Call for Papers

Canadian Review of American Studies

Death in the Cityscape

In contemporary literature, the intersection of the space of death and mourning within the confines of the city acts as a method of critiquing our understood modes of living. Since Plato’s Republic, the uneasy interplay of death and memorialization within the polis has been considered. Theorists like Gillian Rose in Mourning Becomes the Law and Sharon Zukin in Naked City have elaborated upon the discourse of space, death, and mourning within an urban setting. This issue of finding a space within the city for the dead remains with us, and recent American economic turmoil places the urban metropolis and its spaces of decay in sharp focus (seen in novels like Teju Cole’s Open City, television shows like The Wire and movies such as Synecdoche, New York). Where in the city is death (dis)allowed? Under what authority does the city, as a social nexus point, memorialize the dead? How does art work in concert with, or against, accepted practices of mourning and memorializing within the city limits? Can one mourn the passing of a city and, if so, how is this enacted? While this abstract focuses primarily on contemporary American work, we welcome papers related to any period of American urban history.

We invite scholarly articles on this topic in any genre of American studies. Submissions should be no more than 8000 words in length. Abstracts of no more than 250 words will be accepted until December 1, 2014. Completed articles must be submitted by April 1, 2015.
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Possible topics may include:

–          Death’s relationship to identity in the American city

–          American Cities Characterized

–          Post-9/11 American Cities and Identity

–          Death and Mourning in the City

–          Death and Public Art

–          Memorials and Public Mourning

–          Urban American: Recession and After


–          African-American

–          Children’s Literature

–          Cultural Studies and Historical Approaches

–          Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies

–          Ethnicity and National Identity

–          Film and Television

–          Gender Studies and Sexuality

–          Interdisciplinary

–          Literary Modernism

–          Popular Culture

–          Postcolonialism

–          Postmodernism and Postmodern culture

–          Theatre Studies

–          Twenty-First Century Literature

–          Visual Art and Culture