CFP: Meeting Places: The City as a Space of Cross-cultural Encounter

Call for Papers

Meeting Places: The City as a Space of Cross-cultural Encounter

Friday 12th – Saturday 13th September 2014

University of Liverpool, UK

Across a wide range of disciplines, the city has long provided a critical site for studying the ma- jor social, cultural and intellectual developments in any historical era (Simmel 1950, Sennett 1970, Harvey 1989). The UGC-UKIERI Thematic Partnership Project, Envisioning the Indian City (ETIC) seeks to further our understanding of the crucial role played by Indian cities in negotiat- ing contact between India and the world, and Europe in particular. It brings together a more extensive coverage than has been attempted hitherto outside single-discipline approaches, combining frontline, ‘on-site’ research with a pooling of expertise and access to crucial archival material in both countries, and placing geographically and culturally specific research on Indian cities on the map of global research into the idea of the city.

Project website:

The inaugural workshop, Spaces of Encounter, held at Jadavpur University (Kolkata, India) in January 2014, looked at the Indian city as a crucible of encounter between Europe and the world. Examining cities as ‘palimpsests of real and diverse experiences and memories’ (Huyssen 2008), a number of international scholars including Sukanta Chaudhuri, Swati Chattopadhyay and Kiran Joshi provided multidisciplinary, regional and wide-ranging historical coverage on the project’s focal Indian cities (Goa, Kolkata, Pondicherry/Auroville, Chandigarh).

The second International Workshop to be held at the University of Liverpool invites a wider focus on the role of cities as loci for cross-cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe. Method- ological and theoretical reflections are welcomed, as well as presentations of current research projects particularly on Indian cities as spaces of encounter between India and the UK, and India and Europe.

Proposals are invited for complete panels of three or four papers, as well as individual papers. Themes for papers and panels could include (but are not limited to) the following:

• How has the city historically and contemporarily facilitated cross-cultural encounters?

• What is the residue of cultural encounter and how are experiences shared and relayed?

• What movements and interactions constitute cities?

Please send abstracts (250 words for individual papers and 500 words for complete panels), a brief biographical statement (if proposing a panel, one for each participant), and contact de- tails, to by 15 July 2014.

Papers should take between 15–20 minutes to present, and panels should last no longer than 90 minutes.

Diplomacy and Culture in the Early Modern World

31 July-2 August 2014 at TORCH, Oxford

The conference builds upon the recent ‘cultural turn’ in diplomatic studies that has seen more innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to a subject that was once viewed in heavily bureaucratic and constitutional terms. Scholars are increasingly appreciating the importance of ritual and other forms of symbolic communication in diplomatic practices and the role of diplomatic processes in cultural exchanges. Diplomats were important political brokers whose actions could have profound implications for international relations, but they played an equally important role in the transfer and adaptation of cultural ideas and artefacts through their activities as cultural agents, authors and brokers. The profound impact of diplomacy on culture in this period is, moreover, seen in the increasing prominence of representations of diplomacy in literature and a range of other media. The aim of this conference is to further our understanding of early modern diplomatic practices, of the dynamics of diplomatic exchanges both within and without Europe, and how diplomatic ideas and practices interacted with other cultural and political processes.

The keynote lecture ‘Diplomacy as a Social Practice: Recent Research Perspectives’ will be delivered by Professor Christian Windler (Bern). The conference will feature two panel discussions: one on the impact of the ‘diplomatic moment’ and another on future directions in diplomatic studies. Papers and panels will address aspects of diplomatic culture in Europe and the wider world including gender, gifts, material culture, the dissemination of information, archival practices, international law, cross cultural exchanges and translation, as well as the impact of diplomacy on literary writing and representations of diplomacy. Registration will close on 18 July.

For more details, including the provisional programme and links to the conference registration page, please visit: