Poetry and the Poetic Word in Public Spaces: Urban Resistances to Neoliberalism from 1970 to the Present

Seminar at the Annual Conference of the American Comparative Literature Association, March 20-23 2014, New York University

Deadline for paper proposals: November 1, 2013

Organizer: Cornelia Grabner, Lancaster University

Neoliberal policies have changed the ways in which city dwellers and visitors inhabit and experience cities. Spatial segregation, social inequality, securitization, militarization, gentrification, and the cut-backs in funding for cultural      projects have compartmentalized public space and the cultural expressions that develop within it.

Poetry and the poetic word often play a significant role in the social movements, countercultures and cultures of resistance that have formed in response to neoliberalism. Examples include the insertion of poetry into public space in order to form new and resistant collectivities; the use of the poetic word as a resistance to social division; and the work of autonomous social centers on and with poetry.

On the formal level, city poetry responds to the neoliberal division of cities into separated zones of perception. In some zones, the sense of danger and the need for constant alertness highlights the importance of poetry as an autonomous way of making sense. In others, social clean-up and architectural cleanliness reduce sensory perception and encourage a withdrawal into the intimate.

This workshop invites papers that explore the role of poetry and the poetic word as a resistance and response to the neoliberal city. Interdisciplinary approaches and approaches from a variety of disciplines are welcome.

Possible lines of enquiry include

      – poetry and the sensory in the neoliberal city

      – subjectivities and collectivities

      – the poetic word in film, music, and the visual arts

      – urban social movements

      – territorialities of resistance

      – autonomous cultural spaces and projects

 Please submit your paper proposal here: http://www.acla.org/submit/

 For further information on the ACLA conference see here:



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