The conference will be held at Monte Verità, 26-29 September 2012, Ascona, Switzerland.
The conference is organised by Istituto Studi Mediterranei and the Master in Intercultural Communication (Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano) in association with Università di Bergamo, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Centro Stefano Franscini.
For centuries, the Mediterranean has been, if not the first, at least the largest urban space. It was probably the world’s most urbanized area until the sixteenth century. The phrase “Mediterranean cities” suggests a multitude of images, representations, even preconceptions and stereotypes. Volumes have been written, from a variety of perspectives, on Mediterranean cities: travellers, merchants, historians, geographers, writers and, more recently, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, architects, urban planners, politicians… Films have been made where the Mediterranean city features prominently. In the academic context, several disciplines promote research and projects on Mediterranean urban space.
We all seem to have our own mental picture of the Mediterranean city, where ideal and reality cannot be told apart. With the conference we are launching, we propose to explore in much greater depth this very close, though rather vague, relationship between myth and reality, embodied in different narratives.
What links the myths of the “Mediterranean city”, conveyed in different narratives, to the realities of Mediterranean cities? To what extent do these myths influence the Euro-Med political discourse of today? These questions conjure up issues of current relevance, as shown first by the Barcelona Process (1995) and later by the Union for the Mediterranean (2008). Many universities and institutions are focusing on the Mediterranean and cities as the most important challenges of the twenty-first century. Indeed, in 2009 the urban population overtook the rural population and the Mediterranean region remains strategic despite ongoing changes affecting the global political and economic configuration. Given the breadth and complexity of the subject, our aim is to promote interdisciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches; to foster a fruitful dialogue between academics, politicians, experts as well as civil society actors; and to ensure a balanced participation of speakers from the Southern and the Northern shores of the Mediterranean. For these reasons, the conference expects to bring together distinguished scholars, experts as well as researchers at every level of their career.
Proposals on the following topics are particularly welcome:
- Representations and constructions of the Mediterranean
- Places and myths of the Mediterranean
- Literary representations and narratives of cities
- Developments of the Mediterranean megalopolis in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa
- Mediatic narratives of the modern and contemporary myths of cities
- Migration into /out of Mediterranean cities
- Urban identities in the Mediterranean: the role of gender, class, and religion in (re)shaping contemporary cities.
Proposals for 20-minute papers are invited on any aspect concerning the relationship between Mediterranean cities and narratives and representations, without restriction on disciplinary approach or period.
The official languages are English, French and Italian. We kindly advise participants to choose one of these languages and to prepare a power-point presentation in another.
Federica Frediani, Università della Svizzera italiana
Annick Tonti, Università della Svizzera italiana
Rossana Bonadei, Università di Bergamo
Michela Ardizzoni, University of Colorado at Boulder
Please send a 300 word abstract along with a short biographical notice to
Federica Frediani firstname.lastname@example.org
Istituto studi mediterranei, Università della Svizzera italiana
Via G. Buffi 13, CH-6904 Lugano
+41 58 666 47 05; Fax: +41 58 666 47 40