Since Walter Benjamin’s ground-breaking investigation into the Parisian flâneur of the nineteenth century, the practises of the peripatetic observer of city life have informed literary, cultural, and sociological studies of urban life. As a seismograph of the metropolis, walking through the city, observing and describing the urban environment, the flâneur reflects the dynamics and effects of modern city life, such as the encounter with anonymous crowds and modern mass culture or the significance of evanescent impressions and perceptions in a fashion that has eschewed a theoretical consensus so far.
Based on the critical premises of flânerie as a quintessential phenomenon of urban life, pervading almost all areas of intellectual, social, and artistic production, and of the flâneur as an ever-evolving figure, this conference seeks a re-evaluation of the flâneur’s dual role as an agent and a subject within metropolitan environments beyond Benjamin’s constrictions concerning gender, suitable settings, and social roles. Proposals for papers are welcome from all disciplines, including literary studies, art history, film studies, philosophy, sociology, and urban studies.
Possible topics may include but are not limited to:
- The flâneur and other characteristic figures of city culture, e.g. the detective, the dandy, the man-about-town, or the tramp
- The emergence and development of the controversial female flâneur
- Different forms of locomotion and flânerie, for instance bicycling, motorcycling, or car-driving
- Flânerie and the periodical press
- The flâneur beyond western culture
- Flânerie in the visual arts
- Poetics, praxeology, and metaphoric flânerie
- The mutability of flânerie across genres in literature and / or other media
Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words and a short biographical note to Oliver Bock (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, email@example.com) by 15 October 2017. More information will be made available at flaneurconferencejena2018.wordpress.com.