CfP: Sexuality and Colonial Black Atlantic Cities (event: 04/2012, Chicago), DL: 22.12.2011

Co-Conveners: Rachel Jean-Baptiste, University of Chicago ( and Lorelle Semley, College of the Holy Cross (

Time: Thursday and Friday, April 19-20, 2012
Venue: University of Chicago
Deadline: December 22, 2011 (for more informations see below)

Cities were not new to Africa and the Americas when slave trading and imperialism produced a new phenomenon: the colonial city. As urban spaces took form in Africa and the America, Africans and people of African descent created an indelible mark on modern urban life as merchants, wage laborers, slaves, slave owners, artists, religious figures, and intellectuals. Black historical actors also traversed cities in Europe, shaping empire from multiple sites. Yet, people circulating through the Atlantic world also inhabited cities as gendered and affective beings who actively conceptualized ideas about pleasure, desire, and aesthetics.

This symposium aims to examine the intersections of sexuality, identity, and urban life during the colonial periods in the Atlantic, spanning Africa, the Americas, and Europe, from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. We will consider proposals that de-center the Atlantic by treating similar themes in other parts of the world such as the Mediterranean or Indian Ocean. We plan to public selected papers as an edited volume or as a special issue of a journal.

Submissions need not be confined to the topics below, but, if possible, please indicate up to two themes that correspond to your proposal:

Mapping Cities
* Intersections of race, gender and geography
* Rural/urban connections
* Empire and the politics of knowledge

Laboring Women and Men
* Work, status, and mobility
* Prostitution
* Marketing leisure and popular culture

Families and Networks
* Marriage and religion
* Emigration and immigration
* Defining neighborhoods and housing

Reproducing the Body
* Reproductive health
* Medicine, healing, and disease
* Law, crime, and citizenship

Sex in the City: Same and Different
* Same-sex relationships
* Discourses on danger and/or modernity
* Policing femininities and masculinities

Affect and Aesthetics
* Politics of desire
* Mass consumption and production
* Public arts and architecture

Please submit a title, 250-word abstract, and a CV by December 22, 2011 to If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Jean-Baptiste ( or Lorelle Semley ( and include „Gender Cities“ in the subject line.
Authors of accepted proposals will be contacted by January 24, 2012 and complete papers will be due on March 1, 2012.


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