AccueilPersistent Spaces: politics, aesthetics and topography in the XVIIIth and XIXth-century City

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Publié le lundi 24 juin 2013 par Elsa Zotian


Our two-day postgraduate conference will explore the evolving configurations of the urban space from the Enlightenment to the late 19th-century. We will consider the accumulating and interpenetrating layers that make up the 18th- and 19th-century city. London and Paris will be our main focus, but this palimpsestic model may be extended elsewhere, and we will welcome abstracts centring on other cities. Interdisciplinarity will be key to our conference. We hope to attract researchers from various fields, including literature and the arts, sociology, philosophy, law, science and engineering, etc. Through this ‘decompartmentalized’ approach, we will attempt to shed light on the myriad facets of the 18th- and 19th-century city. 



The aim of this two-day conference is to bring together young researchers to explore the city and its ideologies from a fully interdisciplinary perspective. We would like to combine approaches from the fields of literature and the arts, sociology, philosophy, law, science and engineering in order to create a dialogue between disciplines and methodologies.

This conference would also establish a dialogue between the 18th and the 19th centuries. We will seek to highlight the individual specificities of these two periods, but also to understand the echoes, continuities and breaks between them. From the Enlightenment to the late nineteenth century and before urbanism was fully established as a discipline, the city was constantly being configured and reconfigured by the joint influences of architects, civil engineers, political organizations, associations and the informal ‘practices’ of inhabitants. Writers and artists also play a major part in this process, both picking up on these developments and changing them through the aesthetics they deploy.

The conference will shed light on the city as a topography of struggle, a site of conflicting and interpenetrating layers, changing yet also persisting through time and space, and continually shaped by tensions between authority and resistance.

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Authority, ideology, urban planning and everyday ‘practices’
  • Coherence or fragmentation of the urban space (home and workplace, centre and slums, etc.)
  • Geographical juxtapositions / temporal superimpositions of spaces
  • Population, mobility and living conditions
  • Technological developments and urban networks
  • 18th/19th century continuity and breaks
  • 18th-century ideas persisting and materializing in the 19th century
  • Comparisons between / specificity of London and Paris

Submission guidelines

Papers will last for 20 minutes and will be followed by 15-minute discussions.

Abstracts no longer than 300 words should be sent to

by October 13th, 2013

along with a brief biographical note, which should not exceed 50 words.

The conference will take place at Paris Diderot University (Paris, 13e arrondissement) on the 12th-13th December 2013.

Our two keynote speakers will be:

  • Lynda Nead (Birkbeck College)
  • Stéphane Van Damme (Sciences Po Paris)

This event is supported by the Laboratoire de Recherches sur les Cultures Anglophones (Université Paris Diderot).

Scientific committee

The scientific committee examining the papers is composed of doctoral students from Paris Diderot University:

  • Claire Deligny
  • Clémence Follea
  • Clément Martin
  • Roisin Quinn-Lautrefin
  • Estelle Murail
  • Marie Ruiz


  • Paris Diderot University
    Paris, France (75013)


  • dimanche 13 octobre 2013


  • city, history, arts, persistence, resistance


  • Clément Martin
    courriel : clemm [dot] martin [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Clémence Follea
    courriel : clemence [dot] follea [at] gmail [dot] com

Source de l'information

  • Clément Martin
    courriel : clemm [dot] martin [at] gmail [dot] com

Pour citer cette annonce

« Persistent Spaces: politics, aesthetics and topography in the XVIIIth and XIXth-century City », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le lundi 24 juin 2013,