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Call for Papers: Spectral Cities

The Calgary Institute for the Humanities invites proposals on the theme of "Spectral Cities" for the 2018 convening of the Western Humanities Alliance conference in Calgary. 

Freud compared the unconscious to the city of rome, a place haunted by older versions of itself.What are the cities that haunt our cities and our imaginations: lost cities, forgotten cities, ideal cities, imaginary cities? How have fictional or filmic versions of the cities shaped the perception of real ones? How do these spectral cities interact with the everyday ones? What different versions of the city appear when we look at the everyday one from a different angle or in a different light: cities of animals, cities of transience, cities of opposition? These spectral cities can include utopian urban programs, forgotten city planning exercises, past versions of the city captured in media, film, or literature, as well as other kinds of city ghosts and ghost towns. Proposals are invited on the representation of cities in art and literature, the role of ideal and imaginary cities, utopias and dystopias, alternative histories, alternative atlases and psychogeographies; undergrounds and underground cities; the city as assemblage, the city as system, the city as biosphere.

The conference will be held in the spectacular new Calgary Central Public Library, next to Studio Bell: National Music Centre. Featuring exhibitions and tours by the Calgary Atlas Project.

*Please send abstracts for papers (500 words) or panel proposals by March 31, 2018 to:


Ato Quayson, Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies (U of Toronto); author of Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (Oxford, 2014)

Abraham Akkerman, (U of Saskatchewan), author of Phenomenology of the Winter City (Springer, 2016)

Larissa Fassler, Artist (Berlin):

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