International Conference of Urban Anthropology 6th edition Public Spaces: Places of the City, Places of Memory

Given the evolution of the pandemic and travel restrictions, we are forced to postpone the International Conference of Urban Anthropology scheduled for November 13-14, 2020, now at the sixth edition.

The period considered at this time for rescheduling is April 2-3, 2021, that coincides with the spring break of our guests at the University of Valladolid, Spain.

However, we will return with the precise calendar, including the submission of papers in written format for publication, depending on the evolution of the situation. All accepted entries remain of course valid.

We thank you for your interest! We were pleasantly surprised by the large number of papers proposed, and we assure you that this conference will take place in the best possible conditions.

 

International Conference of Urban Anthropology

6th edition

Public Spaces: Places of the City, Places of Memory

Bucharest Municipality Museum, Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest, “Ion Mincu”

University of Urbanism and Architecture in Bucharest, Romania, University of Valladolid, Spain, and Spanish Embassy in Romania announces the organization of the sixth edition of the International Conference of Urban Anthropology, with the theme Public Spaces: Places of the City, Places of Memory, in Bucharest, on November 13-14, 2020.

 A city can be read the way you read a book. The place of letters is taken by buildings, the structure of the streets, the signs left by time on the constructions, the way people wander through the city and the vehicles move in the urban space. Cities are a mixture of people and buildings, and the relationship between the community and the built space is more complicated than it seems at first glance. People build buildings, and the buildings and spaces between them make up, over time, cities. Once built, cities acquire identity, decisively influence the way of being, behaving, thinking of the people who live there. The relationship between a community and its space has multiple, layered nuances, sometimes unsuspected at first sight.

 The theme of the 6th edition of the Urban Anthropology Conference is built around the relationships between the public spaces of cities, the people who cross them and the community that created them, in an anthropological reading.

 In The City Assembled, Spiro Kostoff indicates that although public space is a rather vague concept, and it is often difficult to draw a firm boundary between public and private, two aspects of urban life support the relevance of the idea of public space. We cross the city to meet our friends or acquaintances, says S. Kostof, at the park bench, in the main square or in front of the cathedral. But everyone, he adds, has the right to cross or stay in public spaces, so there you can meet anyone, and the gestures of strangers can be unpredictable. The public space is, first of all, a scene of daily life, of the familiar and the original alike, and the freedom of action, as well as the right to remain inactive in these places are intrinsically related to their character as territories of daily life.

On the other hand, public spaces are scenes of rituals. They host community activities, very different from each other ‒ from concerts and festivals to religious ceremonies, historical and political celebrations or, in the past, public executions. That is why public spaces bear the signs of the city’s memory. The way they are designed, structured, embellished with public forum monuments, able to glorify moments or characters of the history of the place, gives an account of this ritual character of the public space.

Reality with a fluctuating geometry, the public space is the witness of continuities and ruptures, of the history of architectural fashion and models, while containing the volatile images of the societies that created it or knew it in a certain time sequence. As in Honoré de Balzac’s novels, which do not separate the descriptions of territories from those of the communities that shape them, the memory of places is, in fact, the memory of those who took possession of them at some point. And the milestones of this memory are the monuments, understood as a link between generations, an instrument for triggering the flow of memories and an artifact raised against the perishability of things. The columns, statues and triumphal arches of antiquity are now being replaced by other types of devices, meant to make the absence present, to bring back fragments from yesterday to present day.

The public space can give rise to a plethora of interpretations in the most diverse fields, from history to architecture and urbanism, from sociology and urban anthropology to political philosophy, geocriticism or communication sciences.

 

The main theme of the conference will be developed on four directions, organized in different sections:

  1. Public spaces, places and speeches. Squares, streets, parks, public monuments;
  2. The daily life of public spaces;
  3. Public spaces and rituals;
  4. Texts about the city and cities from the texts.

            ”Memory”, wrote S. Freud in Civilization and its Discontents, ”is structured like a city”. The example he proposes is Rome, because Rome preserves different layers of past development. A century after Freud we can turn over the terms of comparison. A city is like memory, it preserves different layers of past development, and public spaces place a stronger or more discreet spotlight on these multistoried lives of the city.

Please send abstracts and papers to: antropologie@muzeulbucurestiului.ro

Abstracts can be in English, Spanish, French or Romanian.

The papers presented will be published in the Journal of Urban Anthropology.

Presentations will be in English, Spanish, French or Romanian.

 

Coordinator of the Conference of Urban Anthropology: Associate Professor Ph.D. Cătălin D. Constantin

The Organizing Committee consists of:

Eliana Radu, Maria Sfrijan, Silvia Zamfir (Bucharest Municipality Museum);

Associate Professor Ph.D. Cristina Bogdan, Associate Professor Ph.D. Alexandra Crăciun (Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest);

University Professor Ph.D. Augustin Ioan (“Ion Mincu” University of Urbanism and Architecture in Bucharest);

University Professor Ph.D. Mercedes Cano Herrera (University of Valladolid).

 The Scientific Committee consists of :

Ph.D. Adrian Majuru, Ph.D. Dan Pîrvulescu, Ph.D. Vasile Opriș (Bucharest Municipality Museum);

University Professor Ph.D. Mercedes Cano Herrera (University of Valladolid).

University Professor Ph.D. Carmen Mușat, Associate Professor Ph.D. Cristina Bogdan;

Associate Professor Ph.D. Cătălin D. Constantin (Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest);

University Professor Ph.D. Sorin Vasilescu (“Ion Mincu” University of Urbanism and Architecture);

University Professor Ph.D. Doina Ruști, Ph.D. Andreea Răsuceanu (invited members).

The conference does not involve a participation fee.

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