more like Paris – or even ridicule Paris itself?  To what degree did architects, planners, and others look to national traditions or other kinds of modern cities (such as the North American skyscraper city) as a counterweight or alternative to the identification with Parisian modernity?  To what degree did they simply re-imagine Paris to better fit their own experiences and ambitions? 
Each of the book’s empirical chapters will focus on a single city, written by an expert on one of our two focus regions.  No contributor will be asked to make direct comparisons between Eastern Europe and Latin America in the course of his or her study.  Similarly, no proposed analytical focus is too narrow.  We will work with the selected participants to situate specific topics or periods of interest within the broader framework of the study.
As we already have authors working on Buenos Aires, Budapest, Prague, Quito and São Paulo, we are looking for further contributions exploring interactions with Paris in other Eastern European and Latin American urban contexts such as Athens, Bucharest, Belgrade, Caracas, Cracow, Havana, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Odessa, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Warsaw, etc. Proposals for chapters on other capitals or large cities normally considered part of these two regions are welcome as well.
The deadline for chapter proposals is January 15, 2015.
After the completion of the review and selection process at the end of March 2015, the editors will submit a book proposal to several academic presses.
To submit a chapter proposal, please email both Dr. Brian Bockelman at and Dr. Alexander Vari at
Dr. Brian Bockelman
Department of History
Ripon College
300 W. Seward St.
Ripon, WI 54971 
Dr. Alexander Vari
Department of Social Sciences
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave.
Scranton, PA 18509 

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