Two-day pluridisciplinary postgraduate conference, 12th-13th December 2013, University Paris Diderot (bâtiment Sophie Germain, Amphi Turing)

Contact: Clemence Follea ( or Clement Martin (

This two-day conference brings together young researchers to explore the city and its ideologies from a fully interdisciplinary perspective. ‘Persistent Spaces’ combines approaches from various fields in order to create a dialogue between disciplines and methodologies. This conference also seeks to establish a dialogue between the 18th and the 19th centuries, in turns highlighting the individual specificities of these two periods, and accounting for the echoes, continuities and breaks between them.

From the Enlightenment to the late nineteenth century and before urbanism was fully established as a discipline, the city was constantly being configured and reconfigured by the joint influences of architects, civil engineers, political organizations, associations and the informal ‘practices’ of inhabitants. Writers and artists also played a major part in this process, both picking up on these developments and changing them through the aesthetics they deployed.  The conference will shed light on the city as a topography of struggle, a site of conflicting and interpenetrating layers, changing yet also persisting through time and space, and continually shaped by tensions between authority and resistance.



Registration, welcome, plenary address by Sara Thornton, Professor of Nineteenth-Century English Literature and Cultural Studies, Université Paris Diderot

9.30 – 10.30

Panel 1: Urbanism and urban planning

Chair: Pr Allan Potofsky, Professor of Eighteenth-Century History, Université Paris Diderot

–          Simona Gîrleanu (Université de Marne-la-Vallée), ‘Capitals of the Enlightenment: London and Paris Improved’

–          Yvonne Rickert (Philipps University of Marburg), ‘The Parisian “Place Louis XV”: The Effect of a Literary Clash on the Architectural Design’

10.30 – 11.00: Tea break

11.00 – 12.00

Panel 2: Urban Experiences of poverty and pauperism

Chair: Ariane Fennetaux, Assistant Professor of Eighteenth-Century Cultural Studies, Université Paris Diderot

–          Oliver Betts (University of York), ‘Disorderly Spaces – Homes in the Slums of London and Paris’

–          George Currie (Queen Mary University of London), ‘Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Carlyle and Urban Pauperism’

12.00 – 14.00: Lunch break

14.00 – 15.00

Panel 3: Instability of space, instability of self

Chair: Estelle Murail, Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Cultural Studies, Université Paris-Diderot

–          Alexandra Logvinova (European Humanities University), ‘The Structure of Urban Daily Life in the 19th century as the Basis of Subject’s Anxiety’

–          Adrian Versteegh (New York University), ‘“Cycle in Epicycle, Orb in Orb”: Navigating the Thresholds, Passages and Nested Interiors of 19th-century Urban Literature’

15.00 – 15.30: Tea break

15.30 – 17.00

Panel 4: Fragmented spaces and writing

Chair: Lynda Nead, Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London

–          Alison Annunziata (University of Southern California), ‘Urban De-Enlightenment: A Russian’s Dark Journey through Paris and London at the Start of the French Revolution’

–          Ushashi Dasgupta (St John’s College, University of Oxford), ‘“Is this an Hotel? Are There Thieves in the House?”: Dickens, Collins, and the Spatial Contexts of Crime’

–          Robert Yeates (University of Exeter), ‘The Destruction of the City in Early Science Fiction’

17.00 – 18.00

Keynote address:

Stéphane Van Damme, Professor of History of Science, European University Institute in Florence, ‘Archaeology of Modernity: Making Metropolitan Past Tangible and Persistent: Paris, London, New York’


9.30 – 10.30

Chair: Professor Josephine McDonagh, Professor of Nineteenth-Century English Literature, King’s College, University of London

–          Ariane Fennetaux (Université Paris Diderot), ‘Materializing History: Plebeian Women’s Pockets in 18th- and 19th- century London’

10.30 – 11.00: Tea break

11.00 – 12.00

Panel 5: Disorientating the Orient

Chair: Colin Jones, Professor of Eighteenth-Century French History, Queen Mary College, London, Fellow of the British Academy

–          Michael Talbot (University of St Andrews), ‘Shifting Centres: the Political and Topographical Transformations of Ottoman Haifa, 1700-1900’

–          Natalia Starostina (Emory University), ‘Paris Oriental, Carnal Pleasures and the Spaces of Desires in Defining the Mental Topography of Paris from Montesquieu to Maupassant and to Paul Morand’

12.00 – 14.00: Lunch break

14.00 – 15.00

Panel 6: The city in science

Chair: Stéphane Van Damme, Professor of History of Science, European University Institute in Florence

–          Lavinia Maddluno (University of Cambridge), ‘Spaces of Nature and Realms of Civilisation: Pavia between Politics, Scientific Practices and Natural Order in the late 18th Century’

–          Mathieu Fernandez (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers), ‘Mapping the Third Dimension. Observing, Representing and Transforming Paris, 1750-1850’

15.00 – 15.30: Tea break

15.30 – 16.30

Keynote address:

Lynda Nead, Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London, ‘The Tiger in the Smoke: The Fog of Modernity in Post-war London’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s