Urban Dreams and Realities: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the City in Ancient Cultures
Sponsored by University of Alberta
Friday, October 21, 2011 - 9:00am to Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 6:00pm


Edmonton, AB

CFP Deadline: 
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hosted by the University of Alberta Department of History and Classics

Graduate Program - Ancient Societies and Cultures Specialization

What makes a city more than just a lot of people living in one place? This conference will explore how that question was framed and answered in ancient societies all over the world, and to what extent it is possible to come up with a concept of "the city" that applies across cultural and geographical lines in the ancient world. We welcome abstracts from faculty and advanced graduate students on any aspect of urbanism and urban culture from the ancient civilizations of East Asia, South Asia, the Near East, the Mediterranean Basin or the Pre-Columbian Americas. A principal aim of the conference is to gather people working on similar topics from different disciplinary perspectives, and papers with a comparative focus are especially welcome. Papers and abstracts may be in either English or French.

Possible topics would include both how cities function in a concrete sense, and how they are conceived of more abstractly. Examples include:

Infrastructure and environmental impact of cities

Administrative and political roles

Economic functions of urban communities

Construction of urban vs. rural identity

Civic events, rituals and spectacles

The City as metaphor

The City as place of memory and memory as builder of cities

The relationship of the City to the Divine

The conference is taking place in conjunction with a seminar of the same title being taught collectively by faculty in the ASC specialization. A keynote lecture will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Josef Weisehöfer of the University of Kiel, and we anticipate publication of the proceedings. It may be possible for us to cover all or part of presenters' travel expenses to Edmonton, but this cannot be known until after the deadline for submissions; we will therefore accept abstracts sent with the understanding that the submitter may not be able to attend if funding is unavailable.

Abstracts of 200-400 words should be anonymous, with a separate page containing the following information, which is necessary as we are applying for funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada:

Title of Paper

Family name, given name, initials

Institutional affiliation (if any) and department

Degrees received; please specify the discipline

Recent positions held

Recent publications and those relevant to the theme of the conference

Audio-visual or other requirements

E-mail and postal address

Please send abstracts by 31 March (our replies will follow by 15 April) to Conference Organizer Adam Kemezis (kemezis@ualberta.ca), to whom other inquries should also be directed.

Contact Information


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