Institute of Historical Research
Cities and Nationalisms Conference
Incubator City: Shanghai and the Crises of Empires
Cities have been intimately connected with nationalisms of many kinds. The architecture and spatial design of cities have commonly been intended to bolster national pride. So have the nationalist ceremonies that cities have staged. Yet cities have also been places of contending nationalisms or counter nationalisms in which urban territorial divides have helped shape and maintain competing or actively hostile group loyalties. Cities have also sometimes promoted themselves as cosmopolitan and hospitable to all nations. This conference aims to explore the nature and rich variety of connections between nationalisms and cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Cities explored include Alexandria, Belfast, Buenos Aires, Budapest, Cape Town, Cork, Cracow, Hong Kong, Kinshasa, Kirkuk, London, Montreal, Paris, Prague, Shanghai, Tel Aviv and Washington.
The Centre for Metropolitan History invites individual and panel proposals for a two-day conference on ‘Cities and Nationalisms’, to be held at the Institute of Historical Research. Possible themes might include how festivals and parades, or the built environment, or literary and visual accounts of the city, have promoted or maintained nationalisms. Another possible theme would be how senses of urban community or territoriality interacted with nationalisms, ‘ethno-nationalisms’ or ‘loyalism’ in cities as a whole, parts of cities, or in divided cities.
Particularly welcome would be papers or panels that investigate the relationship between cities and nationalisms for hitherto under-explored places and periods. This might be for provincial or colonial cities, or for cities of Asia, Africa or Latin America, or for European capital cities outside the period of high imperialism. But all proposals that address the broad theme of the conference will be considered.