Appel à communications : Colloque “Urban Fragmentation(s). Borders and Identity III”, Berlin (Allemagne), 16-19/03/2015 — LIMITE : 12/09/2014

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities; cities that are growing each year by approximately 70 million inhabitants, i.e., 1.4 million a week. The conference aims to contribute to the understanding of urban societies, their construction and expression, and as sites of cultural change that is not always peaceful and orderly, but instead often violent and destructive. Focusing on language, literature and questions of society and governance, the conference attempts to elucidate the constantly changing formations of cultural, linguistic, and societal identities. Within the framework of urban society, identity (of languages, cultures, groups, concepts of urban life, etc.) is not a fixed entity. Instead, the boundaries of identity are constantly being negotiated, creating vacillations between inclusivity and exclusivity, new majorities and minorities: urban societies are therefore faced with a constant need to reevaluate their own traditions and trajectories, governance and policies.Conference Announcement

The Centers for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (GWZ) will jointly host the 3rd Borders & Identity conference from March 16th to 19th, 2015 in Berlin (Germany). The conference provides a meeting place for researchers interested in interdisciplinary approaches to exploring Urban Fragmentation(s) from linguistic, literary, sociological, and historical points of view, or a combination thereof. The conference will be organized in three parallel strands, each chaired by a corresponding GWZ-center (ZAS, Center for General Linguistics; ZfL, Center for Literary and Cultural Research; ZMO, Center for Modern Oriental Studies).

1.      Literature & Translation (ZfL)

2.      Language & Linguistic Creativity (ZAS)

3.      Society & Governance (ZMO)

We invite abstracts for presentations and posters on topics including, but not limited to, the following areas listed below. Interdisciplinary submissions are highly welcome.


Writing the city

  • Urban soundscapes: Fragments, collages, remixes
  • Literary interventions in urban society: cutting across town
  • Multilingual literatures in pluricultural cities
  • Plural topographies in urban literatures and cultures

“The ‘translation’ is the message”

  • Translating the self: Writers in exile and migration
  • Translating the other: Appropriating foreign forms of cultural expression
  • The role and function of cultural mediators (artists, publishers, teachers, etc.)

New subjectivities

  • Suburban subjectivities: Figurations of the self in recent post-socialist literature
  • (Urban) cultures of affect: Fragmented memories, distorted belongings, violent riots


Linguistic diversity in the city

  • Multilingualism in the classroom
  • Multilingual cities as loci of language contact and change
  • Migration patterns and linguistic fragmentation


  • Linguistic creativity / Multiethnolects
  • Language change / Language decay
  • Language variation and social networks

Language attitudes / Linguistic stereotypes

  • Perceptual ethnolectology
  • Language ideologies
  • Linguistic expressions of style


Negotiating diversities

  • Cultural, ethnic, and religious fragmentation in the city
  • Governance of plurality
  • Spaces of interaction, spaces of fragmentation

Contesting visions

  • Splintering urbanism in networked cities
  • Urban contestations and violence
  • Unifying and fragmenting visions of urbanism
  • Fragmented authenticity of urban heritage

Rethinking Marginalities

  • Urban centrality and marginality: Concepts and terminologies
  • Urban centrality and marginality: Case studies

A full call for abstracts (500 words, excluding references) for oral or poster presentations will follow in July.

Abstract submission deadline: Sept. 12th, 2014

Notification of acceptance: Oct. 30th, 2014


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