16th Triennial EACLALS Conference Performing the Urban. Embodiments, Inventories, Rhythms April 3-7, 2017

Performing the Urban:
Embodiments, Inventories, Rhythms

The rapid and continued growth of cities in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has intensified academic interest in the urban, as material reality and as imaginary or symbolic construction. A postcolonial perspective on the theory and practice of the urban expands Eurocentric notions to include different ways of inhabiting, performing or embodying a variety of cities, while dissecting neo-colonial and decolonial gestures of urbanization and of representation. In a globalised world in which the network economy appears to be intrinsically connected to the urban, postcolonial studies also invite us to decentre this dominant narrative by examining the margins and limits of the urban, or indeed non-urban spaces in which other ways of being and dwelling exist or may emerge.

High levels of mobility currently typify urban space. Cities have become places of encounter par excellence, bringing strangers together in spaces of embodied proximity, containing opportunities for both inclusion and exclusion of difference. The various forms of globalization have brought about a movement of persons across national borders, most often leading to city dwelling and a diverse experience and performance of the urban. In this context, and in the different specific locations and historical circumstances that characterize the post-colonial, how do individuals or collectives appropriate and perform urban space? Amid the new technologies and shifting geopolitical maps of the present century, how are urban communities imagined and performed? In times of perceived insecurity, are the urban capabilities described by Saskia Sassen being weakened by fear or by the power of the nation-state? How are urbanites contesting these sweeping narratives and other hegemonic ideologies affecting the contemporary post-colonial world? How is the urban performed emotionally?

This conference is an invitation to rethink, research and discuss the urban (and the counter-urban) as performance and construction, and to do so from a variety of disciplinary approaches, theoretical perspectives and creative productions.


Papers are invited on topics under the following headings:

  • Performing the urban: enactments of the urban, rhythms, social patterns, identities, subjectivities, imaginaries.
  • Performance as an urban practice: urban spectacles, audiences; agents, choreographers of the urban; the urban space as stage. Urban drama, comedy, art.
  • Changing performances: resisting the urban; sustainable cities; eco-urbanity.
  • Embodied urban encounters: living urban contact; post/trans/human bodies; transcultural exchange. Intersections, cross-overs.
  • Bodily performances: art, politics, leisure; street-dwelling.
  • Urban inventories: structural, architectural, archival, museums.
  • Urban rhythms and historical rhythms: changes in the perception and enactment of cities. Post/colonial shifts (wars, fears, occupation, liberation).
  • Emotional performances of the urban.
  • Writing the city: urban literature, the global city as post/colonial text.


Deadline: 30 December 2016

We invite contributions for 20-minute papers or 90-minute panels addressing the conference topic.

Send your proposal

Please send a 300-word abstract for individual papers or 450-word abstract for panels, accompanied by a short bionote of all speakers (100-150 words) and 5-6 keywords. Use the form below or send your proposal materials as email attachment to eaclals.oviedo@gmail.com

Attach your abstract here *
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