Call for Papers

Bright Lights, Big City: The Development and Influence of the Metropolis

A Graduate Symposium

Presented by the Graduate Group in Classics, Archaeology, and History of Art at Bryn Mawr College

November 13-14, 2015, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA

Keynote speaker and respondent: Ellen Morris, Assistant Professor of Classics, Barnard College, Columbia University

What are the key elements that have defined urban centers, capital cities, and metropoleis throughout history? How have big cities structured the intersection of cultural, commercial, and political institutions and activities through time? What attracts people to the metropolis? How does the metropolis absorb and influence ideas and practice?

The fabric of cities is not limited to geography or physical structure.  As centers of civic engagement, trade, and innovation, metropoleis have promoted cultural ferment by supporting diverse populations of merchants, artists, intellectuals, leaders, workers, and emigrants. Cities have been conceived of as cosmopolitan and urbane as well as morally dubious, dangerous, and home to crime and social inequality. Can there be a single definition of the metropolis if diversity is a constitutive element?

The Bryn Mawr College Graduate Group invites submissions to an interdisciplinary graduate symposium. We seek abstracts addressing dimensions of metropoleis both ancient and modern from graduate students in classics, archaeology, art history, and related fields. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Deconstructing the core and the periphery
  • The emergence and development of metropoleis
  • The metropolis within wider networks
  • Anthropomorphizing the metropolis
  • Autonomy and alienation in civic identity
  • Urban experience and embodiment
  • Landmarks and urban landscapes