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Spatial Histories, Constructs and Practices: Trajectories and Strategies of the North American City



Recent trends in globalization, transnationalism, changing migration patterns, and socio-economic vicissitudes have significantly transformed North American urban landscapes and the ways in which we have come to perceive, understand, practice and express these diverse forms of spatiality. The sheer complexity of urban processes and configurations, from built environment and uses of spaces, social production of spaces, cultural practices, ecological alterations, urban imaginaries to their interrelations across the globe, call for multi-disciplinary investigations to describe and better comprehend the breadths and depths of these urban developments.

This international conference, held as part of the MERCUR project “Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the USA”, a joint American Studies doctoral program by the Universities of Bochum, Dortmund, and Duisburg-Essen, aims to bring together an international panel of scholars and doctoral students from various disciplines to address these exigent issues, conceptualize strategies and develop new perspectives on urban transformations and spatial production in North American cities.



Selma Bidlingmaier and Kathrin Muschalik (RuhrCenter, Ruhr-University Bochum)



March 27, 2014 - Thursday

8:45 Welcome: Selma Bidlingmaier and Kathrin Muschalik

9:00 Literary Cartographies

Chair: Michael Wala
Thomas Heise Mapping Chinatown: Ethnic Infighting, Globalized Labor, and the Crime Novels of Henry Chang
Selma Bidlingmaier Everyday Culinary Chinatown: Food and the Spatial Politics of the Cold War
Utku Mogultay The Urban Frontier in Pynchon's Against the Day

11:00 Coffee Break

Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the City I

Chair: Randi Gunzenhauser
Anke Ortlepp Women and the City: Exploring the Intersections of Gender, Space, and Ethnicity
Insa Neumann Culinary Community. Constructing Germanness in New York City in the 1950s

12:45 Lunch

Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the City II

Chair: Barbara Buchenau
Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson A Dream Deferred? The Situation of African Americans 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act
Kathrin Muschalik "This is the ugly other side of America" - The L.A. Times' news coverage of the Los Angeles riots

3:30 Coffee Break

3:45 (Sub)Urban America

Chair: Walter Grünzweig
Gary Scales Filling Space: The Gas Station in Urban America
Paige Glotzer Building Suburban Power

5:45 Drinks at Livingroom (Networking sessions)
Luisenstraße 9, 44787 Bochum


March 28, 2014 - Friday

10:00 Urban Life Cycles

Chair: Jens Gurr
Jon Hegglund Urban Geologies: From Settlement to Sediment
Nick Bacon Urban Podunkification and the Reproduction of Placelessness in American Secondary Cities

11:30 Coffee Break

Travel Writing

Chair: Josef Raab
Hagen Schultz-Forberg Spatio-temporal Sense-making in Urban Travel Writing
Erika Miko Temporal Experience in Hungarian Travel Writing on New York

1:15 Lunch

2:30 Urban (Trans)formations

Chair: Kornelia Freitag
Mabel O. Wilson
Reconceptualizing the Projects
Faye Guenther What to Do with Freedom: Queer Space and Queer Visibility in the Work of David Wojnarowicz
Tazalika te Reh Transforming Space

4:30 Coffee Break

4:45 Wrap-up




Dr. Julia Sattler
Tel.: 0231 755-2903