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2015 Graduate Student Conference Chronopolis: Time & Urban Space

Friday, October 30, 2015
12:00 AM
Rackham East Conference Room

Presented in Conjunction with the Annual Grilk Lecture

Although cities are generally understood as spatial phenomena, this conference suggests that urban space cannot be thought independent of its temporal dimensions. Layers from different times coexist in the built environment of the city—the high-speed ICE train pulls into the Cologne Station alongside the gothic Dom and its looming spires. Time actually imprints itself on the spaces of the city—the Berlin Boros Bunker displays its war scars and the Berliner Mauerweg courses throughout the German capital. But time is not only visible as a historical remnant; it also serves to organize and structure the rhythms of city life: train, tram, and bus schedules regulate the movement of bodies throughout the city, while the Munich Rathaus Glockenspiel charms tourists daily with its dancing Bavarian figures at 11:00 sharp. Thinking about the ways time intertwines with urban space illuminates the material and representative dimensions of the city as a dynamic space of experience and practice, systems and conflicts, culture and history.

Combining Reinhart Koselleck’s notion that time is conceived in spatial metaphors with Henri Lefebvre’s premise that space is socially produced, this conference invites papers that investigate how cities and time mutually determine and reflect each other. While the focus is on Germanspeaking cities, we also welcome approaches that connect time in the metropolis to international frameworks and consider the rise of global cities and global metropolitan networks. We invite transnational and interdisciplinary contributions from all fields, including urban planning, architecture, history, art history, geography, sociology, gender and queer studies, anthropology, comparative literature, film studies, visual culture, theater, and musicology.

The Annual Werner Grilk Lecture in German Studies, given by Andreas Huyssen, will precede the conference on Thursday evening, October 29. University of Michigan graduate students and conference attendees are also invited to participate in a reading group on the topic of Time and Urban Space in the fall semester of 2015. Professor Huyssen will conduct a workshop on Friday October 30 as the culminating session of this reading group.

Bettina Stoetzer (MIT); Andreas Huyssen (Columbia)