Low Countries, Big Cities

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9th Biennial Conference
Low Countries, Big Cities
4 - 5 April 2012
University of Sheffield
Call for Papers and Panel Proposals

For the first time in human history, more people live in an urban environment than in a rural one. Cities are big and getting bigger. Cities have played a crucial role in the history of the Low Countries as places of encounter, exchange, protest and revolution. The city is a place of contrast: new trends emerge in a setting infused with history. Cities are often either celebrated as liberal, free spirited, worldly hybrids, or dismissed as locations of tension, lacking in morals and traditional values. Cities are places of linguistic innovation: new linguistic features emerge, indeed new urban vernaculars, of which Polder Dutch is a prominent example in the Low Countries. In art, representations of cities—and their related concerns—constitute some the most potent and thought-provoking images produced in the modern era.

Jessop West, University of Sheffield

It is the aim of this two-day conference to explore the cities of the Low Countries along and across cultural, linguistic and historical lines.

The keynote address on 4th April will be delivered by Prof. Herman Pleij (UvA).

We invite both individual contributions (20-minute presentations which will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion) and proposals for fully constituted panels. Panel convenors are invited to suggest a 90-minutes themed panel of three speakers. Topics may include:

City as a setting, city as a subject
The imaginary city
Contemporary and historical representations of the/a city in visual art and literature
Urban culture through the centuries
Cultural links and influences between cities
Cities as places of shared memory
Urban vernaculars, street language

Please send your proposal in the form of a 300-WORD ABSTRACT by 30 November 2011 to Henriette Louwerse (H.louwerse@shef.ac.uk).

Selected papers will be published in the ALCS Journal: Dutch Crossing.

Delegates will be invited to join the official launch of citybooks Sheffield, an alternative travel guide to the city in text and image, as well as a special exhibition of Dutch and Flemish art at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield